Paweł Jurgielewicz Photo

Four days in Barcelona

It has been a week since I come back from my nearly end-of-the-year holiday in Barcelona. So it is high time to share my experience with you. I invite you to sit comfortably, read and watch. 

Preparations for Barcelona

Actually I did not know where exactly I wanted to spend my spare days off. However, the old rule of travellers says: (cheap) transport first. In the interesting time window there were a couple of inexpensive choices but finally Barcelona was the winner. Mainly because it is at the Mediterranean Sea, closer to the equator. Second very important part is picking a good place to stay that is affordable and reasonably close to the main sights of the city. When I am travelling abroad I usually use Airbnb that aggregates many room rental offers from around the world. As November is rather off-season there was a large selection of accommodation. 

Thirdly, as I was new photo opportunities hungry the decision had to be made where to go and what to see. I asked You whether you have some suggestions on the official facebook fanpage:

While I wanted to shoot as much as possible I definitely did not want to make everything in rush as I did in Paris. I googled travel sites in search of sights of Barcelona and then placed most interesting of them on Google Maps. This proved to be extremely useful when all pins were finlly organised in day layers.

The top must see were: Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and Barcelona’s Aquarium. These were non free sights but if you buy tickets in advance you save ca. 10% and you do not have to wait in never-ending queues.

Sagrada Familia

This is probably the most famous hallmark in Barcelona. Firstly because this basilica is still in construction since late XIX c. while open to visitors. Secondly its architectural and technological design is superior.

Designed and supervised (until his death) by catalan architect Antoni Gaudi Sagrada Familia strikes you from the first glance with its originality, otherness and magnificence.

Its greatness is intensified by huge streams of light coming through colorful stained glass. From the East come warm colors while cold from the West to symbolize colors during different time of the day.

Columns and ceiling are just another kind of story. If you move your eyesight from the bottom to the top of each column you will notice that it branches. Yes, columns are meant to symbolize trees that together with streams of light give an impression of visiting the forest.

The architect drew his inspiration from simple geometric shapes and natural phenomena.

Whole design is enormously intricate with unparalleled attention to details. That is why it takes so long to finish works. The end of construction is foreseen for 2026 – 100 years after Gaudi passed away.

Park Guell

Another and one from many other places in Barcelona where you can recognize brilliant Gaudi’s touch. Located in the higher part of Barcelona from which you can see church (and amusement park) on Mount Tibidabo.

It is divided into two zones: free and paid Monumental Zone. In the first one you can mainly see more exotic trees and plants with many running or walking the dog people. However, the paid zone is what this park is all about.

It is not that big. In fact staff is keeping an eye on the total number of people currently inside the Monumental Zone. 400 is the limit – if you are not lucky you have to wait for your turn. There are a lot of natural and architectural backdrops that turists make use of for their pictures. Here you can find some more columns, mosaics and nature inspired shapes so characteristic for Gaudi.

If you have still something from your hidden child you will love fairytale-like views. It is hardly impossible not to find people there that need some photo assistance. Either they will ask you to take a picture of them or in the desperate need of how-to-use tutorial. As an anecdote, I saw a woman trying to take a picture of her husband looking into the lens instead of viewfinder 😉 .  I have also met a group of very joyful group of friends that I asked to pose. They were constantly missing at least one of them in the picture 🙂

It was a real pleasure to take pictures of You! Very nice smiles, that glance and feeling great in front of the lens. Total opposite of me 😉 . Would be great to meet once again for more serious photoshoot. The World is not that big actually…

As it turned out the other day I was asked if I did not mind shooting picture of me and my wife at the beautiful sunset at the Barcelonetta. Thank you once again Frank

Barclona’s Aquarium

The Sunday was really lazy – I was on vacation so… Barcelona’s Aquarium was the last place we bought tickets to. When you cross the gates you are almost forced to have a picture by the camera man. Personally, I hate this practice, since they always want to sell you the print at the exit and are extremely surprised that you do not want to buy their super-souvenir. As you finally leave them light gradually falls off and first species start to appear in numerous aquariums.

Really, it is dark there. You are not allowed to use flash so that not to startle animals. This is one of these moments that I am especially proud of possessing my 50mm/1.4 lens. It does not mean however that I did not have problems with freezing motion. Some species are slower, while others were relatively fast. I tried many times catching them until I was more or less happy with the result.

The main part of this Aquarium was a big pool with many sharks, rays and other big fish with a corridor with moving floor (something similar to that, what you have at airports but much slower).

We have also seen penguins but probably caught them talking about top secret mission so for the rest of the time they were pretending to do nothing 😉

After visiting everything I have two personal favourites. First is the pool with rays where people can feed them. Those animals were trained to dance around you if they see a person because they think they will receive food from you. Those who follow me on Instagram could see this on the video in my relation. My second best is the dance of jellyfish. The way it looks and light they emit is totally amazing.

Summary

My visit to Barcelona was not only about seeing these three main places. I wanted to get a feel of Barcelona. Walk peacefully on the streets. Drink decent coffee to my cookie. Watch the sunset from the Montjuic. Just have fun of being there.

The variety of photos I took during this time is amazing. I realized this only after coming back home and trying to sort them. There is definitely a lot left that I want to share with you – this will come shortly in more, let’s say, informal post.

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You might have seen that there is a lot of artistic content coming to this blog recently – Portfolio, Researchers’ Night at CERN. I am putting a lot effort to do my best. Some of the pictures you can also see on my Instagram account. As I strongly believe that good and visually appealing content is what you want, without Your engagement the information about this blog is not coming to others that might be interested in this as well.

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Thank you!
Pawel Jurgielewicz
Photographer and Programmer