City of amazing architecture
04.02.2011 - 07.02.2011 57 °F
Hola from Barcelona,
We travelled by train from Toulouse France to Barcelona Spain and got checked into the little hotel we had chosen. It was very near a very popular pedestrian walking and shopping center called the Ramblas. Susan became pretty ill shortly after arrival and had to take a day off to recover. I set out the first evening to walk the Ramblas just before night fall and was amazed at what I saw. It was Friday evening and the place was packed with all types off vendors and street performers. I was SO sorry I had left my camera back in the room that first evening. Barcelona takes street performance to an entirely different level. I think we have all seen a hundred of those guys that dress up like a statue and then become animated with a donation of a coin but these guys are amazing. The following Saturday was dedicated early to finding a place to watch the Superbowl. The Hard Rock Café was “the” place according to the ex-pat web sites for Barcelona but after visiting them and asking what the plan was it was pretty obvious that it had not been communicated to the employees. We got a few different stories but we surmised by the divergent stories that all tables had already been reserved and they were going to charge 14 Euro to enter and stand for 4 hours to watch the game…sigh! We were given the name of this small pub that had a feed for the game but did not have a license to stay open past serving time which would mean we would have to leave just after half time. We talked it over and got the owner to agree to just lock us in at closing time and allow us to leave only after the game and then just one at a time to avoid drawing suspicion from whoever controls the liquor licenses in Barcelona. It was great! We were able to watch the entire game on two huge projector screens and after closing we were there with only about 12 other people. The game obviously did NOT go the way we were hoping and because we were in Europe with the European feed we saw these very weak European commercials but it was much better than it would have been at the Hard Rock.
OK...back to the city itself. Once Susan was feeling better and we had recovered from staying up pretty much all night long to watch the game, we had one full day of touring the city. We found Barcelona to be a city of amazingly diverse architecture not only from the well known influences of the modernist architect Antoni Gaudi but from others as well. Let’s get to the pictures!
Our hotel was down a small alley just off the Ramblas and our room was on the 4th floor (this would be the 5th in America as the floor at ground level in Europe is floor 0 not floor 1). Above is a picture from our room looking back toward the Ramblas.
This was a very old pharmacy located on the Ramblas itself and I thought it was very neat looking. Here the pharmacy can prescribe medicine sort of like a doctor.
A very quaint alley seen somewhere on one of our walks.
One of many flower merchants on the Ramblas.
An elderly Spanish man looking like he had worked hard his entire life sitting next to a kid who should be working harder and begging less.
The next five shots are of just some of these street performers I was talking about earlier. There were even more original ones that first evening I went out without my camera. These guys go “all out” when it comes to being original in their costumes and approach. That last picture shows a guy that was amazing. He was supporting his entire body weight through some hidden structure with his cane.
This dragon was on the side of a hotel. I was never able to understand its significance or why it was there other than it looked cool.
This was a monument to Christopher Columbus at the end of the Ramblas near the port. Columbus returned to this port in Barcelona after discovering America in the late 13th century.
A beautiful port authority building in Barcelona.
This pedestrian bridge takes you over to the port area where there are many shops and some of the best seafood we have had on this trip. This bridge and port area were developed when Barcelona hosted the olympics in 1992. We sat at a table right on the water and enjoyed amazing seafood and meat Tapas with a great bottle of Rioja. I’m was liking Spain!
This 33 story building is the Barcelona Water Company building called “Torre Agbar” It does not have accommodations for tours but at night is has 4,500 LED lights of all different colors controlled by a master computer that give some brilliant light shows. You can see video of these on You Tube by searching for Torre Agbar if intersted...it's beautiful at night!
This was the old arena (sorry forgot the name) but it used to be the main place to hold bull fights and has been the location for many concerts over the years such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles as it was the only place in Barcelona to house a large number of people at the time.
The next five pictures were taken of random buildings and things as we were walking around the city that I found interesting. I hope you will also.
These next two pictures are of one of Antonio Gaudi’s buildings called Casa Batllo. Very interesting architecture. Kinda of like Dr. Seuss takes an architecture class.
This is a picture of another work of Antoni Gaudi called Casa Mila.
The next three pictures are of the project Gaudi dedicated his life to called Sagrada Familia. It was started in 1882 and no one is sure when it will be done. Yes! It has been under construction for more than 120 years now. These pictures cannot do justice the complexity of this cathedral building. Every surface seemingly is detailed and decorated with detailed sculptures and images. I frankly can’t imagine how it will be maintained but I have never seen any building as “busy” as this building is anywhere in my life…amazing!
Finally a picture of Barcelona at sunset as we completed a very full day of sightseeing in an amazingly interesting city.
Well that’s it for Barcelona……….From here we litereally hit the road as we will rent a car here and begin to brave the European highway system. We will drive from Barcelona to Florence Italy stopping at several destinations along the South coast of France. Next stop will be Nimes France which we will use as a base to visit Arles, Avignon and Pont du Gard in search of what is supposed to be the area with the most well preserved Roman ruins in Europe.
Until next time ….Chow!