Today was a busy, full day, but I did everything I wanted to do, so that makes me happy.
I'm learning that Spaniards like to protest over lots of things, so what happened yesterday is nothing new
I got up pretty early (for Spaniards) and headed toward the Liceu metro to buy a T10 card. This allows me 10 rides on the metro, and it's a good bang for your buck. The metro system here seems very safe, clean and organized. I took the green line from Liceu (near my hostal) and hooked up with the purple line so I could get to Sagrada Familia. This is THE thing to see in Barcelona. SF is a huge, amazing church that is Antonio Gaudi's work. Gaudi is Spain's most famous architect. SF still isn't completed, and it won't be for several more years. Even more amazing is that Gaudi spent 43 years working on it, right up until his death in 1926. It consists of huge columns, spires in works on concrete and marble. I guess 2026 is the expected finish date. Lines to get in can be long, so I booked mine ahead of time. It is just crazily massive, and one of those places where you say "holy cow" out loud when you first see it
I took a cab to Parc Guell, a 30-acre park also developed by Gaudi meant to be a wealthy housing development. That never happened, so it became a thriving park, established in the early 1900s. Again, his work and designs and columns in this park are fabulous. After the parc, I walked to the Lessups metro so I could head back to Ramblas.
I went to the library (closed yesterday) and discovered I could not get in to see the stacks without a library card or a secret code or the key to the future or something. Hmmmm. This would not fly at libraries in the U S of A. I still snapped a photo when the mean lady wasn't looking. :)
I decided to have lunch outside on the Placa Reial (plaza) at a place called Les Quince Nits, where I had a great three-course lunch with house wine and bottled water. It was warm and very sunny, so I had to cover up my shoulders, which still ended up getting pink
My last stop for the day was Montjuic (mont-jew-eek), "Mount of the Jews." It's a huge fortress overlooking the port, and was a main area of the 1992 Summer Olympics. I mainly wanted to see Olympic Stadium and the city views from the Castle. The Castle sits at the very top and was built in the 18th century to keep an eye on revolting citizens. I took the funicular (steep rail train) up part of the hill and then the Teleferic cable car the rest of the way. This was super cool ! A little scary when the wind started howling, but very cool. I took some pictures and strolled the castle, and made my way back down to the Stadium. This was also a cool sight as I am quite an Olympic nut.
This evening I had dinner at Granja la Pallaresa, a little place in the back of Lo Boqueria where everything served is fresh from the market
I am toying with the idea of taking the train to a medieval town called Girona tomorrow. It's about 90 minutes from Barcelona, and I think it might be nice to get away from the crowds. My cabbie told me it was nice, but he could probably tell me that raw sewage smells nice and I wouldn't know it. I also have a reservation for a flamenco show! Everything is going great so far, and ironically enough, the little bit of Spanish I know is helpful.
Hope all is well back home!
Friday, March 30, 2012
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and Canary Islands