Barcelona – Festivals

While we experienced the annual Christians and Moors festival in Denia, I didn’t get many good shots. In addition it was mainly a hands off, spectator event.

In Barcelona at the Gallery Hotel, we happened to be staying ten minutes by foot from an area that is festival central. Here are shots from a two square block area that the locals decorate every year. This year Calle Progres was the winner with their Jurassic Park theme.

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Barcelona – Gaudi

Mary said either he was a genius or had a serious drug problem. Several of our friends have suggested that both are possible. Barcelona is certainly the city of Gaudi. We didn’t make it to his garden (Parc Guell) but we did visit his apartment building and his house. It certainly doesn’t take a genius to see which designs are his.

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Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia (part three)

This is the last post about La Sagrada Familia. I just wanted to show a couple of shots of the central Crucifix, the floating cross. It is beautiful. In the first shot below it almost looks like it is being drawn up to heaven. What a blessing.

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Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia (part two)

In the last post I introduced La Sagrada Familia and showed a couple of shots of the exterior. It isn’t complete yet, and while impressive, for me it pales in comparison to the interior.

When we walked through the main entrance, I felt like the air had been sucked out of me. I was in such awe. Gaudi, and the architects that have built his dream, are absolutely amazing. The architecture, the detail and especially the use of light will blow you away. Several times we had to sit and just breathe. Tissues are also a good idea (at least I needed them).

I hope some of these pictures give a sense of what we experienced. For me this is more spectacular than St. Peter’s in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris and the Duomo in Milano.

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Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia

Mary’s number one priority for our trip to Spain was La Sagrada Familia. I asked several times (more than ten) “What do you want to do, what do you want to see.” The answer was always the same. As long as I see La Sagrada Familia I don’t care.

We researched this extensively and even watched the recent 60 Minutes episode about the site. I was certainly intrigued and excited to see it.

We bought tickets online prior to the trip which I would certainly encourage. It opens at 9:00 AM. We arrived (tickets in hand) at 8:30 just to make sure. The line to buy tickets was already 200 deep. By the time we finished our cappuccinos and made it to our entrance, the tickets line was already around the block.

I have three posts about this location. I don’t recall having done that in the past. It was the most amazing church I have seen in my life (more about that later.)

This post is about the exterior (which won’t be complete until 2026.) The project was started in 1882. They have an excellent site which details the history so I won’t even try.

The exterior currently has two main facades. One is the Passion (shown first below) which tells the story of His crucifixion, and the second, the Nativity (which is dedicated to the birth of Jesus). I have shown pictures of both in this post.

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El Castell de Guadalest

This castle has an interesting history.

El Castell de Guadalest was started in the early thirteenth century. In 1644, earthquakes destroyed the Castle. In 1748 and 1752, more earthquakes occur, but less important than the earlier ones.

During the War of Succession in 1708, the Castle of San Jose suffered a bombing that seriously affected its west wing and the Orduna house.

In the twentieth century, El Castell de Guadalest has had a series of important changes:

  • In 1953, construction of the dam that would be completed in 1971 begins.
  • Tourism begins to discover the charm of El Castell de Guadalest.
  • In 1974, El Castell de Guadalest is declared historical – artistic.
  • In 1980, El Castell de Guadalest receives the Bronze Plaque for Tourist Merit and in 1981, the Third National Award for Tourism to the Beautification and Improvement of the peoples of Spain.
  • In 1994, it agreed to purchase municipal Orduna House and proceed to their rehabilitation to be transformed in the Municipal Museum.

Today it is quite a nice destination. The local town supports the tourists and there are a lot of choices for lunch. Based on our experience, just make sure that you pick a location that has other guests. There is at least one, only “so-so”, restaurant. It is also worth making sure that your clutch is in good shape for the journey.

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Denia – Calle Loreto

One of our best memories of our trip to Denia was Calle Loreto. One night we asked the open ended question of the hotel staffer “Where is the best place to go for dinner.” He was not going to be trapped that easily. There are fifty right answers depending on who asks the question, etc. We clarified: “We are really interested in a local experience of Tapas.” Bingo.

Calle Loreto.

While there were certainly tourists there, it was also a hangout for the locals. It was six blocks of wall to wall Tapas. We never had a bad meal. It became a tapas crawl. Yummy. Obviously others liked it too as you can see in these shots. Two of these are shots from Placa la Creu down by the port but they all share the same philosophy. Highly recommended for foodies!

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Denia – The Castle

The Castle in Denia was built in the 11th and 12th centuries. It was only a stone’s throw from our hotel and we enjoy adventures, so we made an afternoon of it. We really enjoyed our time.

There is a nice museum at the top which had two important attributes; lots of relics and information about Denia and the castle and (!) air conditioners (very welcome since it was one of the hotter days). Here are a handful of shots in and around the castle (including an early morning shot from the port).

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Denia – Before Sunrise

Ever since I woke up at o’dark thirty in Milano to get a clear picture of the Duomo back in 2009 I have made it a priority to get some early morning or late evening pictures (it also helps me to justify lugging a tripod 4,500 miles).

In Paris it was the Opera, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. In Denia, I decided to have fun at the port. Here are a couple of shots from my early morning adventure.

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Spanish Adventure – Denia

We started our Spanish adventure in a town called Denia. We flew into Barcelona El-Prat airport, collected our rental car (a nice Peugeot cabriolet), plugged in the TomTom (also known as a marriage saver) and headed south. Denia is a small city (about 40K people) which is about 4 1/2 hours south of Barcelona. They have nice beaches, a castle, and lots of good tapas restaurants. It was to be base camp for a week.

We found a very nice 700 year old hotel called Posada Del Mar located right on the harbor. From there everything in town was walking distance. We took two day trips. One to Javea, about 6 miles and 45 minutes away (talk about curvy roads) and Castello de Guadelest (which I’ll talk about in a future post). Here are some shots of the hotel, and a couple of views from our balcony.

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