Monday, January 5, 2015

Back from Barcelona

Hello all!  Happy New Year!

So sorry for the absence!  I have been on a trip to Barcelona, and came back some days ago.  Then New Year and some shop issues got in the way of me blogging.  I'll share with you the best of Barcelona.  I had a great time there!

Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you about the Sagrada Familia, the Picasso Museum, the Güell Park or the Batlló House. You can find that in any travel guide.  But I will say this: buy tickets in advance.  I'm serious. Whatever it is you plan on visiting, search online for the official website and buy the tickets there.  Do not bother with lines, because even if you do, when you get to the window there may be a chance you will find tickets but they may not let you in until 2 or 3 hours later!  They have a policy of only a certain number of people going in every 15/30 minutes.  If you get there at 11, you may not be able to enter until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

OK, so for mermaid and sea lovers: The Maritime Museum is a must!  There is a collection of real, life size ships, sea houses machinery and other curios, including a mural with a vintage picture for you to pose as if you were inside of antique diving equipment.  When we were there there was also an exhibition about Mediterranean pirates, and another one showcasing the evolution of underwater photography and filming. We saw the underwater cameras that were used during the filming of The Big Blue and Titanic.  Don't miss out the museum shop!  Lots of gadgets and sea-related mementos of your visit.
Also, you will enjoy a walk by the pier. If you visit the Maritime Museum, you can also hop on and visit a small ship, the Santa Eulalia, which is in the pier; price is included with your museum ticket.  Or you can visit only the ship for the price of 1 euro.
And if you are up to it, you can purchase tickets for a ship ride that will take you to see the beaches and Barcelona's skyline.

For comics/convention goers/vampires and goths enthusiasts: You have what the locals call the Freak Triangle.  It is a series of shops, all of them around the same streets, in which you can find comics, fantasy and science fiction books, merchandise, movies... You get the idea.  I am going to mention specially Aliens4Sale and Madame Chocolat. In the first one you can find aliens in bottles or "taxidermized" to adorn your walls - be prepared to spend some serious money on them.  On the second one, you can find Lolita and Steampunk clothing, and lots of accessories as well.  Some gothic stuff too, but not too much.  Also worth mentioning is Norma Comics, where you will find heaps of merchandise from Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, etc, and all the comics you can read and more.

You can also find Continuará in Vía Laietana 29.  Comics, figurines, and merchandise.

For relaxation and well-being enthusiasts:  You can find a Turkish bath very near the Freak Triangle, in the Born district.  I did not go inside because I did not pack a bathing suit.  You bet I will next time I go to Barcelona!  I was left wanting to experience it.

For music and opera lovers:  A visit to the Liceu Theatre is a must.  I was fortunate enough to attend a representation of Maria Stuarda with Joyce DiDonato as leading singer.  Even if you do not want to purchase tickets for an opera performance, you have the option of visiting the Liceu in the morning, when it is empty and the workers are preparing stuff for the next representation.  You have the option of two visits: one that lasts a whole hour and one that is, I think, 30 minutes.  I strongly recommend the 1 hour tour, if you have the time.  They will show you what it is the called the Liceu Circle, which is an exclusive club for Liceu members whose furniture and ornaments date back to 1847.  Very, very worth the visit.

For purchases/gifts/souvenirs: Forget the classic souvenir shops!  You have a wonderful shop, Tienda Mallart, that sells table games, cards (poker, tarot...), tic-tac-toes, chess boards, and many more things in Carrer de Jaume I, 17, in the Gothic district.
You also have Arlequín Máscaras, a shop that would fit very well in Venice, with masks of all kinds, and also some string puppets, in Carrer de la Princesa 7, near Via Laietana.
For something more modern, you have THR, a shop that sells beautiful and out-of-the-ordinary handmade jewelry made with iron and glass (earrings, necklaces, bracelets...).  You will love them!  You can find it in Carrer de les Ramelleres 24.
Also, you have CD shops and alternative clothing shops (goth and punk) in Carrer dels Tallers.

That is all!  Pictures of the trip will come soon.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Janice said...

I love Barcelona. It is small enough to walk around with ease and so much to see and admire.