Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain

Park Güell is one of the achievements of the catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It was built between 1900 and 1914. Originally, it was to be a garden city that Eusebi Güell asked him to build on a hill in the South of the city (El Carmel). This should contain a chapel and 60 houses. But the cost of construction increased in big proportions that only were completed three houses and Güell Park. In 1923, the Park became property of the city of Barcelona. With his imagination, Gaudí made an original work with curves that fit with the nature like the columns in the aisles, for example, simulating tree trunks and the two houses at the entrance, in the form of fungus. There are 3 remarkable fountains and the best-known has a salamander. There are large stairs that lead to the Hypostyle Hall to the hundred Doric columns where there are actually just 84. The room had to serve as a market. The columns have 6 m high and 1.20 m diameter and the vault is built so that rain water is recovered in tanks located under the market to allow watering free and ecological gardens, as well as the power of fountains. The vault is decorated with four ceramic suns of 3 m in diameter. The central square, with the longest corrugated bench of the world (110 m); measures 86 m long by 43 m wide. The trencadís, a mosaic technique using broken and mismatched pieces of earthenware or colored glass, is used extensively on buildings, fountains, the main bench and other buildings in the park. The House-Museum of Gaudí in the Güell Park was built by one of his collaborators, Francesc Berenguer. This museum includes an important collection of works by Gaudí and of some of its employees. The Museum is spread over three floors including two dedicated to Gaudí. On the ground floor there’s an exhibition of furniture designed by Gaudí for Batlló and Calvet houses and on the first floor, the office and the house of the artist where he lived his last years.

Tips

The best way to get there is with the bus as the nearest metro station is a bit far from there and you need to walk 10-15 minutes and you’ll have an escalator on the highest part of the climb.
The park is open every day but the access to the area from the main entrance to the esplanade (part of monuments by Gaudí) isn’t free since October 2013. It is nevertheless possible to see the monuments from the tops of the park and the main entrance. You can buy the ticket at the entrancet or by Internet.
If you want to have beautiful panoramic photos of Barcelona, the park will give you this possibility.

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Ice Hotel, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, Quebec, Canada

The Ice Hotel is located for the 1st time on the site of Village Vacances Valcartier in St-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, north of Quebec City, in the Province of Quebec, Canada. It is designed each year entirely in ice and snow with beautiful scenery. There are themed rooms and suites with beautiful sculptures. It is a unique concept hotel where you can spend a magical night and enjoy a cocktail in one of its famous ice glasses. This is a non-smoking hotel with an inside fireplace, a reception room, meeting, conference, a common lounge, sauna and indoor spa with free outdoor parking.

Tips

To get there, you have a shuttle service from Quebec City. Take it at the Place d’Armes. You will get a discount if you buy your ticket at the same time as the entrance to visit the hotel. You must buy it online on the Old Quebec Tours site.

If you go with your family, there is a family pass (2 adults, 3 children). There is also a discount for age 55 and over and children under one meter  enter without paying.

There are also  interesting packages: visit with a guided tour or not, guided tour with a cocktail or visit ‘Backstage’ in which in addition to the guided tour you will discover the secrets and procedures for the construction and maintenance of the hotel, visit the workshop where you can make your ice glass with which you will end the visit to the hotel bar drinking a cocktail served in your own glass.

 

Straw Market, Nassau, Bahamas

The Straw Market is a large handicraft market located on Bay Street in downtown Nassau, Bahamas. You will find many merchants selling their products, many of which will make the items you want to buy in front of your eyes. You have a large selection of crafts such as straw or wood objects, jewelry made of shellfish and coconut and also t-shirts souvenirs among other items. The atmosphere is very lively and colorful and the people are very smiling and welcoming. The market is open every day and the opening hours vary according to the merchants. It is the favorite of tourists making a cruise stopover in Nassau and it is close to the port.

Tips

You can always shop for the price of items you want to buy, merchants are used to trading.

To avoid crowds, it’s best to visit early in the morning or late afternoon.

If you find an article that you like but it is not exactly how you would like it, it’s just to tell the merchant because many times, the kiosk is held by the same craftsman and it will be a pleasure to him to arrange the object to your taste.

Bring cash to buy, US dollar is accepted without any problem.