May 9th 2013, Thursday
Ready to hit another beautiful day ? Where will we going today ? We will going to the highlight/signature building of Barcelona, the giant church – SAGRADA FAMILIA! (sound like magic spell). My parents have been here and took pictures.. that was the first time I knew this place.. This place also showed in Taiwanese serial drama – Meteor Garden 2, This Church has been on my mind a long time ago and now I will go there soon. Exciting!
Hopefully I’m not wrong or forget. Just a short description about this beautiful giant church, Sagrada Familia was build long time ago, 1882. Antoni Gaudi took part of this building, But the church has not finish its constructing until now. They said it will be finish at 2025. This short history was told by the tour guide on the way to the church.
We’re here.. Sagrada Familia, It’s magnificent! The giant church right in front of me.. overwhelming! All the people start to bring out their camera and took pictures. The tour leader took us to the best location to take pictures.. Ahh yes! We can see whole building. We’ll going inside the church, but we have to follow the regulations. We have to queue for our turn and stay in group, 1 group only maximum 40 persons. We’re waiting for our turn. They will give us a device – earphone and speaker, we have to keep as quite as we can inside the church, respecting the prayers. Earphone and speaker used to guide and telling the history of the church. The tour leader will guide us which way to go.. we will go inside through the gate Nativity facade – Expresses the joy of all creation at the birth of Jesus and recounts the main events in the lives of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Now we’re inside, stunning .. It’s SACRED. Big space with artistic, gothic, detail pillars, ceiling, windows, doors, ceilings… I can see the influence of Gaudi’s art style here. I love every corner of this place especially the color glass window. They said that if the sun is bright, the glass window will reflecting colorful lights in the church.. (when I’m here, the weather is kinda foggy). It must awesome if we can the colorful ray of light if the sun is super bright, shining through the windows and shower our body with lights.. Like magic.
We only have limited time, only 15-30 minutes visit. Going inside through the Nativity facade, Going out through Passion facade – Represent the passion, the death and the resurrection of Jesus. It’s like we’re experience the journey/timeline by following the itinerary of the church. Every statues also has its own stories. Oh yeah, why Sagrada Familia is not finish and spend a lot of time for its construction? It was built by the help of personal donation by the prayers. Hopefully the donation will rise and this beautiful church will finish soon.
Sagrada Familia is a great church. Compare to Montserrat Church, Sagrada Familia is a lot bigger and magnificent, but what I like Montserrat church because I think it’s more peaceful and natural, classic, vintage! – A church on the mountain or a giant church in the city ? But both of them made me feel peace, serene, faithful and happy. So how about you ?
Around the church there’s a lot of shop. We can a lot of stuff and merchandise here. I found a pearl earrings, I think it’s a good gift for my mother. After shopping we’re having lunch at Korean Restaurant – Asiatic. I think this is the best asian food I ate in Barcelona. Serving a lot of foods and delicious! I like the peking duck. Around the restaurant there’s also a lot of souvenir shops.. I think the Prudential agents can’t stop shopping, they have a lot of moneyyy.. hahaha..
We will go to a shopping factory / fashion outlet – La Roca Village. It’s kinda far from the city. We’re receiving a goodie bag from La Roca and voucher discount 10% , yay!!! I saw the brochure and there’s a map. I see a lot of branded shops. It’s a nice place, a lot of people come along. Overall, La Roca looks kinda the same like Spanish Village, but more modern… Love every building with classis english style design. Every building is a shop, store, boutique with unique design selling chocolate, food and beverages, clothes, electronics, etc. They said we can find a lot of Branded items in here and the prices were cheaper. Shopping is not my hobby so I’m walking around and looking for best spot to take pictures. Suddenly I saw NIKE store, the prices is quite affortable, so I bought some sport pants and a wallet.
