This dude looks like a lady, and a big one, too!
Today we will be taking it easy, that is, we donâ€™t have Bus TurĂstic tickets anymore, and we will be visiting things on foot today.
Itâ€™s almost eleven when we leave the appartment and we take the usual route to La Rambla. This time, when we get to Barcelonaâ€™s most famous street, we take a right, heading towards Port Vell. The street artists that crowd La Rambla from midday onwards are already setting up shop. The diversity of characters is huge, for starters we see a man dressed up as a really big woman, who is very busy getting male passers-by to hug and cuddle her.
The pirate standing close by doesnâ€™t get as much attention as the big woman does, it must have something to do with sex appeal. Since we have already visited the harbour, we turn back when we reach it, but we take the touristic route back.
One of the narrow streets in the Barri GotĂc, this one leads to PlaĂ§a Reial.
The narrow streets of the gothic quarter are quiet, even though they arenâ€™t even a hundred metres away from La Rambla. I always enjoy strolling through these streets, musing on how things must have been in the old days. Eventually we end up on Placa Reial, now a busy square with lots of tourists relaxing and drinking, but in the seventies of the 20th century it was the territory of drugdealers and prostitutes. It is famous for its modernist lamp posts designed by GaudĂ. From the square a busy street takes us back to La Rambla, very near the spot where we started off. Now we take a right to make our way to PlaĂ§a de Catalunya, where we will be having lunch.
We see an array of street artists making their living here, one even more beautiful than the other. One of them succeeds in seducing me to have my picture taken with her, a beauty contest I am bound to lose. Most artists have a static pose, but they kick into action when someone slips them some money.Iâ€™ve spotted a Hardrock CafĂ© on PlaĂ§a de Catalunya and since hardrock and beyond is my kind of music, I want to have a look inside every single one I encounter. Lunch is a very good excuse. My mom and dad arenâ€™t coming along, because they donâ€™t like whatâ€™s on the menu. The food is great and the music, which is still a bit â€śsoftâ€ť for me is better than Iâ€™ve heard in days. We are taking our time and an hour or so later, my dad shows up, checking on our progress.
PlaĂ§a Reial with GaudĂ's famous lamp posts.
We regroup after lunch and head for another â€śmust seeâ€ť in Barcelona: Casa BatllĂł.
The BatllĂł house is on the Passeig de GrĂ cia and is one of Antoni GaudĂâ€™s most famous works. GaudĂ didnâ€™t build the house, he merely renovated it, setting his unimaginable imagination free, nature being his most important muse: staircase handrails looking like vertibrae and lightsources in the walls looking like a cross-breeding of tortoise-shells and the port-holes of Captain Nemoâ€™s Nautilus. There are virtually no straight lines in the entire building, in a way, nature itself could have created it. The tour with audio guide will take well over 90 minutes and is definately worth your while (and the Euro 13,20 entrance fee, after discount). The house has two light shafts to let in natural light, especially designed to spread the light evenly through the building. Every floor has balconies in the light shafts, the higher the floor the smaller the balconies and the darker blue the tiling, this to avoid taking in too much light. The bottom floors have larger balconies and almost white tiles, this way more light is taken in.
The facade of Casa BatllĂł.
Every door and window has a ventilation system, carved into the wood in organic shapes, that can be opened and shut at will. GaudĂ's theory was: No heating without ventilation. Slowly the tour takes us to the top floor and in the stair well there is a door on every floor, with a brass number on it. Every number is in the handwriting of Antoni GaudĂ, making the house even more "his" than it already was. Finally we get to the roof, that looks like the back of a giant reptile.
The living of the BatllĂł residence.
Weâ€™ve been given all the information we could ask for, but if youâ€™re unlucky (like my dad) you will have to ask for a new audio guide, because your batteries have gone dead. We decide not to go down using the elevator, but to go down as we came up, using the stairs, circling the beautiful elevator shaft.
Once outside we walk back to the appartment, to have some kind of a siĂ«sta.
La Sagrada Familia by night.
In the evening my dad, Trudy and myself go out again for dinner and for a late night visit of La Sagrada Familia to take some night shots. My mother stays, she doesnâ€™t feel up to another late night expedition.
We dine at Tapa Tapa, a restaurant serving only, what a surprise, tapas. For fifteen euros a head we have a very decent meal, readying us for the rest of this tiring evening.
I really enjoy experimenting with my camera and Iâ€™m having a great time taking pictures of the beautifully lit building we walk by.
It is almost ten oâ€™clock when we see La Sagrada Familia ahead of us, but everything is dark and I am afraid that we have come in vain. But as we get closer, at ten pm sharp, the lights slowly power up, setting the building ablaze. I take pictures from afar and from up close until past eleven, before we start walking back.
The roof of Casa BatllĂł by night.
On our way back we see Casa BatllĂł again, bathing in light, colours bright as day.
It is already after midnight when we get back to the appartment again and my mother is already in bed, but she enjoyed her night of peace and quiet, not going anywhere. We take a quick, but necessary shower and then we hit the sack.