The time of the year was here again for the Smart Cities Expo World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. Being my second trip to Barcelona, I extended my stay to visit Madrid, the capital of Spain which I will cover in my subsequent posts.
I took the red eye flight direct to Barcelona and arrived in the morning. I stayed at a different corporate hotel, Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos at Avinguda Diagonal that is supposedly near Fira Gran Via. The hotel is indeed nearer to both the airport and event venue compared to the hotel I stayed last year which is near the industrial area. Unfortunately there is no amenities around the Fairmont hotel as it is situated at the universities area. No mall, no restaurants, no cafes except for beautiful parks.
View from the hotel room
After checking-in, freshened up and two cups of lungo at the reception area, I joined my colleague to La Ribera for sightseeing and to get over the jet lag.
We went to Basilica de Santa Maria Del Mar, a very old church. The cornerstone was laid on 25 March 1329 and the last circular keystone that bears the city’s coat of arms was put in place on 3 November 1383. The church was consecrated by Pere Planella, bishop of Barcelona, on 15 August 1384. Berenguer de Montagut and Ramon Despuig were the architects in charge of the project.
After we left the church, we immersed ourselves into the city, looking and observing the things and people around us. Love the big open walkways and the weather was amazing.
We roamed around and saw the Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music), a concert hall designed in the Catalan modernist style by the architect, Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth). Inaugurated in February 9, 1908 and won the architect an award from the Barcelona City Council in 1909. Between 1982 and 1989, the building underwent extensive restoration, remodeling, and extension under the direction of architects Oscar Tusquets and Carles Díaz. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
From a far, we saw the bright colourful roof top of the Mercat de Santa Caterina. It is built on the site of a former convent in 1848 and was completely reconstructed in 2005 by star Catalan architect Enric Miralles, who transformed it into Barcelona’s first designer market. The roof top is made up of 325,000 mosaic tiles in bright colours representing the fruits and vegetables on sales under the undulating structure supported by twisted metal struts.
Our next stop, Fundacio Joan Miro. The bright white building with exceptionally luminous interior spaces is designed by Josep Lluis Sert. It house Joan Miro’s paintings, sculptures and drawings.
We then took a taxi to La Rambla for dinner and passed by the Museo De Cera De Barcelona, the Wax Museum of Barcelona. It is a private museum that gathers an important collection of more than 200 wax figures of both historical and fictional characters. At one of the section, Passage of Terror, the most important series of murderers in history and other characters from horror movies. Glad we did not go in as I am sure I will have nightmare if we did.
After more than 24 hours without sleep, time to go back to the hotel to get some sleep.
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