Barcelona Day 2: Sagrada Familia

Barcelona Day 2 – Sagrada Família

Due to what happened last night, we really had no appetite for breakfast but our trip must go on! I booked the tickets to Sagrada Família three months ahead to avoid the queue and so glad I did!  When we got there, even it was early in the morning, there was already a line formed!  Sagrada Família opens at 9 am and our ticket to access the Nativity tower was at 10 am, we got there around 9:15. We walked right in the entrance to have our ticket scanned, no wait at all wohoo!! The exterior was mostly covered with scaffold, I was hoping to get a photo of the Passion façade but it was half covered 🙁  Without further due, we walked inside and wow it was taller than I imagined!

The first thing that caught my eyes were the light shining through the stained glass windows, very colorful!  I guess it would be even better if without the scaffolds blocking some light! The stained glass and the sun rays added colors to the white interior.

The green lights shined in gave me a feeling that I am in the middle of a big forest filled with trees!

The curvy columns resembled trees and branches!

I was mesmerized by the details; every corner I looked was unique.

When I looked up, it gave me a feeling of fresh air, openness, calmness, and peacefulness. I imagined it would be so much more beautiful if the scaffold didn’t block the light coming through the ceiling. Too bad! But it was still very unique, I have never seen any basilica, church, or cathedral in that style. Within the central area, there was no standing allowed; everyone must be seated. I literally sit in one row, looked up, take a photo, walk to the next row, sit down, looked up, take a photo, and repeat!  I tried to get different angle shots.  Here’s my favorite:

I was so into taking photos of the basilica that I almost forget to have a photo of myself inside.  Usually hubby does that while I was taking photos but now since we are left with one camera, we had to take turns 🙁

It was almost 10 am and the bright sunlight through the stained glass windows painted the basilica!

We checked our phone for time to make sure we didn’t past our time to go up to the tower.  In order to get to the entrance of the Nativity tower, we had to walked out of the main building.  There was a line waiting to go up, the wait wasn’t bad, and the staff didn’t let us to be in line until almost 10 am. Since we had a few minutes before we can even get in line, I walked around to take some photos of the details… wonder it took so long to complete, every single structure is a piece of art!

Finally our turn to wait in line….it wasn’t bad!

There is only one elevator to go up the Nativity towers and then we had to walk down.

The view of Barcelona from the top of the Nativity tower.  I personally don’t think the view is impressive.

We walked across the bridge to get in another tower to walk our way down.  I looked out and saw the construction progress….still plenty more to complete!

The spiral stairs were narrow and only can accommodate one person….

It seemed endless but it wasn’t that bad to go down.  There were a few sections where you can step into and rest so you are not blocking others’ way down. From a photo perspective, the spiral stairs were artistic!

We got out around 10:45 am and the huge line was all the way to the back side…….must book your ticket ahead to save your precious vacation time! And not to mentioned it was hot out too, I can’t imagined myself standing in line for 2 hours under the sun!

We got back to the hotel and asked if the manager was there to gather the info and then headed to the police station to file the police report. The manager showed us a log of the electronic door and it showed no record of who got in after we left our room!  I wasn’t surprised….if the robbers are able to get into our room without damaging the lock, that means they have a way to break the code to get in without recording to the log.  But they are unable to confirm on how they break in because Spanish law – no camera in the hallways. Urggg…to protect the privacy of the guest, they are not allowed to see who the guest bought into their rooms.  What??? I really don’t see how that law protects the guest; it’s more like protecting the thieves!  But the hotel was able to see from the surveillance cameras outside the entrance and the elevator.  The manager told us that they saw the two guys came in the elevator with us and they moved very quickly so it was very suspicious.  They also checked the door logs of the rooms near our room and no one entered those rooms when we entered our room so that confirmed that those two guys are not hotel guests!!!

The manager offered to walk us to the police station to help us file the police report. He said expect a long wait since there will be other victims!! The walk to the police station was pretty far, when we got there, there were two people ahead of us in line.  This was the first time in my life in a police station reporting an incident!!! That feeling wasn’t great at all!  The manager told us that this was his 5th in the same police station during his 3 years living in Barcelona!  First time was a hotel guest got robbed right in front of the hotel after he got off the taxi. Second time was his house got broken into. Third and fourth time were he got pickpocket. And fifth time was us 🙁  We wrote down as much as we could think of our stolen items and spent the morning searching for the serial numbers we registered in Canon’s website.  The manager did the translation for us and the police officer type in the report.  The whole process took like 2-3 hours and the manager said it was a record since this police officer type pretty fast.  We signed the report, obtained a copy, and walked back to the hotel.

It was way past lunch time and thankfully the restaurant in the hotel, CentOnze, opened from lunch all the way to dinner.  We decided to have lunch in the hotel, we really don’t have the mood nor appetite to search where we want to eat or what to eat. The food quality was good and price was very reasonable consider a restaurant in a 5 stars hotel.  They also have a fixed three course menu for lunch and dinner and changes daily.

After lunch, we decided to at least visit one more place so we are not wasting time even though we really have no mood for sightseeing.  We visited Palau Guell, Gaudi’s first work, and it was a walking distance from the hotel.  The admission fee is 12 euros per person and no line at all! The building was closed for renovation in 2004 and recently reopened to the public in 2011!

Gaudi’s Palau Guell effectively use it’s space wisely!  On the ground floor or basement, it’s the stable for horses:

Then, we walked up to the main floor.  The ceiling was again filled with details!

From the central hall, you can see the floors and the dome:

Palau Guell used wood as the main construction and decoration materials.

The stained glass windows were characters from Shakespeare’s play: Macbeth and Hamlet.

The visitors room where guests would be greeted before entering the central hall. Beautiful window frames!

The visitors room’s roof, decorated with hardwood and gold leaves ornaments.

The Terrance:

The Gaudi’s roof with twenty colorful chimneys:

There were other buildings’ roof packed together which ruined the view of this colorful and yet strange roof!

I think it’s worth to see Palau Guell, you can start to see the beginning of Gaudi’s crazy imaginations starting with the roofs! It was not crowded at all too so you can have the space and take your time to explore this building.

On our walk back to the hotel, we passed by La Boqueria so we went in to get a smoothie. This smoothie stand, it’s really emphasizing on juices….look at the huge tubes!  There were staff on the back constantly cutting fruits and mixing them and then poured into the big tubes!

Hubby got a mango smoothie and it was fresh.

More photos of La Boqueria since the photos from yesterday were stolen.

You name it, most likely you’ll find it in La Boqueria!

Dried nuts and fruits:

Those colorful bottles…..guess what they are?  I didn’t realized until I looked closely and read the labels…those were different flavors of salt.  Fruit favored salt….you ever had that before?  I was going to buy some but I really have no use for them.

We got back to our hotel and rest. Originally, I booked a dinner at Cera 23, a highly rated restaurant but after what happened to us, we don’t feel comfortable walking out at night.  So I cancelled the restaurant and stayed in the hotel for dinner.  I know we might be biased but after knowing that we were being followed, we don’t want to take a risk of losing our only camera!

Dinner at CentOnze….since we had the lunch menu already, at night we went with a la carte menu.  Husband ordered a lamb shoulder, he said the meat was very tender and cooked right.  I ordered a steak, it was certainly better in quality than the steak I had in Spain so far. We didn’t order much as we had no appetite but the food was good. It will take time for me to not letting the incident to affect my mood but I tried my best to not think of it and enjoy the rest of the trip as much as I could!


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