la Font de la Guatlla

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7 travelers at this place:

  • Day578

    Barcelona Day 1

    January 25, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We awoke to a grey and tired looking day. On the approach to Barcelona, the urban sprawl engulfed us. Motorway lanes multiplied and buildings grew taller as we neared the hub. The air was cloudy with pollution; digital information boards informed us some sections of the road were reserved for vehicles carrying 2+ people and we noticed several signs for a low emission zone. We weren't aware of the need to get an emissions pass in Barcelona so we quickly searched the internet and to our relief, found it only applied to vehicles over 20 years old from 2019. No fine for us today!

    A terraced bank led up the hill to our right. When we identified the objects atop the stepped walls as stone crosses, we realised it was a huge graveyard, with burial plots stacked up to form the structure of the terrace. It continued for several kilometres and was unlike any cemetery we'd seen before.

    On our left we looked down to the industrial port, where huge cruise liners were docked. Despite the number of roundabouts and dual carriagway sliproads we managed to find our way in relatively easily, perhaps due in part to the updated sat nav maps. Pulling in at the car park we'd picked out, we were met by the attendant and directed to a place alongside a Belgian and a French van. It was €30 a night and there were no facilities but it was only a couple of miles away from the centre and importantly, it had 24 hour supervision. We'd heard Barcelona was particularly beset by thieves who targeted tourists, so by leaving the van here, we could have peace of mind that it would be safe.

    The attendant gave us a map and directions and after taking Poppy out, we began to make our way in. Walking down the tree lined hill, the streets were clean and parakeets squawked overhead. Vicky downloaded the TMB city transport app which turned out to be excellent. It told us what buses and metro lines to use and had an interactive map to help us get to the stops and stations. We used a machine to buy 48 hour 'Hola BCN' integrated travel cards for €15 each. The process was straightforward and they took us everywhere we wanted to go. The metro tunnels were uncomfortably warm but the trains themselves were air conditioned and we never needed to wait more than 3 minutes for one.

    The first port of call was the Mercat de la Boqueria, a market hall selling top quality fruit, nuts, veg, smoothies, chocolates, meat, fish, herbs and spices. As Will was perusing the stalls on the periphery, he was approached by a woman wearing a short skirt and stockings, who hailed him lasciviously and insistently. He swiftly turned and walked in the opposite direction. At times like this we often turn to humour as a coping mechanism and thought that at least when Vicky had been propositioned a few weeks ago, the person had been willing to pay her!

    Back inside, there were stalls where you could sit, eat and drink. We chose a tapas bar for a plate of battered whitebait, squid rings, baby octopus and chilli peppers, accompanied by a glass of white wine for Will and cava for Vicky. We wanted to indulge ourselves over the two days as a belated treat for Will's birthday!

    After lunch we wandered towards La Rambla, the mainstreet of Barcelona. There were so many distinctive buildings it was difficult to focus; a turret sticking out from behind a row of townhouses, a peach coloured 3 storey corner building whose walls were decorated with oldfashioned umbrellas, patterns painted around tall windows with decorative cast iron railings... we could go on. While Vicky was photographing
    a gothic style cathedral two people suddenly appeared and said 'Hi, do you remember us?'. The answer was yes, of course! We'd met Rhea and Gareth just over a year ago at Krka National Park in Croatia. They'd been on a 6 month tour of europe in their van, so we'd invited them in and got to know them over a cuppa. What an amazing coincidence that we were not only in Barcelona on the same day, but we came within a few metres of each other and they spotted us! After convincing a performance artist that we didn't want to pay to take photos with her, we found a street café and caught up on what we'd all been doing for the last year. We couldn't stop grinning after we parted; we'd really enjoying chatting with them and kept marvelling at the chance encounter.

    There was one more place we wanted to visit before returning to the van; the Basìllica de la Sagrada Famìlia. This colossal church, designed by Gaudi, was a masterpiece, despite still being under construction. Eight out of twelve bell towers rose to a height that seemed to defy gravity, while arched columns of decreasing sizes splayed out to the sides of the main entrance. Like the roofs of the spires, the entry price was exceedingly steep at €18 per person. Vicky chose to go in while Will had a look around the nearby shops. After she'd bought a ticket, trekked round to the back entrance, put her belongings through a scanner and stepped through a metal detector, she finally entered one of the most incredible indoor spaces she'd ever seen. Every wall and pillar was made of light coloured stone and each of the tall windows lining the nave was bright stained glass. Large decorative oval lights adorned the columns high up, after which they split like tree trunks to support a ceiling inset with more lights and button shaped details that burst forth from stars of stone. With so many different shapes, it seemed to encompass an element of nature, a feeling that was helped by the fact it exuded light and air. It was a shame a large portion of the floorbspace was boarded off for building works, which were accompanied by the clank and roar of power tools.

