Basquing in Barcelona*

Barcelona Travel Blog

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Yummy lunch!

*  Ok so I know that Barcelona is not in Basque, but it did make for a catchy title. 

 

I have spent the past few days in Barcelona doing all the touristy things; visiting the Sagrada Familia, walking in the footsteps of Gaudi, listening to Spanish guitar, people watching on La Rambla, eating tapas and going to the local supermarket to collect treats for the evening.  It has been a welcome break from the traveling.  I’ve felt like I’ve been on holiday.

 

When you arrive in Barcelona you can take a taxi or the airport bus (€ 5.

Walking around the streets of Barcelona
05 single journey), or like we did, a local bus and then Metro and at € 2.80 for the entire journey, this was remarkably good value.  The ride from the airport to the city takes a little over an hour and during this time I was reminded often that I was now in a country with more freedom as many of the women wore Daisy Duke shorts and had their hair loose.  It’s an odd sensation seeing the human body again and although I hadn’t seen my own arms and legs for only two weeks, it is strange how quickly you become accustomed to covering up so when you finally see arms and legs you don’t quite know where to look.

 

However, after an hour on the bus the feeling had passed and it was soon to be replaced with sheer joy.  For months I have been traveling around places that are dangerous, not because of any political or religious turmoil, but because of the water.

Posing in front of the Sagrada Familia from Guell Park
  Just the idea of turning on the tap and drinking what came out is enough to give you a bad case of dysentery or gastroenteritis.  But now that I was in Western Europe, where you could drink from the taps, or from the public fountains that were scattered around the city of Barcelona, meant that I could save a little money and the environment by refilling my water bottles.  And then there was the shower.  Singing in the shower meant I didn’t have to be careful if I took in water, and it was so refreshing.

 

For me, one of the highlights of Barcelona was the Sagrada Familia.  I know that when I first saw it, I thought like many others; ‘What a complete shambles.  When are they ever going to finish this?  It makes no sense whatsoever.

Sad time - my shoe broke and I had to walk around with a limp
  It’s hideous’.  Now, having used my sneaky student id card to gain entry at a discount and taken the audio tour (well worth it and thank you Bron for recommending it), I have a deeper understanding of this cathedral and now I think ‘It makes sense, sure it may not be to everyone’s liking, but it certainly is awe inspiring to see what one man’s vision and faith can create.’

 

Completion of the Sagrada Familia is scheduled for 2026 (even though I get the impression it won’t be finished then because of all the scaffolding both in and outside the cathedral).  Each piece of sculpture has a purpose; the Nativity Façade, found on the northeast of the building to face the rising sun and therefore represents the birth of Jesus; the Passion Façade is in the direction of the setting sun to reflect the death of Jesus.

The detailed stained glass windows
  Now each time I look upon my photos I think back to what each portico, each arch and each spire represents.  Now no longer shambolic, it is symbolic. 

 

One of the highlights of visiting this, yet to be completed Basilica, was taking the lift up to the top of one of the spires.  For € 2.50 you can walk around the spires slowly weaving yourself around to the bottom.  Some fantastic views can be enjoyed, but make sure you don’t suffer from vertigo.  It is quite a height above the ground and with the narrow stairwells, and limited signage, I was often left wondering how I was ever going to get out.

 

Time in Barcelona would not be complete without a visit to the Gothic Quarter.  This part of the city received its name from the Romans and remnants of their time here can still be seen in the walls, which surrounded this part of the town centuries ago.

Part of the detail on the Nativity Facade
  A favourite place of mine in this area of town was the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (also known as the Barcelona Cathedral).  Constructed throughout the 13 – 15 centuries, the cathedral is well known for its cloister.  Within this cloister there are 13 geese housed – the age of Eulalia when she was martyred. 

 

The cathedral itself is a very peaceful place and if you arrive at the right time of the day you can save the €5 entry fee.  But in saying this if I had needed to pay, upon reflection I would not have minded as it is a beautifully preserved, still used, peaceful place. 

 

One exciting thing that I have neglected to mention until now is that I was interviewed regarding my views on bull fighting.

Walking down the spiral staircase in the Sagrada Familia
  This event still occurs in Barcelona and is going to the vote soon as to whether it should continue or be outlawed.  I made the local news and this is the second time I have been interviewed for TV while overseas; the first was in South Korea.  Perhaps this is why a lot of people took my photo while in China and Tibet.  Perhaps they had seen me on TV?

 

So the days have been filled with music, sitting under the trees in Guell Park, listening to talented artists who have yet to be discovered, drinking sangria on the hot days, and walking.  Lots and lots of walking, but that is what you do when you’re on holiday … and I have a lot of time with no firm plans.  Furthermore since that I am in the land of Gaudi, I think it only fitting that I alter his famous quote of “But man does not create … he discovers” to fit in more with my experiences here in Barcelona … “[Wo]Man does not just walk … [s]he discovers”. 

Hasta luego from Barcelona

 

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Yummy lunch!
Yummy lunch!
Walking around the streets of Barc…
Walking around the streets of Bar…
Posing in front of the Sagrada Fam…
Posing in front of the Sagrada Fa…
Sad time - my shoe broke and I had…
Sad time - my shoe broke and I ha…
The detailed stained glass windows
The detailed stained glass windows
Part of the detail on the Nativity…
Part of the detail on the Nativit…
Walking down the spiral staircase …
Walking down the spiral staircase…
Crazy Mannequins
Crazy Mannequins
Building designed by Gaudi in Guel…
Building designed by Gaudi in Gue…
The protest of the bullfighting an…
The protest of the bullfighting a…
Me in front of the Barcelona Cathe…
Me in front of the Barcelona Cath…
Barcelona
photo by: fivepointpalm