We still have a lot of time after shopping at La Roca Village, the tour leader asked us to rest at the hotel or go to La Rambla to shopping again.. of course they chose SHOPPING! We have time until 8 pm. I made friend with Prudential agents Kan Hu and Arie since at Camp Nou. We walked along together and took pictures, Kan Hu is searching a souvenir for his mom, and finally FURLA bag is his choice. I like walking along this busy but clean road.. We’re back on time at the bus and back to the hotel.
Me, Arie and Kan Hu made an appointment to dinner together at the Arena – The Matador stadium that now has been turn into a Shopping mall. I heard that Matador performance is prohibited now in Barcelona. I kinda agree because I think it’s an animal abuse (?). The mall is almost close, but we’re so hungry and try to find a good restaurant for our last night in Barcelona. We’re going up and the view is totally awesome! Barcelona at night. But too bad I’m not wearing my jacket so it’s really cooooolllddd in here.. I’m shaking cold..
We found a restaurant – MUSSOL. We’re going inside and quite warm. Nice restaurant, nice interior, nice atmosphere and serving us very well. We ordered the food, I ordered Steak (actually it has its own name, but I forgot), too bad I forgot to order wine. I steak is delicious and big.. kinda expensive but once in a while, eat a good quality beef is a must! And might be the most delicious beef I ate.
We’re back at hotel and rest.. ahh this is the last night. I’m gonna miss it.
May 8th 2013, Wednesday
Good Morning Barcelona. Nice to be here. Breakfast in the hotel and after that, gathered in Bus 36. Where are we going today? We will go to Montserrat – There a Church/Monastery on the mountain for about 1 hour, 66 km from hotel. On the way to the church, we passed some mountain trails, hills, forest and it’s a beautiful view with clear blue sky and bright sun. I’ve been living for too long in the city with tall building, busy traffic and working people. Now I’m here, makes me so happy to this nature view and blue sky, The world is beautiful and amazing.
We arrived, the location is like a movie in The Lord of the Ring. A nice design building and church on the mountain, can you imagine? The Hill and mountain looks like Titan. Fresh air, clean. I love it. The church has a big wide field, big gate, and big Basilica. I’m a Buddhist but I love this place so much, so peaceful, sacred, Holy and I also prayed to God for the blessing I’m receiving here to visit this beautiful place. Montserrat also has Museum, Singing academy, Restaurant and Hotel.. It would be great if we can stay in this hotel. I wonder what is it like to be here in the night..
Time to explore. When we went inside there’s a long queue on the right side of the church. The tour guide said to line up if we wanna see BLACK MADONNA before the praying time starts at 10.00 am. I don’t quite sure about the detail about Black Madonna but they said it’s the holy statue of Maria holding the World and baby Jesus Christ, (I’m sorry If I’m wrong). I think its the material of the stone/mineral made the statue became black color through ages. Black Madonna was made/sculptured by Santo Lukas. Black Madonna is the highlight of Montserrat.
I think I’ve come this far, so I lined up. It’s a long long long passage way with rooms to go to the Black Madonna at the top floor, but it’s really nice to see every single rooms along the passage although it’s kinda dark. The room is classic with elegant and detailed curvy/floral element (Art Nouveau) on the wall and ceiling. Inside, we can see Holy statue of St. Petrus, Paintings, Colorful Glass Windows and Artworks. Feel so faithful. We’re passing through a room where we can see the big Basilica, It’s Awesomeeeee… Magnificent, just like what i saw in the Hunchback of Notre Dame or any (myth) movie. Overwhelming Atmosphere. I have to go inside the Basilica after I see Black Madonna. A lot of people are praying here. We walked and finally reach to the top floor. Black Madonna. Touch the ‘World’ and I prayed – Thank you. Just a short moment (a few second) to see Black Madonna.
After that we guided to go outside the church. Wow it’s beautiful! Colorful Candle Canes for Prayers. Purple, Magenta, Yellow, Green transparent glasses. They put the candle inside the color glass cane. Light up the fire and pray.. put it on the candle cane display under the hill. As the wind blow, the little fire start to dance inside the color cane. Clear – Colorful like I’m inside the crystal. I’m sure you love it too.
