Tag Archives: barcelona

Pictures and catching up

This is a steampunk submarine I came across in Barcelona while wandering around with my aunt and uncle, the Ictineo II. It’s a reproduction of an original craft from 1862.

The fort/castle that we found at the top of Montjuïc. This building is from ~1850, but apparently there has been a fortification on this hill for hundreds of years.

I decided that I wouldn’t just post pictures of buildings. This is the path we walked to get to and from the fort/castle. It wasn’t all like this, because there was contruction and bit of it were closed and we had to walk on the road. But the nice parts were like this.

I dipped my feet in the Mediterranean Sea . . .

There were several signs of this sort on the beach, along the lines of, “El Salvador de la Playa,” using superhero norms to discourage littering. They amused me. Also, family.

This is the exterior of the Casa Battló, which I went to see on my last day in Barcelona. It was pricer than I expected – I would have brought more money if I’d realized – but after some consideration, I decided that I did want to see it that much, and I would have enough money left over to buy lunch with, barely.

This is the top of the house. I went on the tour, and it was fabulous. It was full of tourists, of course, but I feel that I can only complain so much, given that I am one.

Gaudi was very inspired by nature, and this house in particular by water. There was hardly a straight line in the place, and there were skylights everywhere. There was, in general, a great sense that the house had been designed with care.
My audioguide (part of the admission price) cut out about three rooms in and switched from English to Spanish, but that was okay, even if I lost a few details. Mostly I was just glad that it hadn’t gone to Catalan or French or something else that I don’t understand.

This is the roof. There was a large patio around skylights, and the chimneys had been made into star attractions.

The transition over the front hump of the roof (which was originally a storage chamber for rainwater?). I was on the orange mosaic side.

After that, because I had spent all the money I had on me besides for my lunch money, I walked to the Hospital, which I thought the guide had said was designed by Gaudí, and was free. As soon as I got there, I could tell that it had not been designed by Gaudí – I think the guide must have said that it was designed by one of his contemporaries – but they didn’t charge you an arm and a leg just to wander around.

It was also, without a doubt, the most beautiful hospital I have ever seen. That isn’t, mind you, much of a qualification, since I can’t think of any hospital I’ve seen that wasn’t built like a glorified cube, or something equally boring, but this place looked like somewhere you might actually go to get better. There were a bunch of little buildings connected by pathways and groves of trees (and, I think, passages underground; I saw something that looked like that at one spot, and the paths only contained tourists and sightseeers, or so it seemed to me). I enjoyed it, and then walked back to the hotel. Of course, my feet hurt like crazy, and I didn’t have energy for much of anything else all day, but since we were just getting supper and then getting on a sleeper train to Córdoba, that was okay.

I’ll post about Córdoba later.


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“Mom and dad, what’s going on out there, it sounds like we’re being bombed.”

That was an exerpt from my day, but I should begin at the beginning, go on to the end (or the present moment), and then stop.

After a slow start, I met up with my Australian relatives, who just happened to be in Barcelona this week. I didn’t have any plans for my two remaining days except to see some more Gaudí architecture, and they had already seen the main stuff, so I followed their lead, and we went on a cable car up to Montjuïc. Well, partway up Montjuïc; we didn’t realize that it only took you about halfway up. But by that point we were all starving, so we hiked around a bit and found signs for food, and followed them to Mirador D’alcalde (The Mayor’s Outlook), which smelled like pigeons but was otherwise fine, especially in that it had food that two picky boys found acceptable. At that point we looked at a map and realized that we were nearly at the top of the mountain, so we decided to hike rather than take the other cable car to the top. It was a nice walk, and there was a fort/castle at the top of it. We wandered around a bit, and the boys ran around and scrambled over the WWII-era guns, and the rest of us meandered and took pictures, and after a while we discovered that there was an inside bit and sort-of read the Catalan informational pages (Catalan is the main language spoken here, as opposed to Castilian, the Spanish that I’m learning. Everyone here speaks Castilian too, though). The boys found a cistern, and we looked at that, and by that point it was after 5:00 so we headed back, took the cable car the rest of the way down the mountain, dipped our toes in the Mediterranean (or, in the case of the boys, rather more than our toes).
And we headed back to their apartment, and the boys got showers and pizza, and then the adults of the group went out to a nice tapas place. And it was wonderful; the food was all very good. I tried a bit of the wine because my aunt said that my uncle orders good wine; I disliked it even more than the other wine I tried. There were text messages back and forth with the boys periodically during the dinner, during which we received the “it sounds like we’re being bombed” message. Since we were a block and a half away and hadn’t heard anything remotely like that, we thought that they were overreacting, so my uncle sent them back a message saying that it was just the speakers in the plaza, but that if they were worried or had any problems, they should just tell us and one or all of us would come. Their response – “were okay everythings fine”. Once we go outside we heard loud drums, and discovered that there were street-level fireworks just around the corner. When we got back to the apartment, we discovered that they boys had gotten out their dagger letter-openers.

They of course denied that they had been worried, but when the noise level increased, they told us that it had been even worse than that. On the way back we discovered that there was a fire staff-spinner/breather performing in the plaza. I tried to take some pictures, most of which didn’t come out decently – I really need to figure out how to set the exposure time on that thing.

And now my feet hurt, but I had a good day spent with family, and tomorrow I’m going to look at architecture. We’ll also be taking a train to Córdoba tomorrow night. We’re due to arrive by eight Sunday morning.

Goodnight. Pictures coming later.


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First day in Barcelona

Lots of architecture behind the cut.


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Yesterday: lots of travel and a bit of golfball-sized hail

Well, I didn’t actually see the golfball sized hail. But I was woken up the night before last by something that sounded like the seventy-six trombonists beating on snare drums, and became aware that my roommates were closing the window. I didn’t actually get up to see the hail, but everyone who saw it (including the people who were caught out in it) told me that it was huge (close to the size of golf balls, anyway. Ping pong balls, at least).

We spent yesterday traveling, which was seven or eight hours on the bus. We did stop for lunch at Zaragoza (Saragosa or Tharagotha).

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