First day in Barcelona

We sent our suitcases on this morning. I liked having my suitcases; it was nice to be able to change clothes when I got the ones I was wearing so filthy that I didn’t want to wear them anymore, and to have the ability to be able to change clothing before it got to that point. But the sleeper train we’re taking the day after tomorrow has very limited space, and we were warned that if we brought suitcases, we might well wind up sleeping with them. So I picked out some clean outfits and packed everything else, and will be living out of my backpack and a canvas bag for the next two days, but I’ll manage. At any rate, it will be nice to finally arrive and not be living in a suitcase, much as I like all of this traveling and seeing cool things.

I like Barcelona a lot. It’s a nice city, and doesn’t give me quite the same overwhelming ack-there-are-too-many-people-jammed-into-this-space feeling that I had in Madrid. I’m not sure why; perhaps the streets are a little more gracious, so there’s just a bit more space and that’s enough that you don’t feel like you’re about to be lost in the sea of massed humanity.
However, as with any other large city/tourist area, we are warned about the ubiquitous pickpockets.

Today we went on a but tour of the city. We drove around for a while and had attractions and interesting features pointed out to us, and then we arrived at the Parque Güell, also known as the Gaudi park.

This is the underside of a bridge, designed to have the organic feel of a cave while still having plenty of light and blending into the landscape.
These three are of a sandy terrace with a mosaic bench all around the edge.

The edge of the terrace has carved stone lions which function as waterspouts when it rains; the water pours of of their mouths.

Underneath the terrace is the “hall of 100 columns” (there are eighty-some) with little white mosaic domes between the columns. A few of the columns are truncated and the empty spaces are decorated with more mosaics.

Most of the water from the terrace percolates down and is filtered through the columns into a cistern underneath the hall of columns. The excess water flows into a fountain with more mosaic creatures. This one, we were told, is a dragon; George is the patron saint of Barcelona.

A ramp to another level of the park.

More bridges.
Can you tell that I’m enjoying the Gaudi architecture?

This the the Catedral de la Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of the Holy Family. It was started in 1882. At the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926, only one tower was finished. They’re still working on it (there was a 20-year break after the Spanish Civil War). It’s entirely funded by anonymous donations, and the projections estimate that it will be finished in the next 15 or 20 years. There is some doubt about this, as there are still 10 towers to go (there will be 18 in total). We didn’t go inside, but I would like to find time to do that in the next two days.

We finished up the tour by driving over to the Olympic stadium and seeing the parts of the city that were completely redone for the 1992 Olympics. After that we got lunch, and everyone seemed to decide to go to either the beach or to take a nap. I wanted a bit of a rest before venturing out again, and didn’t particularly fancy getting a sunburn while dipping my toes in the Mediterranean, so I decided to update the lj. . . . and that was several hours ago. Wow, I have an enormous capacity to babble.



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4 responses to “First day in Barcelona

  1. Gaudí
    Who/what is Gaudí? I’m guessing that the correct question is who? Some kind of architect? I guess I need to get out more…I need a dictionary and an encyclopedia to understand my daughter’s lj.
    Were you able to get together with your Australian relatives? If you can, tell them I say “hello”.

    • Re: Gaudí
      Gaudí is an architect who’s done many buildings in Barcelona. His style incorporates many natural elements – well, you can see the pictures, and I’m planning on going to more of his buildings tomorrow, so there should be more pictures.
      Yup, I saw them all today. They say hi to you, though I didn’t get this soon enough to tell you hi from them. I gave them your number and e-mail; I hope that was all right.

  2. ah-HA
    I have just discovered that one can comment on these… Possibly I hadn’t noticed because I was too busy rolling on on the floor laughing hysterically. Catching up on what you’ve been doing makes an excellent stress break. Glad it’s going well!

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