Barcelona, Spain (10.22.09 – 10.24.09)

I arrived in Barcelona around 2PM after my overnight journey from Porto to Madrid, and the subsequent journey from Madrid to Barcelona. I got to my hostel without any trouble, checked in and went upstairs. I decided that a shower was in order, and I immediately discovered that I had left my towel in Porto… clever. I still needed a shower, so I took a clean shirt to use to towel off… resourceful? After showering, I took a nap, because I was quite tired after the overnight journey; it’s really tough to sleep well on those trains, well, at least that’s the case when you’re in the chairs rather than the sleeper cabins. After my nap, I woke up and crossed the street to go to the supermarket so that I could buy supplies for dinner: a baguette, a jar of pesto, some cheese, lunchmeat, and coke. I returned to my hostel and cooked the remainder of the packet of pasta that I kept in my bag.
Side note: Carrying around a packet of pasta has been one of the most clever things I have done over the course of my travels so far. Most hostels have kitchens, where you are allowed to cook whatever you like, as long as you clean up after yourself. Pasta and pesto, or pasta and cheese sauce are meals that are so quick and so easy to make for yourself, and most importantly: cheap. And of course these meals taste good too!
After dinner, I returned to my room, where I stayed for the rest of the night, because sometimes, I am a shut-in. I watched Where the Wild Things Are and wished that The Office was already online.
On Friday, I woke up, dressed and made myself lunch with the supplies I had purchased the night prior. I made myself an extra sandwich for dinner, and left, ready to explore the city. First, I went to go and see the Sagrada Familia, the famous Gaudi cathedral. It has been in construction since 1882, and completion is scheduled for 2026. This is considered to be Gaudi’s masterpiece, and although not yet completed, it is awe-inspiring. The cathedral has eighteen thin, spindly towers: twelve for the Twelve Apostles, four for the four Evangelists,  one for the Virgin Mary, and one for Jesus Christ. The Sagrada Familia is so much more than a piece of art or a building… but I think you have to be there, you have to stand in its shadow to feel this.
After seeing the Sagrada Familia, I browsed some souvenir shops and returned to my hostel to drop some things off because my backpack was too heavy. I then got the metro to Las Ramblas, a long road, well known for its large quantity of shops, and a couple of Gaudi buildings. I walked down to La Boqueria Market, which is filled with stalls of vendors selling all sorts of fresh food. From there, I walked further and ended up at the port, where I sat for a while. I looked at my map of Barcelona and realized that I needed to go to Park Güell, so I decided to head there, but on the way, I would walk through the “Gothic District,” the center of which is La Seu, a large Gothic cathedral. After watching some street performers for a few minutes, I headed towards the Diagonal metro station, to take the metro to Vallcarca so I could go to Park Güell. Once I got out of the station, the sun was beginning to set, but kept walking towards the park anyway. I ended up in one of the smaller entrances, and the way to the Gaudi house and sculpture park was totally unclear. As the light was fading, I decided that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to stay any longer, so I turned around and returned to my hostel. Once home, I quickly showered, got ready, and left for the Palau Municipal d’Esports de Badalona, the Olympic Basketball Stadium in Badalona, where I would be attending the Ska-P concert that night!!
The show was incredible! The band had a fantastic energy, and it wasn’t until seeing them live that I realized how politically charged all of their lyrics are. The Spanish LOVE Ska-P, and attendance was literally in the thousands… the most people I’ve seen at a ska show since Ska Summit! I would estimate three to four thousand in attendance… but I don’t know how good I am at estimating crowd size. I couldn’t really sing along, because I don’t speak Spanish, but I knew nearly all of the songs, and had a really fantastic time. The singer changed costumes for about half of the songs, dressing up according to the theme of the song; they really put on one hell of a show. After the show, I went home and went to bed, as I’d decided that I would be getting up early the next morning in order to go to Park Güell before catching the train to Girona, the next stop on my journey.
Come Saturday morning, I woke up, and checked out the hostel, leaving my giant backpack in theit bag room, and out the door I went, heading for Park Güell, once again. I arrived at the same metro stop, but in better light, this time I spotted signs leading the way to the statue park within the larger park. I went to the Gaudi Museum/house, thinking that I had to do so to get admission to the sculpture park, because I could have sworn that that was what I had read online… which apparently was not the case. The museum was but tiny and alrighttttt. Its only appeal was the different items of furniture on display that he had designed; I found the influence of nature on his designs even more apparent in his smaller works. After the museum, I went round the main park, which features a mosaic terrace, two buildings with amazing, ornate roofs, and what I found to be the main attraction, a giant lizard mosaic sculpture. After I felt that I had spent enough time here, I returned to my hostel to grab my bag. I chose to get off one metro stop early, so that I could go by the Sagrada Familia one more time, after which I left for the main train station to head off to Girona, to meet my friend Merce!

1.sagradafamilia

La Sagrada Familia!

2.frontfamilia

The portal sculpture above the entrance on the east side of the Cathedral.

3.market

The entrance to La Boqueria Market

4.makreteggs

Eggs for sale at the market

5.marketlobster

A blue lobster!!

6.marketveg

Vegetables!

7.marketnuts

Nuts!

8.barceport

The port, where I sat and read my map

9.sunsetguell

A view of Barcelona, on the way to Park Güell (attempt 1)

10.guellgaudi

The entrance to Park Güell (attempt 2)

11.gaudilizard

The lizard statue! It’s really lovely; I think it’s my favorite Gaudi piece out of everything I saw.

12.guelltophouse

Strange building at the entrance to the park, number 1

13.guelltopchurc

Strange building at the entrance to the park, number 2

14.guellparktiles

Another sculpture within the park

 

15.topssagrada

Some of the spires of the Sagrada Familia

 

OK. Girona next. I’ve found myself unmotivated to write this past week, but I’d like to get caught up by the weekend. Fingers crossed!

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2 responses to “Barcelona, Spain (10.22.09 – 10.24.09)

  1. If you get caught up in the midst of all your adventures I will be supremely amazed.

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