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Published: October 25th 2010
We are now well and truly into our Portugal adventure and we are now currently on an intercity train en route to Sintra via Lisbon. However, I again have been very slack and haven’t updated since Madrid. So this is what has happened over the last week.
We arrived in Barcelona last Wednesday and stayed in a lovely apartment in the heart of Barcelona just near the most famous street in Spain ‘Las Ramblas’. That evening we took a long walk this famous strip, which consists of shops and eateries, until we reached the sea. Took some video and photos and we went off to have dinner at our usual Spanish late hour.
Now, I have picked up bad habits mainly after the Intrepid trip and have been sleeping in which of course puts back our exploring until at least midday. On Thursday we endeavored to do one of Lonely Planet’s walking tours around the city and we explored little streets off Las Ramblas and little churches. We didn’t go into Barcelona’s main cathedral because there were too many people but we did go into a gorgeous Gothic church which is where there was a little performance going on. Now it’s hard to explain the type of music this mini orchestra was playing, but it wasn’t strictly classical as there was singing too. The best I could describe is a fusion of robust western classical with Moorish/Arabic/Turkish influences and the singer has this ‘wain’ in their voice. It was lovely and there were this couple of ‘adult contemporary’ dancers which was a bit weird. But cool, unfortunately no cd’s for sale. We happened upon a restaurant along the way back to Las Ramblas where there was a flamenco show every night., and we thought being Friday the next day and that being our last night in Spain we thought we would go. Well, looking it up on the web that night judging by the photos (ok which I know is bad) it didn’t look very good and not very authentic. Very touristy and the dancer looked a bit outdated (meow) and didn’t look too into it anyway.
The next day we ventured to Park Guell, which is where Guell’s good friend Gaudi, Barcelona’s most famous and celebrated architect, built a whole pile of monuments and spaces within the confines of the park. The best I can describe of the couple of houses and spaces is gingerbread houses. Gaudi’s style of architecture has a lot of influences - Moorish, baroque just to name a few. A fierce Catalan nationalist, Gaudi set about creating a unique Catalan style of architecture and came up with what we see around Barcelona today. The queue to see his house was long and we figured it would just be ‘oh and this is where Gaudi slept’ and ‘this is where Gaudi washed his clothes’ kind of thing so we left in order to go to La Sagrada Familia which was Gaudi’s last work and, being in the tradition of Medieval churches (well it’s not medieval but I think that was the effect he was going for) it is still not completed. Lonely Planet recommends this is the thing to see in Barcelona and they weren’t wrong. The pillars within this gothic style church had rigid edges, zigzagging its way around the room. Construction was still going on even within the church itself but the architecture was just outstanding. Below the church was a museum about the construction which started in the late 19th century and events like Gaudi’s unfortunate death and the Spanish civil war (which completely destroyed it) has pushed back completed construction. There was a tower (with a lift) to go up but the line was about 60mins long so we didn’t bother. Another exposition there was about nature and Gaudi, an exposition of Gaudi’s interest and influences by minerals and nature. For example, the way leaves expand and contract, this is an influence that Gaudi incorporated into the construction of pillars and he used this influence in designing the end of the pillar to emulate that of an expanding leaf. Very interesting.
After our afternoon of Gaudi-ising, I went shopping whilst Bill stayed at the apartment. We did more laundry that evening and had a low key dinner and yes had some Sangria and Paella on our last night in España.
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