Saturday 11th February : Golly, I didn't like the other 5:00 in the day, I can't say I've seen it often but once a year is plenty enough! We got dressed and made our way to the meet and greet parking to leave the car. We were flying from terminal 2, I'd checked us in online a couple of days ago so it was just a case of dropping our suitcases off. We had a quick breakfast at the airport then got on the plane. We were sitting quite some time, we were due to leave at 6:40am but were still sitting on the plane at 07:10! Eventually it came over the tannoy that there was a fault with the plane and we had to transfer to a new one. Although a little inconvenient it did actually work out well as we ended up sitting together in a row whereas on the first plane we were dotted across 3 rows but kind of together, Charlie and I were on aisle seats opposite each other and Mark and Courtney were on the row behind me! (we flew with Ryanair which is free seating, almost like getting onto a bus! You can pre-book your seats but at an extra £80 we decided not to!)
We eventually set off around 1hour 40 minutes late but the captain made up the 40 minutes so we were only actually an hour late into Barcelona. We took a bus into the centre and then took a taxi to our hotel. We wondered where the taxi had taken us! We were aware the hotel was down a side street but there was nothing else there! Still it was just around the corner from the Ramblas and an underground station. The hotel itself was basic but clean and comfortable, perfect just for the overnight stay. After settling in we made our way out to the Ramblas, there was a good atmosphere along there, lots of market stalls, cafes and street entertainers.
Mark had researched the underground system before we left and we knew we could get T10 ticket, which meant we could have 10 journeys for 9.25 euros. This turned into a real bargain, we did everything we wanted to in Barcelona using them! After walking a good stretch of the Ramblas we got on the underground to the 'Sagrada Familia' church, one of Gaudi's creations.
The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is a work on a grand scale which was begun on 19 March 1882 from a project by the diocesan architect Francisco de Paula del Villar (1828-1901). At the end of 1883 Gaudí was commissioned to carry on the works, a task which he did not abandon until his death in 1926. Since then different architects have continued the work after his original idea.
It has always been an expiatory church, which means that since the outset, 130 years ago now, it has been built from donations. Gaudí himself said: "The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored in them. It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people." The building is still going on and could be finished some time in the first third of the 21st century. (Info taken from www.sagradafamilia.cat)
I had visited Barcelona around 1994, I can't say I remember the church well but know I did visit it and couldn't comment on how much progress has been made in that 18 years but with it being such a long project I can't imagine it will have changed much, lol! One thing I really liked about the church is how much you can see the difference between the old and new stones, it was noticeable in quite a few places.
We got back on the underground and made our way to the 'Nou camp' football stadium, This was Mark and Charlie's treat of the trip! We weren't sure at first whether we'd do the tour but to be honest you couldn't see much without it. It actually was very good! We got to see the ground from the top and also grass level, changing rooms, press boxes, pre and post match interview area and the trophy cabinet(s)!!!
After a quick browse in the club shop we made our way back to the Ramblas for tea. We ate in the Hard Rock Cafe! It was a little later than we'd anticipated getting back to the hotel, by which time we were all extremely tired and just fell into bed!