I kinda dropped the ball on the tourist circuit today. I intended to be first in line for tickets to Sagrada  Familia, Gaudi’s most famous building…a basilica that takes up an entire city block and is currently 100 years in the making. [It is due to be completed in 2026 for the 100th anniversary of his death.] Anyway, I blew that by not getting there until after nine and the line for timed tickets was already around the block. Before Gaudi’s death he commented that people would come from all over the world to see his church which would become the #1 attraction in the city. That is proving to be true. It is an oddly magnetic combination of volcanic eruption meets carnival meets fairy-tale meets grotesque meets religious. Some spires are topped with Carmen Miranda fruit baskets, for example. Worth a Google for sure.

Anyway, I ditched that idea and walked to a combination home and apartment building Gaudi was commissioned to do and is now a USESCO World Heritage Site as well–La Pedrera. I got right in and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. It is 100 years old and weird, wacky, and wonderful like his other commissions. Its undulating front is proof that he was not a fan of straight lines or right angles. Ya don’t find them in nature, so you rarely find them in his work.

By then it was noon and I decided to play like a local and see if the huge department store nearby, El Corte Ingles, had a restaurant. Sure enough, on the top floor overlooking a huge city square. I had the daily special which was grilled fish filet over a bed of potatoes. Very good. Eighteen Euros. I went to an outdoor cafe for coffee and dessert and again, like a local, lingered to rest and read a couple chapters in my book. I can just feel Mary Kay’s and Emily’s approval.

I was tired even though I had hardly done a thing, so I started meandering back to the hotel and totally by chance ran into Palau de la Musica Catalana, a breathtaking 100 year old music hall. An English tour was scheduled in ten minutes. If there is one thing I can’t resist, it’s a tour. WOWza is all I can say. Seats 2,100+ and is decorated in thousands and thousands of shards of broken ceramic. Very beautiful. The architect decided to break from tradition and let light in. Beautiful stained glass windows line both sides of the hall and a huge combo window and light fixture in the form of a sun is on the ceiling. It is a functioning theater today with a full line up of concerts.

All I can say is Barcelona must have been a magnet for surrealist art and architecture at the turn of the 20th century and very open to letting the players of the day have at it. If it’s unusual by today’s standards I can’t imagine how odd it would have seemed back then.

From the theater I continued my stroll back to the hotel stopping to take the occasional picture. I headed straight for the pool for an hour in the sun. After these wonderful few days in and around Barcelona it’s time to pack for our flight tomorrow morning. Dan is pooped so we opted for room service and an early night.


3 thoughts on “Wednesday

  1. You sound like an little historian, very impressive! The Sagrada Familia building sounds really cool and you lunch and the view sounds great—I wish I was there.

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