Oh, overnight train… how I despise you! Now that I’ve had it both ways (luxury and budget) I know it just isn’t for me. I’m a light sleeper, and the smallest noise, bright light, different motion, or lack of motion wakes me up, then I can’t get back to sleep. I had 3 very nicer older Spanish ladies sharing my cabin, but they had to get up at 4:30 am to get off the train in Valencia, and no matter how quietly they whispered, it still woke me up, and kept me up. So, I had maybe 3 ½ hours of sleep last night. That doesn’t bode well when you’re hitting a big city like Barcelona and have many, many things to see. Suffice to say I kind of ran out of steam. My hotel is in a really great location just near the Parc de la Ciutadella, the Picasso Museum and about a 10-15 minute walk from La Ramblas. La Ramblas itself didn’t do very much for me, but that market… by now I guess you know I like a good market, and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s called La Boqueria, and it’s just off La Ramblas, you can’t miss it. I have never seen fruit arranged so beautifully in all my life. Now I know why they yell at you for touching-just arranging it is an art! So I had lunch at the market, just some little tapas tasters… I bought some beautiful cherries that didn’t taste nearly as good as they looked, but that’s always the chance you take with fruit (anyone remember that episode of Seinfeld?)
So I continued on my walk up to see one of Gaudi’s masterpiece, La Pedrera (used to be known as Casa Mila). It is an amazing building that was the home of Pere Mila, a wealthy Catalan construction honcho. My favourite part was the rooftop terrace. It’s like a wonderland up there! All of the different shapes, textures and is so whimsical. The views not bad either! Gaudi is clearly influenced by natural elements and organic form, all you have to do is look at his work and you can see how fluid and almost free form it is. Love it, and love him!
Next I walked over to Sagrada Familia Basilica. This is the church that is continually under construction. The construction of this church began in 1882 by Paula del Villar, and was taken over by Gaudi in late 1883. He worked on the church until his death in 1926 knowing he would never see it completed, but having faith that his plans would be followed. The construction is 100% funded by anonymous donors and ticket sales to see the church, so the work is done according to how much money they donated on a month to month basis. It’s just spectacular inside. The outside is interesting, but I’m not sure how much I love it. I like the sort of lumpy, weird side better than the more modern side that has the sculptures by the Spanish artist whose name I can’t remember. Overall, I’m glad I saw it, but I wasn’t totally blown away by it.
Then I met up with Dave, an old high school friend who now lives in Barcelona. We had a great time catching up and talking about old times. It was so nice seeing him again, even though he said I brought the rain from Vancouver (see below) and having a whole conversation in English! Yay for that! I really miss talking to people… I never thought I’d say that! I came home a little tipsy from the margarita’s and a complimentary glass of cava (Spanish bubbly!) So long story short, it was a good day, but I didn’t really feel like I got to the heart of Barcelona because I was just kind of going from place to place and not doing my usual “get lost wandering around” routine that I like to do so much. Tomorrow, I will hopefully find that.