Gaudi in Barcelona
Barcelona Travel Blog› entry 21 of 27 › view all entries
The last day in Spain for Jeff and I. Tonight we fly to Rome. Tomorrow, his parents fly to Copenhagen. Time to hit the last of the sights we want to see.
Everyone is letting me set the agenda for the day, which makes me a little uneasy. All that responsibility! But, hey, if that's the way it's going to go.....
First stop, check out of the hotel and shuttle to the airport to stick our backpacks in left luggage. Then, meet up with Ann and Rich and grab the hotel shuttle to downtown.
I desperately want to see some of the architecture of Gaudi, of which Barcelona is so well known. So our first stop is the church Sagrada Familla.
This church is famous yet it's only maybe 3/4 built.
Ah. If you've ever been part of a church building project (and if you've ever been part of a church, you've been part of a church building project!), you know how impossible that statement -- they're funding it themselves with donations -- sounds.
The sanctuary is a big part of what is not done. Yet, I was floored by what has been done. The exterior is amazing in the imagery and imagination. It seems like there isn't an inch of that hasn't been carefully thought out for design and inspiration. Clearly, Gaudi was not only a brilliant designer but also a deeply spiritual man.
Nothing is "standard" in church design and that impresses the hell out of me. Everything was thought out from the ground up. The steeples, the doors, the walls, the ceilings, the lighting, the perspective. All to tell the story of the Gospels and the faith.
I loved it. If they finish it in my lifetime and I am physically able, I will go back. If they finish in 25 years.....hmmmmm....I'll be 71. If I take care of myself, I will still be able to go back to Spain. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Seeing what they've done with the outside, I can't wait to see what they do with the insides.
Quick lunch (yummy!) and off to Parc Guell.
After a short stroll, Jeff and Rich decided to do a little international loitering of their own while Ann and I wandered the park. I love having my mother-in-law all to myself. We chatter happily and get distracted and look at the pretty flowers. It was delightful.
It's also quite a big park. Each turn took us to a new level it seems. We found a little sidewalk market going -- earrings and other arty little things -- and neat seating on the top of the entrance pavilion.
When we re-connected with they guys, Jeff suggested that while Gaudi was great, he'd maybe had enough of him for one day. Since no one else could think of anything they wanted to do, we headed back to the Ramblas for drinks on a nearby plaza.
Chatted it up. Had some (soft) drinks. I grabbed an ice cream from a nearby shop. :) Caught the bus back to the airport. Ann and Rich had originally intended to stay downtown for dinner but decided to go back with us since it looked like rain. We shared our good-byes at the airport, where they headed back to the hotel and we retrieved our luggage and checked in.
Now, one of the interesting things about this trip has been travelling with a sword.
Most of the train security just asked Jeff to confirm what it was (though one asked for his passport and recorded the info, in case he ran amok on the train with it I suppose) (even though the blade is intentionally dull). Airline security is usually fine with it when we make it clear we intend for it to be checked.
However, Iberria Air was a little flummoxed by it in Barcelona. They asked Jeff to accompany them Behind The Counter (who ever gets to go behind the counter??!!??) to show it to....I don't know, the head of security?
The upshot? We checked it as we usually do.
Our flight was 1.5 hours late, so we ended up arriving in Rome about 11:30 rather than 10 pm. The B&B had arranged for someone to pick us up and the poor guy had been waiting for about 2 hours for us. Needless to say, he was quick about getting us into the van and into town. We swung by a restaurant and picked up another guy, who delivered us to the B&B.
Ines B&B (named for the guy -- Alfredo's -- wife) is actually an apartment in a big apartment building. The building is directly across the street from the butt end of the main train station. You can't ask for a better location for transportation. The neighborhood is, apparently, full of immigrants, especially Chinese and African. Lots of men standing around in small knots and just watching the world go by, which made me a little uneasy.
The building and its lobby look a little grim. The elevator is 2 feet deep and 5 feet wide, which is an interesting fit with backpacks!
The apartment, however, is a delight! Such a find! Two bedrooms, one kitchen, on bathroom. Our room was large and pretty and comfortable (and air-conditioned!). The other room was occupied by a guy we never saw. Sweet deal!
Plus, we found it through www.laterooms.com (a great website!!) and it was only about 80 euros a night. The breakfast was "help yourself" in the kitchen or some danishes in your room. Eh, I'm not a big breakfast eater, so that's fine with me. Especially once I discovered they had cocopuffs in the kitchen....
Plus, Alfredo has a restaurant -- Alfredo's -- about 3 blocks away and a dinner there was included with the price. I seriously recommend this place.
We fell asleep quickly.
Via Giolitti, 199 , roma 00185
Principe Amedeo 126, roma