Took the bullet train from Madrid to Barcelona, 386 miles in 3 hours. Now that is speedy! Super smooth too. Stayed at an airbnb very close to the Barcelona Football Club stadium, and since they were in the Champions League finals against Juventus (they eventually won), it was a pretty exciting place to stay. Highlights: catching up with a Norwegian friend of mine from the Univ Michigan PhD program who happened to be attending a conference in Barcelona that week, seeing all the Gothic and Gaudi inspired architecture, wandering La Ramblas, and having dinner outside every night. I did a LOT of walking in Barcelona. Also went to the Erotic Art Museum. Ha! Fun fact: did you know that Spanish is not the first language there? It’s Catala, which is a cross between Spanish and French.
The Basilica Santa Maria del Pi, and the venue for a wonderful traditional Spanish guitar concert.
The stage. One thing I love about Europe, all the musical concerts, of all varieties, held in acoustically fascinating churches. No photos during the performance!
Living statues. I’ve seen them all over Europe. They paint themselves up to look exactly like a statue, then hold a pose – seemingly without breathing – until you toss in some money. Then they interact with you. Maybe you’ve seen this genre a lot, but to this local boy it was new.
I couldn’t resist. The Erotic Art Museum was just BECKONING me from La Rambla. And the cross dressing Marilyn Monroe calling to me from the balcony, well I HAD to go it, right? Unfortunately, since this is a family blog, I can’t show you what I saw but let me tell you, it was thorough! Here’s a Picasso they showed, seems SFW enough.
When you’re on a journey like this, in Europe, eating becomes part of the adventure. Here is my Tapas menu…
And here is what I got. It’s hard getting tapas alone, you just can’t order 6 dishes and sample like you can with a dining partner. But I gave it my best effort.
And yes, excellent Spanish wine to go with that meal…In a warm active court.
For the sport minded, I went to football mecca, the FCB stadium. I didn’t go in, seemed like a lot of effort given the crowds, but since I stayed almost across the street, I could hear the crowds roar and fireworks go off when they won a game.
So one of the big deals in Barcelona is a church designed by the artist Gaudi. He was run over by a trolley car in 1920 but they continue to build “his” church, and this is it: Sagrada Familia. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Building and pretty astonishing. Had to get tickets two days ahead.
One of ,many colored stained glass windows.
Main Altar, with Jesus ascending to heaven.
Yellow, gold, blue, red, orange, purple…all colors show up the windows.
Ceiling, looks like vertabrae, right? That’s no accident. Gaudi’s main influence in desing was nature – trees,plants, roots, animal physiology. And much of this work, and other buildings and parks he designed in Barcelona show an almost faithful mimicry of natures shapes.
The organ, or a portion of the pipe part of it.