What? That’s how they say it!
Yesterday started off pretty horribly. First, my roommates decided to get up at 6:30am, make noise, and turn the lights on. (only to still be found here at 9am when the rest of us got out of bed…not cool.) I looked at my phone to see what time it was, but none of the updates on my phone caught my eye. And it was 6:24am, so I just wanted to go back to sleep. Two other roommates were packing up, so I woke up to that shortly before 8am (on a day I planned to sleep in). I looked at my phone again for the time when I saw an update about Selig’s response to Oscar Taveras’ accident. I thought, oh no, is Oscar hurt? I quickly clicked into Bleacher Report where the first thing I saw was “Taveras Remembered.” I was shocked. I read what I could, I saw friends’ posts on FB (which, thank you!), and I texted my brother (my dad does not have an iphone, so I couldn’t text him).
Anyway, I was slow to get up and get going, but then I made my way to La Sagrada Familia, probably the top attraction I wanted to see in Barcelona. And the line was ridiculous. I was (silently) bemoaning the line when an employee came down the line telling people that the next admission wasn’t until 2:30 (it was 11am), so we could stay in line and get tickets for that or we could go and buy tickets online. I left. I came back to my hostel and got tickets for today and then decided on a plan B.
That consisted of trying to find H&Ms (I have two coupons that Liz and I got in Madrid and there were ballet flats I desperately wanted…to no avail. They had the colors and my size in Lisbon, but I wanted to wait and use the coupon and now Barcelona has been a bust…but I’m holding out hope for Marseille) and do the La Rambla de Cataluyna.
What a great decision! It was gorgeous out and I had a great time. La Rambla is a pedestrian walkway (with cars on either side) and shops and restaurants flanking it. Toward the middle is a market called La Boqueria. It was amazing. So many vendors selling so many things!! I first just walked through the market, trying not to buy any food or anything. But I have been so lacking in fruits and there were loads of fruit vendors, that I couldn’t resist. I bought a large cup of sliced fruit. It was called the Macedonia mix and it was tasty. Then I bought some fresh coconut, which wasn’t as great. Oh well. Aside from fruits and veggies, people were selling all different kinds of meats, spices, chocolate, dried fruit, wine, and eggs. Then there are the restaurants. There were several. I decided to partake in a slice of pizza and some fried shrimp and some tuna thing. It was not good, but I tried it. I can’t even describe it and I don’t remember the Spanish name (I went blind into that one…trying something new!). I spent quite a bit of time there before selecting 4 chocolates, which amounted to 6 euros (yikes!), and a half-cup of fruit. (I really felt like I needed fruit!)
I finished walking La Rambla and saw the Christopher Columbus statue at the end. It was enormous. They really love him over here. Not like at home. I loved it! I then found a bench and just sat for a bit to relax. As I walked back up La Rambla, I found some wifi (thank you, Apple Store) and found out that my friend Jersey who is in town for a conference had time to hang out. So I met up with him and we walked around and ended up having a drink at the same restaurant that Liz and I found in Madrid and I that I went to in Seville. I think I’m a regular now. It was so great to recognize something! We had an awesome time hanging out, as he lives in Seattle, so we hardly ever get to see one another. And how random that we both happened to be in Barcelona the same week?!?!
Then I came back to the hostel and ate dinner here. I was planning on just resting a bit and going out to find something, but that just wasn’t happening. I also tried for an early bedtime, but that didn’t really happen either. Thankfully I wasn’t woken up until 8am this morning, but still. It’s Spain. I don’t know what you think you are going to do at 8am. Nothing is open. Whatever.
I got up and went to Barri Gotic, the Gothic neighborhood in Barcelona. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to just wander the neighborhood (maybe tomorrow), but I did go to the Catedral de Barcelona. The Gothic Cathedral. Outside of the Cathedral was Mercat Gotic. Basically an antique flea market. It was very interesting and I almost made some purchases, but a lot of it was too expensive.
So I went into the Cathedral and, again, it was quite beautiful. I especially love the main altar pieces. They are so beautiful and so ornate. I just love the architecture of these buildings and the artwork inside of them. In this church, you could take the elevator to the roof. They were doing construction (restoration), but it was a neat view of the city and the bell towers. But one of the coolest things about this church was an outside courtyard area that was only accessible from inside the church. There were lovely fountains, trees, and outdoor chapels. And geese. Lots of geese. So random! They were cute little guys and I got some great photos of them!
I spent so long in the church that I knew I had to go get lunch before my entrance to La Sagrada Familia (LSF), so I went to the Hard Rock Café. Because come on. I had to go there once on this trip! I then found the store C&A that I had found earlier on the trip and loved. Not as much luck this time. And I went to Sephora, as I’m trying to find a new makeup brush, but I think they have different brushes in Europe. Then I finally made my way back to LSF.
LSF is a church that began construction in 1882. The original architect left in 1883 and Antoni Gaudi took over. He worked on the plans and construction until his death in 1926. The church is still not finished! It has been worked on almost constantly, though there was a break during the Spanish Civil War and portions of the church were badly damaged during the war. After his death, his proteges took over and work continues. It was finally entirely roofed just before 2010, at which time Pope Benedict consecrated the church as a Basilica. They anticipate the church to be done between 2020-2040. That seems so far away, but 2020 is just over 5 years away. I have a feeling it will be closer to 2040. I definitely want to come back once it’s finished.
I want to come back because it is absolutely magnificent now, so I can’t even imagine what it will look like once it’s finished. The style is neo-Gothic and I think the outside and inside are very different from one another. Or at least I did not expect the inside to look as it did. The outside is very ornate. There are so many details carved into the stone that it’s impossible to notice them all. There are three facades: the Passion façade at the front, the Nativity façade at the rear, and the Glory façade on one of the sides. Gaudi completed almost all of the Nativity façade before his death. It is mostly all tannish colored stone, but then you notice there are some things in color (I noticed a lot with the help of the audio guide). There is a tree of life as part of the Nativity façade, but it is very high up. I went up in he towers on that side and it was right next to me as I looked out one of the windows on the way down.
The inside. It is very light and colorful. While it wasn’t what I was expecting, it was absolutely stunning. The stone is all a light grey and there are a lot of stained glass windows. The stained glass is very modern, as Gaudi was part of the Modernista movement. (I don’t usually like Modern Art and things like that, but I absolutely loved this church.) The stained glass was almost entirely red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. But it wasn’t depictions like you see in older churches. It was just abstract colors (from what I recall), but there were words or names in some of them. The large pillars were all meant to look like trees and they had branches at the ceiling (or just under). There were even palm fronds that were covering joints and things. Gaudi very much loved nature, so that played a huge element in this church. It is very hard to describe without seeing it, though. It was just so lovely.
After that I was beat (blister count: 7 toes and one heel…ugh), so I came back to my hostel to nap. I caught up on some internet and then laid down. Unfortunately, two minutes after I arrived back at the hostel two of my roommates did as well. Foiled. I put headphones in and tried to sleep, but at that point I couldn’t, so I just laid down for 45 mins. Then I went for dinner…I found a salad bar restaurant. Perfect!! Fruits yesterday, veggies today!
I leave Barcelona tomorrow, but not until late afternoon. So I really have an extra day that I hadn’t planned on having (which allowed me to be more laid back in my sightseeing, which was nice). I will go down to the water and officially put my feet in the Mediterranean, check out Olympic stadium (if I can…I really wished I had seen all Olympic stadiums?…stadia?…in the cities I visisted. Oh well.) I think I am also going to relax at Starbucks. I haven’t had that in almost 2 weeks! Then it’s off to Marseille!