The Secret Escape

I’d always fancied Barcelona, everyone i’ve spoken to who’s been says it’s an amazing place… The Friday and Monday were bank holidays and i was owed a day from work, so that made Easter the perfect time for my trip. There was no way i was boarding that plane without my camera, i wanted to travel light so only took three lenses, my trusty 10-24mm wide angle zoom which was my main walk-around lens, my 35mm prime and my 60mm macro. I packed my camera and some accessories into my Manfrotto Veloce III backpack which is the perfect size to carry on a plane, it also has flexible and interchangeabe dividers so you can fit your gear exactly how you like it. The bag can only be opened from the back which means you can only access the main compartment when you’re not wearing it, this makes it great for city environments.

We stayed at the Hotel Granvia and were really pleased with everything the hotel had to offer, the bedroom and bathroom were excellent and finished to a high standard. it’s about a 5 minute walk from La Rambla, Casa Batlló and a good location for walking over to the Sagrada Família (but you might prefer the Metro). The hotel is just around the corner from Plaça de Catalunya which is perfect for buses to and from the airport as well as plenty of shops and restaurants. The nearest Metro stop is literally right outside the hotel so reaching those attractions that are a little further away (Park Güell & Camp Nou) is really easy.

We got to see all of the sights we wanted during the trip and i managed to get some photos that i was happy with, i feel like i’ve learnt a lot since the trip and would like to revisit with some of my newer photography knowledge and skills. i didn’t have a full size tripod with me so nearly all my shots were hand-held, i only managed one decent HDR and that was in the hotel.

I’ll leave you with some of my favourites from the trip and a little bit of info about the attractions. First off here’s a couple of the hotel, the reception and stairway had an awesome feel to it.

Hotel Granvia-2 Hotel Granvia-1

Casa Batllo

This was just down the road from the hotel and i wanted to make sure i could take photos during the day and at night. It’s one of Barcelona’s most famous landmarks and one of many Antoni Gaudi masterpieces in the city. You can pay to go inside but it was seriously busy and to be honest i was more than happy taking photos outside. This presented quite a challenge though, you’ll probably be aware that i always try to avoid having people in my shots, unless they’re the intended subject; which meant shooting up was the only option i had here.

Casa Batllo-2 Casa Batllo-1

Sagrada Familia

Well, where do i start, this was probably my favourite part of the trip. The Sagrada Familia is a gothic church designed by Antoni Gaudi, the facade has a nativity theme and is unlike anything i’ve ever seen.  It can get really busy so make sure you book a time slot in advance online to avoid disappointment. I had no idea what to expect so when i stepped inside i was blown away by the architecture and the range of colourful light beaming through the windows, this place really has to be seen to be believed, you can get amazing views of the city from the towers and the grounds are really nice too. Expect to spend half a day or more here, if the weather is nice it’s easily within walking distance from La Rambla. Make no mistake, this place is an absolute must. I’d love to get back here and use my new fisheye lens or maybe take some HDR shots inside, the style of the roof and columns inside gave me a headache when composing some of the shots but i think they came out well enough in the end.

Sagrada Familia -1 Sagrada Familia -3 Sagrada Familia-6 Sagrada Familia-8 Sagrada Familia -7 Sagrada Familia-5 Sagrada Familia-4 Sagrada Familia-2

Camp Nou

Other than taking photos, there was one thing i was really looking forward to doing whilst in Barcelona and that was visiting one of the most iconic stadiums in the world to watch arguably the best football team on Earth. I didn’t buy tickets in advance, there’s no need really unless it’s a massive game, there’s an official shop at the airport where i grabbed a couple tickets on arrival, the stadium isn’t much from the outside but when you walk out to take your seat it truly is amazing. The game didn’t disappoint either, Barcelona came from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1, the winning goal courtesy of Lionel Messi.

Camp Nou-1 Camp Nou-2

La Pedrera

This is another work of art by Gaudi and is only a couple minutes away from Casa Batllo, i really wanted to get up on to the roof and see some of the famous chimneys, it was pretty expensive to get into the building but i’m glad we did as it was a good experience and the views were great.

La Pedrera-1 La Pedrera-2 La Pedrera-3

Park Guell

Gaudi? Again? Really? Yep, thats right, this park and the grounds were designed by him, it’s a bit of a trek so we caught the Metro up there, the weather wasn’t great and some of the park was under renovation but i was pleased we made the trip and i managed to get a handful of good photos. This place is also busy so book in advance if you plan to see it. I’d like to spend more time here with better weather to walk around the grounds properly.

Park Guell-1 Park Guell-3 Park Guell-2

Those are the main attractions around Barcelona that we visited, the rest of the time was spent shopping, eating and drinking. It really is an amazing city and i had a great time, it’s not cheap though, the trip ran well into four figures, and that was just my half. There are also dozens of other excellent photo opportunities in and around the city, so make sure you have your camera on you all the time. Here are a few of my other favourites that i grabbed whilst wandering around…

Barcelona-4 Barcelona-3 Barcelona-2 Barcelona-1

Hope you enjoyed the photos and if you have any questions about them or Barcelona then just give me a shout. I’m happy to make recommendations on what to do or where to eat!

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