    Time was getting on so we took the Metro and bus back to Poppy. We spent some time with her and had a couple of crackers before taking to the streets once again, this time in search of cava bars! Catalonia is the region that cava comes from and we'd read about two bars specifically devoted to this sparkling wine. As we made our way towards them, smells of sugar and dope drifted through the air. We passed by some hippy clothing shops that were still open and arrived at the first of the two bars, only to read a notice saying it was closed for renovation. Oh well, there was still the other one! After at least half an hour of going in circles we finally found a small symbol on a glass door saying 'xampany' (Catalan for cava). This was accompanied by an A4 piece of paper informing us that the staff were on their holidays! It was nearing 9pm and without any substantial sustenance, Vicky was about to tear someone's head off. In an act of self preservation, Will quickly escorted her to the nearest bar, sat her down and ordered tapas pronto! She had wanted to try rosé cava, a speciality in the region. The waiter told us they didn't have any, but at this stage a regular cava went down very well! The night improved as we got some food inside us; Will came up trumps and pointed out to the waiter the half bottle of pink cava sitting in the fridge and Vicky spotted a dish of pig's ear, another regional speciality, on the menu. We are sure the two were never meant to go together but we enjoyed trying each and even Vicky even persuaded Will to leave a bit for Poppy (the pig's ear that is, not the cava)!
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  • Day579

    Barcelona Day 2

    January 26, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 7 °C

    We'd returned home yesterday evening to a light drizzle but overnight the heavens had opened and we'd been woken by rain drumming loudly on the roof. Donning our wet weather gear and readying our rainbow umbrellas we tentatively stepped out. It was chilly and huge, deep puddles stretched from one side of the walkways to the other, but our surroundings were still impressive. We walked the longer and more picturesque of two routes to Espanya metro station. Steps flanked by tiled fountains led down to the Museu Nacional d'Arte de Catalunya, an palacial, domed building with yet more fountains in front of it. These were the famous 'magic fountains' but unfortunately rainwater was the only liquid pooling in any of the displays right now, as they were all turned off and drained for maintenance. Making our way past 4 tall columns we took the open air escalator over the road and were soon descending into the updraft of warm air from the metro. The sound of dripping and even running water accompanied us as we followed the directions for Line 1. Sawdust had been spread on floor tiles to safeguard against slippages, but despite all this, we dried and warmed up quickly.

    We revisited the narrow grid of streets in the Barceloneta district that we'd wandered through last night. Little shops with vibrant colours, displays of ceramics inside and out and one place where baskets were being handwoven on site. As lunch time approached we tried to find a restaurant that Lonley Planet had recommended for traditional Catalan food, sourced locally and cooked slowly. We found the address but no sign of the place... this was getting to be a bad habit! Will had previously noticed a shop/café called 'Organic Market' when perusing Maps.Me, so led us there and although it wasn't anything like we'd initially envisioned for lunch, it turned out to be great choice. We enjoyed quiche, pie and aubergine tortilla with salad, a mango and mandarin smoothie for Vicky and water for Will. This, topped off with Red Velvet and Carrot cakes, coffee and tea for dessert and we were very happy. After picking up a few things from the shop we again made our way towards the nearest metro station. It felt chilly and still hadn't stopped raining, so we spent the rest of the daylight hours snuggled up with Poppy in the warm van.

    We'd hoped to go to a club that evening but all the ones we looked at online turned out to be either gay cruise clubs or closed. In the end we decided to just go in for drinks and see where we ended up. Exiting the tube at Paral-el at about 10pm we found plenty of people out. Bar Borrell was a locals' pub with Spanish beer on tap. The grey formica tables were well spaced, football was showing on the large flatscreen, although people were more interested in talking to one another. Several large dogs accompanied their owners and were made to feel welcome with scraps from the kitchen. La Bohème was a classily presented bar. It was quiet but had little atmosphere so we moved on and found Tinto Rojos, a scarlet and green painted bar full of character. We began with red wine and rounded Saturday morning off with a couple of cocktails.

    As we walked back up the hill to the van, irony poked fun at us in the form of the loud music blasting from within the walls of Poble Espanyol, a large, castle like building which had groups of young people hanging around outside. After all the difficulty we'd had finding a club, there was a rave going on just half a kilometre from the van! We could have investigated further but we'd had a brilliant evening and were happy to get back and fall into bed.

    We very much enjoyed our time in Barcelona. On the down side, like too many big cities, it had a large homeless population and an active sex industry. However, on the whole it had a good vibe to it. There were plenty of walkways lined with trees and open spaces on the periphery. The city has some great markets, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine and is a fun place to go for a night out!
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  • Day1


    April 23, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Pünktlich um 8:43 Uhr bin ich gelandet. Mein Gepäck (danke, dass ich diesen Rucksack gekauft habe!) habe ich auch und jetzt geht's erstmal Tickets für die Metro kaufen. Die Landung war schön holprig- so wie ich es mag ;)Keine Ahnung wohin ich jetzt fahre, aber zunächst einmal Richtung Zentrum.

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la Font de la Guatlla

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