We have free time about 1-2 hours here. So I wandered around and find some nice spots to take pictures. So many people and tourist are coming now. They gathered at the big wide field. They just hang out, sitting enjoy the fresh air, chattering and bring their pet. I can see various people, from France, Taiwan, Korea etc. Prudential Agents also wandering around, and they like to take pictures with foreigners, well me too.
These are the special moments I never forget: I got a chance to take picture with a very cute bulldog… I think the dog loves me too.. I hugged him tight, then he rolled on the floor.. I rubbed his tummy >tickle< >tickle< The owners also laughed to see their Bulldog acted like that, so cutee and one more funny thing is I dance Gangnam Style in Europe with 2 beautiful ladies. They’re very friendly. They’re from France if I’m not wrong.
There’s also cafe, restaurant and shops here, I bought some liquors for my friend and also this is what I like in Montserrat – The classic farmer’s shops/tents outside the church. The farmers sell honey, jam, cheese and local tradition food they made. They’re very friendly. I bought the honey, I’ve tasted it.. It’s sweet, flowery aroma and delicious!! This place has given me a great fun and faithful experiences. I imagine they have a very peaceful life on the mountain.
Ahh.. Time is running. I’ve to go to the Basilica. I rushed inside and lucky I can still go inside. Renaissance Era! I amazed.. Wonderful with all the details in the Basilica. Every corners is ART! I amazed how can they built such a great artwork in here. I feel happy, faithful. Sitting down, breathe, grab my hands and start to Pray~
It’s a great experience to be here. We’re back to the hotel to rest, but some people went to IKEA or Carrefour for shopping. I and some Prudential Agents went to La Rambla again by subway train. Just a short time, we have to go back to hotel at 4.30 pm..they able to find some items to buy. Time is running fast.. Rush hour!! We made it in time! What is out next destination ? We will go to Gala Dinner at the biggest football field in Europe – CAMP NOU!
We were wearing the Prudential Soccer red uniform. We arrived. First thing to do is group photoshoot with the leaders/boss of Prudential. Then 1st place we visit is the Football Museum. All the people are gathering here. So crowded! I’m not a football fans so it’s quite ordinary for me.. but the museum is nice… maybe the football fans out there will envy about this. The staff welcoming us with the fresh beverages, champagne and wine here. Here, We can see the photo documentary, balls with the players signature, shoes, video, medals and champion cups etc. So many people wanna take pictures with the champion cup and anything related about MESSI, The best player of football.
We will have Gala Dinner here.. The Prudential comittee guide us to the dining room. They’re serving appetizer, main course and desserts. They have red wine! OH YEAH!! All the foods are nice especially the appetizer. I ate them all. I think it’s good enough.. But still there’s always complaints from Indonesian people.. hahahaha..
After that, I’ve been asked to go with the Prudential committee. The PCC, PRUFlyer and Birthday Prudential agents has the privilege like a VIP, so they took me (I’m a PRUflyer) to the CAMP NOU Football field first. WOW! I said I’m not the football fans, but when I’m standing at the stadium and in front of me is a big supeeeerrr wide field, the biggest football field in Europe, the field that can contains 100.000 people.. It’s SUPERB!
This is gonna be the GREATEST night for all Prudential agents, this their night to feel the moment of their hard works, their achievements…This the peak of this Barcelona Trip. We also can see the logo of Prudential shoot at the stadium. All the people has come and sit, I’m in the middle of people in red. Thousand in RED! The opening show is the song of our Indonesia Anthem – Indonesia Raya ! OVERWHELMING!! We sang it loud, we sang it proud! Continue with Prudential Theme Song “We are number ONE!” They’re all fantastic!! This is the moment!
