Barcelona Day Three: Cable Cars and Castles

Day three in Barcelona called for an Al Fresco breakfast. Alex and I returned to the cool shopping centre built in an old bullring to buy some pastries and fresh orange juice. We then headed to the  national art museum of Catalunya. I was promised escalators to the top and there were- but they weren’t moving. So after a sweaty trip up hundreds of stairs and some now, slightly warm orange juice we made it to the entrance of the museum. But we weren’t there for the museum- the view opposite is stunning. The only problem was, this view is no secret. There were hundreds of tourists and school kids at the top. Along with some pesky pigeons vying for my pastry so we didn’t stay too long.

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The view from the bottom of the art museum of Catalunya

Luckily the paths at the back of the museum is slightly quieter and even better, leads to a cable car.. The cable car was 8 euros and took around 10 minutes to get you to the summit- the location of Montjuic Castle. As we are travelling on a budget we decided not to pay to enter the castle, instead we went for a stroll around the castle grounds which are free. You can do a full circle around the castle- we even spotted some archery practice.

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After a returning on the cable car, a frantic search for a free toilet and a delicious waffle we decided we needed some culture. After looking through a list of art exhibitions in Barcelona we chose to visit the centre of Photography, showcasing the work of legendary photographer August Sander. I was really excited as I had researched Sanders work last term at uni. The Photography Centre is extremely accessible, plonked ring tin the middle of Las Ramblas. Which made it even more odd that it was so quiet when we entered. Not that odd though when we re-read the exhibition poster. It was opening in 3 days time- a day after we leave. With our tail between our legs we did the only thing possible- retail therapy. After Alex bought a whole load of make-up which will be impossible to pack in our hand luggage decided a rest at the apartment was needed.

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The Terraza Hotel 360 bar

I don’t know why but when deciding what I wanted to do in Barcelona, I was set on seeing a sun set. Maybe (and rather embarrassingly) I assumed the sun would set beautifully over the beach- obviously not, Barcelona is on the East coast. After speaking to some local friends they suggested the rooftop terrace at the upmarket Terraza hotel. So after dressing up and pretending we knew what we were doing we walked straight into the hotel lobby, to the lift and up to the top floor. We walked straight into a 360 rooftop bar with seats around the edge primed to witness the sunset- just what we were looking for. After paying for some over-priced cocktails we sat down ready for the sunset and boy did it live up to expectations…

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Japan Diary: Day 018

Day 018:

Hiroshima 
After a long day yesterday we decided to take it slow on our last day here in Hiroshima. After a lovely lie-in till 11, I managed to convince Juna to visit an incinerator plant on the outskirts of Hiroshima. I had heard about the plant a while back as it’s designed by one of my favourite architects Taniguchi Yoshio, who also designed MOMA in New York. We arrived there after a 20 minute journey on a bus with a wooden floor and a women who insisted every stop we went past was our stop.

Expecting a faint smell of garbage we were actually greeted with an incredibly strong scent of Soy sauce from the factory next door. Not exactly pleasant but also doesn’t make your breakfast reappear.

The incineration plant is made up of glass and metal allowing you to see the internal workings. It’s also on the water front with a viewing space allowing you to see across the water. At this point,Juna and I, both raised in Brighton, realised how much we had missed the sea after being inland for 3 weeks. Overall I was incredibly impressed by the building and views and would definitely recommend the short trip from the city centre for any fans of clean, slick architecture.


Next up to visit was Hiroshima Castle, originally constructed in 1589 and rebuilt after the atomic bomb. It was much bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside and had a brilliant exhibition on Samurai culture and the battles over the control of the castle through the ages. The best part though was the 5th floor viewing platform giving a 360 view of Hiroshima. And it wasn’t too busy so we had plenty of time to take in the view.


The Castle and moat 


View from the 5th floor 

Getting ready for leaving tomorrow we then strolled to the train station to reserve tickets for the 5 hour journey to Tokyo. Right next to the station is a baseball stadium with a match being played this evening. It was great to see everyone on their way to the game all dressed up including lots of women and children. What was great was all the station staff who worked in the shops were dressed up in the Hiroshima kit, it was a great atmosphere and we wish we could have caught a game before we leave.

We then had an evening stroll back home to our hostel, the best one yet, taking in Hiroshima for the last night. It was the busiest yet calmest city I’ve ever seen on a Friday night. Even if we did have to wade through people ‘catching’ Pokemon.

On our return to the hostel I realised the hot chocolate I bought to have before bed was in fact coffee and  then found Juna’s green painting ink leaked across her duvet and mattress. Never a dull moment.

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