Monday, August 6, 2012

Barcelona, August 5, 2012

Please excuse the fact that I don't have a picture attached. My internet stick is very slow...but it does eventually work.

The flight from Toronto to Barcelona was smooth and uneventful. We arrived right on time and after wandering around the airport, we finally found a place to check our bags. It was actually a great set-up and all luggage fit into a big locker for only 5.40E.

After a very civilized twenty minute taxi ride from the airport (30 E) we met my friend Zoe, who was already in line at Antoni Gaudi’s Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. Timing was perfect because she was literally at the front of a very long line.

It cost 48E for our family of four to go into just the basilica part but I thought it was well worth it.

It was awesome, (and I don’t use the word lightly). So unique from most religious buildings. Gaudi preferred to use curves in his architecture and took most of his inspiration from nature and the Spanish countryside. He took over the creation of this wonder in 1883 and even though he passed away in 1926, work still continues on it with an estimated completion date of 2020.

Although we were only there for 45 minutes, I could have easily spent hours. There is so much detail everywhere you look. Inside, it is like being in a Dr. Seuss forest…totally whimsical.

After the long flight, the troops were starving, so we made a quick stop at the ever present McDonalds…seeing as it was only 10am it was too early for tapas and cervesa.

We had no problem grabbing a cab and we made our way to Las Ramblas. Cabs charge an added fee on Sundays. (25E from the basilica to Las Ramblas).

Las Ramblas is a gorgeous pedestrian street bordering on Barri Gotic (old Barcelona). Everywhere you look there is some gorgeous architectural vision to see.

We were delighted to discover that hordes of chatty Quaker Parakeets had taken up residence in the leafy trees along the walkway. These birds are native to Brazil, so are probably relatives of escaped pets.

We passed numerous, sculpted water fountains along the way... each one unique. Exploring many tiny, medieval streets, we made our way to The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St. Eulalia (one of Barcelona’s patron saints). Being Sunday morning we didn’t enter because there was a service going on inside but we did check out the lush, shady cloister that surrounded 13 geese in an enclosed pond.

These geese represent each year of Santa Eulalia’s life before she became a martyr. As with most martyr’s she came to a very grisly (but creative) end when Roman soldiers put her into a barrel lined with pointy knifes and rolled down the street. It’s said that since gothic times, generation after generation of these squawky birds have habituated the cloister.

Strolling the streets for a while longer, we made our way back onto Las Ramblas, ending up at the port. Graham checked out a few of the stalls at the antique market and we said goodbye to Zoe before heading back to the airport for our flight to Cairo.

We definitely have to come back to Barcelona.

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