April 13,14 and 15
We left Granada And drove to Valencia to spend one night in the hotel Tryp Ocean hotel. The drive from Granada to Valencia was nearly 500 KM and we knew this will take the whole day. We started early, but we finally arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon. The hotel was reasonably good and in a good location.
We were using Valencia as a stop over on our way to Barcelona. We wanted to break the journey from Granada to Barcelona. Valencia is a fairly big city. Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with a population of around 800,000 people. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC.
We had dinner in a small restaurant in one of the streets near the hotel. The next morning, we wanted to vist the Central Market of Valencia before leaving for Barcelona. We had early breakfast and took a taxi from the hotel to the Central Market.
The Central Market of Valencia (Mercado Central) has his origins in the Arabic periods of Valencia. You will see a modern architecture of the year 1914. It’s one of the most fascinating and genius places of Valencia. The central market is a sensorial experience. You will find it in the old town of the city, just next to the Hôme Hostel Valencia. There are hundreds of little food market stands.
We walked through the passages between stalls looking and taking photographs of beautifully presented stalls. We had bread rolls and coffee in one stall. There are no tables to sit. We sat at the bar of the stall and had our food. We bought some fruits and finally came back to the hotel in a taxi. After getting out of the taxi and sending it off, Helen realised that her camera is missing. She had all her photos taken throughout the trip in the camera. There was no backup. It was too late to do anything. We went to the hotel reception and the girl at the reception was very helpful. There are different taxi companies and she called all the taxi companies to ask them whether any taxi diver has reported finding a camera in the taxi. We waited for about ten minutes and the answer came as negative. In our desperation I, Mala and Helen decided to go back to the market and have a look. That was all we could do. We took a taxi and went back to the market and got down from the taxi.
At the taxi stand , all the taxis were waiting in a queue looking for customers. We walked to the taxi line and found the taxi we took to come back to the hotel. Lo and behold, the camera was still sitting on the back seat of the taxi. The taxi driver has not even seen it. He dropped us and came back to the taxi stand near the market to pick up new passengers. We were so lucky to find the camera. We thanked the driver and took the same taxi back to our hotel.
We checked out of the hotel and resumed our drive towards Barcelona. On our way, we stopped at one place to have lunch. We again stopped near a sea town and had coffee and then had a look at bull fighting ring that was in the area. We arrived in Barcelona around 4:00 PM and checked into Holiday Inn Express for two nights. The hotel was in a busy area, close to the city attractions. We still had a little time and decided to see city buildings designed by Gaudi.
Gaudí's work is admired by architects around the World as being one of the most unique and distinctive architectural styles. His work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona architecture and you will see stunning examples of Gaudí's work all around the city centre.
We first went to see Casa Batllo that was designed by Gaudi. It's balconies look like sculls and the supports on the windows look like bones.
The multicoloured tiles that are used to decorate the walls of Casa Batlló were taken from the colours of natural corals. A little further ahead on th same road, we can find Gaudi's apartments. This is another unique building designed by Gaudi.
The next morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we went to see the unfinished Sagrada Familia Basilica designed by Gaudi. It is still not fully constructed. We had to wait in a queue to buy tickets and enter the basilica. There is a museum within the basilica premises that has most of the models used to construct the basilica.
The Guell Park is another important place that was fully designed by Gaudi. Behind the park, you can see Gaudi's house. We went to the Guell park in a taxi around 1:30PM. We found the park authorities have stopped issuing tickets to go in atv1:30PM. The next available session was at 5:30PM. We bought tickets for the 5:30 entry and decided to explore La Rambla area till that time.
Sue has a friend called Jacque living in Barcelona. Sue met her at the hotel and came with her to La Rambla to meet us. We all met at the restaurant Caravelle and had lunch there. Jacque is from Australia and now living with her daughter in Barcelona. After lunch, Jacque walked with us to show the narrow allies of Barcelona and then to the Barcelona market. We then went back to the Guell park.
Gaudi's ideas and creations are in full display in this park. we walked around in the park admiring his work and then finally took a taxi to La Rambla area.
La Rambla is a lively street, full of people. Walking along la Rambla and experiencing the happy and exuberant faces of Barcelona people is something you should not miss.