Prudential is GREAT, the leaders are motivating their agents, they’re recognized them for the hard work and convince them that this is not their FINAL results, they have to keep moving to build their better future and achievements. Everybody else is moving while they’re enjoying this Holiday trip.. Prudential makes them proud, I can see everyone is so happy. Time for entertainments, Start with the Spanish heritage dance, Flamenco! It’s a graceful dance performance.. The male dancers also do the Tap dance and it’s awesome! They entertained us with Singers who sing The Prayers (duet), La Copa De La Vida and Waka-waka. The closing event kinda mysterious, the Prudential agents are guessing and thought they will see MESSI here, but unfortunately, they just brought the Winning Champion Cup. But I think it described a very good meaning and motivation boost for the agents, they’re Champions.
After the great night at the stadium, Camp Nou also has an official NIKE/BARCA soccer store. Special night for Prudential agents, they open until midnight. Some people went back to hotel to rest and the others are going to shopping. We can find various items here – Balls, Shirts, Shorts, Shoes, Bags, Accessories, Merchandise etc. So busy!! So many people walk around and find the items they want like crazy, The queue for paying was looonggg. I bought Shirt MESSI for my brother, bags for my sister and a set of baby costum for my nephew. Finally finish shopping at 1 am 0_O and back to hotel.
What a great night to remember..
May 7th 2013, Tuesday
I had a very sweet and tight sleep on my bed, received morning call at 5.45 am. Ahh so early.. I think I fell asleep again if I’m not wrong. After wake up, take a shower then having my first breakfast buffet in the hotel. Wow, so many food and so many people!! All people are the agent of Prudential! Back to the food – I think the hotel has adjusted the food into Asian food, because I know that Indonesia people are very selective (picky) in eating food and beverages. The hotel serves Salad, Cereal, Tapa, Pasta, Pie, Cakes & Cookies, Bread etc. I love the salad, various ingredient & fresh vegetables also salmon, yummy! but I don’t know how to mix it and I made it too salty.. to much olive oil ??? I ate almost everything..
After breakfast, we gathered at the hotel lobby. This time we will regroup based on the travel bus. I’m with bus 36 with Mr. Paulus Singgih as the Tour Leader. First destination today is Spanish Village (El Poble Espanyol), they said it is the miniature city of Spanish, as the comparison in Indonesia is Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. The miniature city/building has a great architeture design. What will we doing here ? We will create a history in Europe.
All the Prudential agents are gathering here, it’s THOUSAND! On the main field of Spanish Village. There’s a big stage in front led by MC. They tried to line up the people.. but it’s hard.. so many people and the sun was so bright and hot. They hid under the shadow and some of them busy taking pictures first. Somehow I felt they’re so spoiled. Show must go on! What is the show ? Prudential will create a history – Making MURI Record “The Most People Dancing Tor-tor Indonesia Traditional dance in Europe.” That’s why Prudential provided us an ULOS. Ulos is the traditional cloth of the Batak people of North Sumatra. I love it! We wore it on our shoulder, on position – Pray pose hands, then we started dancing together in harmony led by the original Batak people who living in Barcelona.. Thousand people dancing together.. I’m proud! Glad to join and brought Indonesia culture and heritage in Europe. Being part of making history – MURI.
After the dance, It’s a FREE time to explore the Spanish Village. Short history about this place has been built for Barcelona International Exhibition since 1929, They said after the exhibition is over, this place supposed to be destroyed. But This place is so beautiful and has a lot of positive impact, so they keep this place. It’s about 1600 model of ‘mini village’ building in here, all has a nice architecture and decorative style. You’re gonna love every single building you see.
A lot of shops & Cafe here, we can buy chocolate, cookies, souvenirs, painting, sculptures, art and craft etc here… The people also friendly. This place is very romantic! Very nice choice if we go with our lover, and take a pictures for Pre wed.. I love it! Every corners is beautiful. Classic~
I love the art and craft of Barcelona (Spanish), detail and colorful in various style – Modern and Traditional. The signature style is Gaudi style that used colorful element on the artwork – mosaic style. Some artwork seem very vintage/antique. I wish I can buy them all, too bad no space available to place them all. You can see they’re so pretty if we put them together.. aren’t they ?
