June 9, 2012
The climb up the hill was worth it though – for one thing, we had the hotel to ourselves. The hotel is beautiful, built in the traditional Art Nouveau style. Our bathroom, in black marble and white porcelain, was big enough to hold a small party. We were having breakfast on the terrace when several green-backed parrots came by for their own breakfast. The big spruce trees along the balcony are loaded with cones, and the parrots love them. They use feet and beaks to pull one off, then grip it in one foot while tearing it apart. All the while they and their fellow parrots are calling back and forth – it was really nice.
We spent the day wandering Barcelona. We started with Park Guell, with its whimsical architecture and gardens. Barcelona has one of the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe, and Antoni Gaudi is considered one of the masters. His organic decorative elements and avoidance of straight lines really appeal to Jeanette, and the mosaic tile work is fantastic.
Then it was off to the harbor and the nautical museum. Barcelona has been inhabited for at least 2000 years, in part due to its harbor, so it was already an old city in 1492 when Columbus set sail from this very harbor to eventually stumble across North America.
In the afternoon, we took the funicular train partway up Montjuic (the hill with the Olympic spire), and the cable car up the rest of the way to Montjuic Castle. Yes, another steep hill in Barcelona. The breeze at the top is fantastic though, and the views of Barcelona and the harbor were spectacular.
Eric took a cool panoramic photo of the Barcelona harbor. Click on the image below to see the full image on the MS Photosynth site.
Back down the hill, our final stop was the Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s most ambitious work. It is, in fact, so ambitious that Barcelona is hoping to complete it in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death.
It’s so big ( and in the city, it’s hard to get more than a few hundred feet away without another building obstructing the view ) that it’s hard to capture the whole thing in one image, unless you do it from a distance.
Eric assembled a bunch of pictures into one very high res image that captures the front of the Cathedral. Again, click on the image to see it in MS Photosynth.
There are also some detail images of the Sagrada Famila in the image gallery at the bottom of this post.
We made sure to have dinner before we headed up the hill to the hotel again. We’re having fun with meals: neither of us speaks Spanish, so it’s a bit of an adventure with lots new tastes and styles. Like fried eggs on french fries! We are having a lot of tapas, because the portions are small and you can sample a lot of new things at once. Many restaurants have menus in several languages, although the literal and mis- translations can be pretty funny. Other restaurants get around the problem by using pictures menus. We’ve found everyone to be patient though, and between our very limited Spanish and their English, you can get the job done.
A few more caña on the balcony as the sun set and the city lights brightened: what a great day.