Discovering Barcelona

Enjoying Barcelona in a few days can be tiring but it is certainly worthwhile. My accommodation in Martha´s Guesthouse is located in Gothic Quarter near Las Ramblas. After picking up the house key in the early morning, I went to explore the Barcelona nightlife, discovering Pipa Club.

The place is set in a discreet third floor flat in Real Square. Pipa Club is small and has three rooms: a living room to watch live music and socialize; a small room where drinks are served; and a game room with billiards. The flat´s decoration is all about smoking pipes and distinguishes itself through its elegant hardwoods. Pipa Club is cosmopolitan and open until 3 am.

The next day, I return to Las Ramblas and hop on a tourist bus. I get off at Pedrera (Paseo de Gracia) building known as Milà House. The three facades with 33 wrought iron balconies representing seaweed capture my attention. However, the most stunning part of this building designed by Antonio Gaudí is the roof, where 30 chimneys represent an abstract garden. From here, you can enjoy the most stunning views of Barcelona´s streets

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló

In the same street, you will find Batlló House, another building that Dalí turned into an architectonic masterpiece of forms, colours and lights. Walking every corner of the house transports you to a new world with impossible creations and designs that are still modern at present day. The interior patios with different shades of blue create a set of spectacular lights with daylight. The roof features chimneys with dragon form and the water fountain room.

Back at the bus, I enjoy visiting Barcelona port, the beach and its sports complex from the Olympic Games in 1992. I stop at Park Güell, where I explore this park that can take you a few hours to cover its main points of interest. At the entrance you notice long step stairs with a dragon in the middle symbolizing Barcelona. The stair takes you to the Hipólita room which contains 84 Doric columns and displays mosaics in its ceiling.

In the center of the park, there is a large esplanade with a large long bench at the front that includes figures of animals. There, tourist can observe all the street layout of Barcelona and look out over the sea. On the East side of the park, do not miss Pórtico de la Lavandera, an original iron door with a wave form over inclined columns. After walking this path I go back to the large esplanade to view Barcelona´s sunset from this iconic park designed by Gaudí.

The following day, I explore the Labyrinth Park of Horta on the North side of the city. The park has nine hectares including the Romantic Garden and the Neoclassic Garden. Labyrinth Park is quiet and peaceful as there are not many tourists due to its remote location. At the center, there is a labyrinth where you can get lost trying to find the exit (it can take 30 minutes easily). Sculptures, ponds and columns are the main themes of this beautiful park.

Augustus Temple

Augustus Temple

In the afternoon, I stroll around from Cataluña square to Las Ramblas. At the back, I find San Felipe Neri, a very small square with a lot of charm and tragedy because its church was bombed during the Spanish civil war and shrapnel can be seen at its facade. In the center of the square is an octagonal fountain. Passing Bisbe Street there is a Gothic small bridge facade with a Gargola. If you carry on your way, you reach the Augustus Temple, which displays in its patio four Romans columns.

During the night I choose to check out the Magic Fountain, a show of mixed colours, music and lights that is placed near España Square. There you see a lot of tourists enjoying this unique and amazing spectacle that overwhelms your feelings and emotions.

In my last day I enjoy a ride in a hot air balloon outside of Barcelona. The experience is incredible, as from the balloon you can see as far as Barcelona, the Pyrenees, Motmeló GP and all the nature at your feet. Back in Barcelona, I hop on a cable way to reach fortress Montjuic and avoid a long walk through the hill. The fortress dates from 1640 and what I find more interesting are its sea views and gardens at the entrance.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

My trip ends at Sagrada Familia which is still being renovated until 2026. Gaudí had the idea that this building shall be seen from any point in Barcelona. That explains its 18 towers with a 100 meter average in height. The 3 facades of this architectural gem focus on the topics of birth, glory and passion. On the inside, Sagrada Familia features a Latin cross form, 36 columns and many religious motives. In the crypt, you can visit Antonio Gaudí´s tomb. It is worth to sit in the park at the front of the port of Sagrada Familia and watch the pond reflect its shape.

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#CTC13 “Capture the Colour” competition by #Travelsupermarket

I am looking for pictures through my 100 folders to participate in a photography competition. The closing date for submission is 9 October, 2013. Fortunately, I have a few hours before the deadline. The competition will be hard as there are many good bloggers publishing pictures, but I will give my best shot.

#Travelsupermarket has launched a photography competition called Capture the ColourTwitter (#CTC13)  where bloggers have to showcase their best shots in five categories: Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, and White.

The last year competition more than 3,000 pictures were submitted making judge´s decisions tougher.  There is one judge for each colour: Yellow (Ken, kenkaminesky.com); Red (Abi, insidethetravellab.com); Green (Dave & Deb, theplanetd.com); White (Christine, almostfearless.com); Blue (Daniel, canvas-of-light.com).

The winner will receive a £3,000 travel fund and the category winners can choose from 128 GB Ipad, Fujifilm Digital Camera Kit and £750 to spend with Arc’teryx.

Blue for a new world

I was in St. Michael, Cornwall (The U.K.) taking this shot that moves you from Earth to a new world. The rock in the middle of the beach seems like a path to a different planet, where you can observe the blue sea with the contrast of the blue colour sky (yes, sometimes The U.K. has good weather and lovely landscape).

St.Michael (Cornwall, UK)

St.Michael (Cornwall, UK)

Catchy red doors

Red district, magic mushrooms and joints to smoke in coffee shops. Yes, this picture was taken in Amsterdam (Netherlands), but I wasn´t under any hallucinogen substances for this shot. I was in a boat trip exploring the channels of Amsterdam and their buildings with its idiosyncrasy and colours. The houses and buildings take you back in time.

Red doors building

Red doors building, Amsterdam

Yellow hot air balloon

This picture relates my first trip on a hot air balloon. I was nervous at the beginning as I didn´t know if I would cope with the heights (it seems scary once you are there). I was in Cardedeu, 30 minutes away from Barcelona. I had clear sky having the change to admire Montserrat peaks, Barcelona itself and the Mediterranean Sea from bird eye view.

Hot Air Balloon in Carcadeu, Barcelona

Hot Air Balloon in Carcadeu, Barcelona

 Green Aurora Borealis

Taking a shot of the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) is a dream come true. I went to Ivalo, (Finland) this February and my holiday gamble paid off as I saw on three consecutive nights the Northern Lights. You need clear skies at night and plenty of electrons activity toward the magnetic fields. The weather was -30 degrees but it did not matter as I saw those green lights showing up and dancing on the sky.

Aurora Borealis dancing in Ivalo, Finland

Aurora Borealis dancing in Ivalo, Finland

 White Vejer de la Frontera

When we talk about white colour, the first thing that comes to my mind is the white villages of the Cadiz province (Spain). Vejer de la Frontera is considered one the most beautiful white villages of Europe. The contrast between the houses of Vejer and the sky is extraordinary. Vejer´s council oblige its citizens to keep white their houses. This picture of Vejer shows the main characteristic of this village: peace, relax and a perfect place to run away from the big cities.

White houses in Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz (Spain)

White houses in Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz (Spain)

My showcase pictures are chosen, but as part of the competition “Capture the Colour”, I need to choose 5 travel bloggers, so here is my list:

Elena Paschinger of Creativelena.com

Monika Fuchs of TravelworldOnline-Traveller.de

Sarah Lee of LiveShareTravel

Jack and Andy Motgomery of Buzz Trips

Stuart Foster of Go-Eat-Do