I almost left by the bus because busy taking pictures.. haha! It’s time for lunch! We went to Port Olympic again. Now they took us to the local restaurant near the beach – El Tinglado • Monchos – Tapas & Restaurant. The restaurant is big, 2 blocks building with blue banners.. It’s a seafood restaurant I guess.. We will eat local food here, they serve (I don’t know the exact name): Egg Rolls, Potato Ball with meat filling, Salad, Tomato bread (?), Fish steak, Cake. Overall the foods are nice, I can eat them.. (the tomato bread is kinda hard like plastic).. Some people can’t eat.. They even brought Rendang and Rice for lunch all the way from Indonesia. They shared it together. I love the Salad, very nice.. I think they use turkey and eel for the topping, vegetable so fresh, probably the best salad I ever eat. The Fish steak is delicious, but wer’e guessing what is the fish? It didn’t taste like carp, dory or salmon. It’s tender and delicious. We asked.. it’s Swordfish! Wow, first time ate a swordfish steak.. good taste! Finish with a desserts – Chocolate cake, yummy!
This is what we do after having lunch, yeah! Take pictures as much as we can at the BEACH! It’s hot sunny day but windy.. I love beach.. love the blue sea and the blue sky.. wish I can swim.. but the beach kinda seem like desert haha.. no palm tree, not look like a tropical beach like Hawaii.
After lunch, we will go to the Barcelona Heritage place – Park Guell or we can say Park of Gaudi. I don’t know the detail but Gaudi is a great artist who involved with the Art Nouveau style. Art Nouveau is one of the greatest art style that using the curvy, wavy and floral element. In Park Guell, the local tour guide explain to us that Gaudi used to lived here.. He designed his house and garden with no straight line, all is curvy and acymmetric, so it’s kinda seem surreal and like in the fairy tale. His style is like using a lot pieces of broken colored glasses or rock and attached them into an artwork and even the cave, pillar, ceiling, wall, stair, fences. Seem like mosaic. I saw this style a long time ago and I just knew where is it came from now.
The special spot here is the Water Dragon (Salamander) called El Drac statue and the churches. El drac is a signature or symbol of Barcelona city. Despite as a symbol, El Drac also has a functional as irrigation with the water that flowing from the mouth. They say the water is pure and we can drink it for treatment, but now it’s not flowing.. ~sigh. A lot of people take picture here.. It’s hard to get picture here.. so crowded.
Just a short trip here, we have to go to another place.. I think this is the time for the ladies to go crazy – It’s shopping time! We will go to the shopping district – La Rambla. I feel a different atmosphere here.. A lot of shop with nice architecture along the street, It has a big main street and central park, theatre, also cafe and restaurant. There’s a lot of branded store here, If you have a lot of money.. you can shop until you drop! Fashion, bags, Souvenirs… It’s a nice weather to walk along the street and watching historical and beautiful building around, Art and the lifestyle of Barcelona people. We’re as the tourists got a priviledge 10% discount to shop at the famous department store, El Corte Ingles’ and also a welcome snack: Tapa & a glass of Red Wine… ♥♥
Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. Somehow I think it’s like baked pasta with egg. Eat Tapas serves with Red wine.. you knew I love red wine.. It’s perfect. Relax and looking to the park.. I feel so lucky to enjoy this moment..
I walked along the street, saw people sitting on the bench, jogging, walk with their pet, I feel nice. I bought some magnet souvenirs – various design, made me hard to choose haha. Sometime I took picture of the nice building, and I looooveeee the park! Wide open space with flowers, fountain and a lot of pigeon! I love the pigeons.. you can see how I’m excited with birds at my previous blog when I was in Kuala Lumpur.. Too bad now I’m alone.. so It’s hard to take a picture with birds. So happy to be here. I wish Jakarta also has this kind of park in the city… We have free time to walk, hang out, eat and shopping until 8 pm. Back to the hotel and rest.. Tommorow is a new day.