October 8th, 2013
Managed to arise around 8:30 after heading to bed at 11 last night. Not bad after our 20 hour endurance flight and cab ride to our pleasant hotel. Big buffet, non-Spanish breakfast and out the door at 10. Found the Metro station and headed for the Ramblas. I love subways. The one in Barcelona is clean and easy to use.
From the Placa de Catalunya we started our adventure. Drank from the fountain that makes sure you return. Headed down the street while on full alert for Europe’s best pickpockets. Found none all day. No complaints. Zillion tourists from all over. Highlight was the food market. All the colors of the rainbow in beautiful,displays. Sorry, no pictures. Many sections that Vicki would not make it through.
Diverted into the Barri Gothic to the Cathedral. The Cathedral was a pale shadow to other major Spanish places of worship. We did enjoy the 13 watch geese. The Cathedral is attached to the royal palace. Close connection between church and state.
Got lost and wandered through the old streets until we found the Museo Picasso. Actually we found a gelati stand first. Bit of a line but well,worth the wait. Well done collection in chronological collection. Most of the works are from his teenage years while he matured in Spain. We found his pictures from the Spanish countryside to match our Camino memories. Picasso always said that he learned to paint in the countryside of Horta. He also learned something from Lautrec as an 18 year old in Paris. No pictures of course but the museum is housed in five medieval merchant palaces. Ironic that a revolutionary would be celebrated in these homes of tradition.
Barcelona, the major city in Catalonia, the key region of Aragon dominated the Mediterranean that we will be visiting until the age of Columbus undermined its wealth by his discovery of more efficient ways to wealth than trading with the Turks. They still celebrate Columbus with a statue in the harbor because he had an audience with Ferdinand and Isabella upon his return with six Indians.
Found our way to the unfinished Sagrada Familia basilica. I had been anticipating a visit to this work of genius for a long time. Gaudi’s molten stone and sand castle exterior had long fascinated me. What I was not prepared for was the interior. Once inside you find yourself in stone spaceship ready to take off for heaven. Incredible. Of course we rode up to the top of one tower and made it down after Peggy insisted on taking pictures from stone balconies perched on the side a thousand feet or so above the pavement. The eastern entrance is dominated by an positive, emotional and uplifting story of the life of Jesus complete with trumpeting angles, tortoises and turkeys. The western entrance depicts the Passion using figures from Tolkien’s Mordor which perfectly presage the Totalitarian age that followed Gaudi’s time.
Back to the hotel by 7 and almost ready to head out for an early dinner. After a visit to the Apple Store in the morning, we will visit some Gaudi designed residences and pack up for our relocation on the cruise ship.
So far, this has been great. Pictures tomorrow