Monday, 17 March 2014

A Barcelona Love Affair... Passeig de Gracia (2)

A wet dark morning stuck on a motorway is guaranteed to make a weekend in Barcelona even better than normal. Not that last weekend the weather at home was expected to be bad, sunshine was forecast throughout the UK, but it was still nice to board that ‘plane!

Barcelona has lots of hidden surprises, some you hear about chatting in bars, some on line, but this particular secret was one we found out about in a book about the city, not your standard tour guide, but one that had been written a fair few years ago by someone who had adopted the place as a second home – much as we have.

This particular place is hidden ‘in plain sight’ as they say, and I bet there are a fair few people who have wandered past one store in particular on the Passeig de Gracia and never given it a second glance.

Passeig de Gracia is one of the two main shopping streets that run up from near Placa de Catalunya – easy to find, on all the tourist maps, and indeed on the route of the tourist city bus. It’s one of those must see streets. If you’re hoping to visit the designer shops, then this road will be on your itinerary, the other being Rambla de Catalunya (not to be confused with La Rambla which runs from Placa de Catalunya down towards the port).

Even if you aren’t interested in the shops, the road is well known for its architecture – in fact one block has been nicknamed ‘La Mançana de la Discòrdia’ (block of discord) as within a short distance there are buildings designed by three different famous modernist architects (for those that want to know Josep Puig i Cadafelch, Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Gaudí).

So, wander up here and you will soon spot Casa Mila, La Pedrera ‘the quarry’. The building is famous, but unfortunately the façade of the building is currently covered for renovation and so I couldn’t take a photo – but there are plenty of pics about on the internet and in guide books.  Join the queues to look inside, go up to the roof and view the city, you can even visit at night and discover the ‘secret Pedrera’ but make sure you do something not many other people do. Visit the shop next door.

Vincon stands adjacent to La Pedrera, and has secrets of its own to reveal. Yes, go in and it’s a shop, well a ‘design store’. Downstairs you can buy stationery (if you love notebooks and pens you could spend hours browsing!), lights, some amazing books with photographs of the city, and much more (if you have the money to spend). But it’s upstairs that we found the real surprise.

It’s a listed building, that was designed by architect Antoni Rovira i Rabassa in 1899 and belonged to a painter, Ramón Casas.

From the terrace you can admire the back of Pedrera, from inside you can forget you’re in a department story and imagine what it would have been like to have lived there.

And when you’ve finished? Carry on up Passeig de Gracia, to just beyond the Avinguda Diagonal, sit in one of the two café’s/bars on the other side of the square and admire the beautiful architecture that is Casa Fuster. If you’ve got the money to spare, go in for a glass of champagne (Woody Allen has played Jazz here). If you’ve not, why not sit, like we do and have a coffee at Buenos Migas and just imagine…

And, if you love tapas and like a hot romance, you might like to check out the erotic romance that was inspired by one of my trips to Barcelona..
Spice It Up -  'Altogether hot and delicious - and that's not just the food.'

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  1. Oh, this made me want to go to Barcelona. Beautiful pictures, and an enticing post. My husband and I go to Spain frequently, to the region called Galicia. That area has been so interesting, we never have gotten aroundn to see other parts, but Barcelona sounds so fascinating.

    1. I do love Barcelona - and, like in any city, there are so many places to discover off the beaten track. It's lovely when you discover somewhere like this. Galicia is on my list of places to go :-)