Photographs and Words of Our Trip,
December 24 - 31, 2007
Hope you enjoy the journey and that these photos make you want to make the trip yourself!
|We got inspired to make the trip to Barcelona by our good friends Charlene and Roger, who glowed about it centuries ago! So we socked away a bit of cash, found some vacation time, and booked it. Hope you do too. Our trip was a bit arduous... hours of waiting for the connecting flights from Philly to JFK, then cramped quarters aboard a jet to Barcelona. Then we galumphed huge suitcases up and down innumerable staircases in subway stations (take a bus or taxi). Upon arrival, all stores and restaurants were shut, as friends predicted. So we were hungry for half a day. And that is the end of our complaints. The fun began pronto!|
|These spires are the famous symbol of Barcelona and are a part of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia cathedral. It has been under construction for more than a century, The completion date is expected to be in the 2020's.|
|These are the column tops, or capitals, designed to look like a forest canopy.|
|Sagrada stained glass windows.|
|Scene from the life of Jesus on the apse of the cathedral. This apse was sculpted by Gaudi himself.|
|Finials at the top depict fruit!|
The Ramblas - Barcelona's promenade street
|Here I am at the foot of the Ramblas, near the Mediterranean.|
|This tree lady performer captivated me on the Ramblas, with her other worldly appearance and her moving this glass ball magically from limb to human limb.|
|A closer look. Note the X in the sign behind, common in the Catalan language of this region.|
|Dragon with umbrella and lantern, a famous sight along the Ramblas.|
|At the northern end of Las Ramblas, Catalunya Plaza, a boy feed pigeons.|
|Fun is where you make it!|
|Citrus, a nice restaurant On Catalunya Plaza. We enjoyed shrrmp and hake shishkebob, Tower of Mozzorrella and Tomato, etc., with wine and all before crowds arrived. Our friend Chuck and his wife loved the tapas at the restaurant below. Tapas seems to cost $3 per piece, and it would take about $40 for me to enjoy a full meal... so I indulged in other more affordable excesses this trip! Elsewhere Martha had patatas bravas, a taps treat, sometimes with spicy sauce.|
Guell Park - This is a marvelous parcel of land atop a hill in northern Barcelona.
Gaudi designed it himself and lived there.
|Oranges growing at a fine home within the park.|
|The skyline of Barcelona seen from Guell Park's top.|
|Gaudi designed these wrap-around tiled benches, which are on a plaza|
|Guell Park bench close-up, showing different tiles broken and embedded.|
|This view of the columns above the plaza of benches shows how the entire plaza is supported. Above, you feel that the sandy ground is solid.|
|Mr. Gator or Gila is a well-known tesselated symbol of the park.|
|Gator Guy drools a bit but draws plenty of fans!|
|Gingerbread houses like this abound.|
La Pedrera is an apartment building built for wealthy tenants by Gaudi. It uses stone and cement to create fluid surfaces. Among the most extraordinary features are the rooftop chimneys. which look like helmeted Roman soldiers. Gaudi was harkening back to the Roman colonization of Spain with those figures. We loved traipsing around the rooftop among them, moving on secure catwalk-sidewalks. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery power, so I have little to show you of these awesome chimney statues!
|Each of these chimneys is perhaps 20' tall.|
|La Pedrera aartment building, full view.|
|La Perera entranceway.|
|At La Perdrea, cool chairs designed by Gaudi.|
Casa Batlli, full view. Gaudi designed this fantastic house, which Dali admired. I think it has the most interesting and beautiful exterior of any building in Barcelona. We did not get to see the interior, as it cost about 25 euros to get in, or $35, approximately, per person.
|Casa Batlli, full view. A bit like a Hobbit home, but more artistic-surrealistic, I think.|
|Casa Batlli, window close-up|
Casa Batlli at night by friend Chuck Munroe
Espanya Plaza is an area in the west of Barcelona, in a larger district known as Montjuic.
|In front of the Museum of Catalan Art atop steps compared by our taxi driver to "Rocky's Steps." For Rocky is how much of the world knows of Philly. The Liberty Bell? Declaration of Independence? Discovery of electricity? Fuhgettaboutit!|
|Not Gaudi this time, but Joan Miro. This is a park dedicated to Joan Miro, the sculptor. This was near Plaza de Espanya and B Hotel. An unknown curly-haired , blonde art devotee stands in the foreground.|
|Near Espanya... open doors lead to the living area, European-style No screens needed,|
|Also near Espanya Plaza... fanciful Butterfly motif atop an apartment building.|
|Near Espanya, at Caixa Forum, we saw an exhibit of Chaplin's films and documents. Why see Chaplin in Spain? Why not? The crowd adored his work, and it was a welcomed respite for us... his simplicity, yet complexity in finding universals.|
|The Museum of Catalan Art in the Espanya district|
|Street music scene... these young women and their leader played Renaissance music.|
|Cathedral gargoyles in the Old City|
|Infant riding a dragon, gargoyle (close-up from above)|
|Torre de Aqba, photo by Chuck Munroe|
|We did see and enjoy Flamenco dancing as well as opera at the Palua Nacional de Musica Catalan. It was great! No photos were allowed, but here is a nice Youtube video that gives you a taste of what we saw:|