Thursday, July 4, 2013

Barcelona: Such a Beautiful Horizon

Day 3. I don't know. I think I walked around and went to a fort. Odds are also good that I ate a bunch of tapas.

Then I descended into a museum under the centre city to look at the fantastic Roman ruins.

So, that's about it for Barcelona. It was indeed an excellent city to visit, with great food, and tons of art to see. I even got to go swimming, which is impressive for October. The people who recommended it were bang on the money.

Barcelona: You Took my Breath Away

You can't go to Barcelona without running into the work of the architect, Antoni Gaudí. In design terms, he was definitely at the mad scientist end of the spectrum.

If you wanted something Neo-classical with crisp, straight lines, he was not the guy to ask. He specialised in wonky.  Here are  a couple of apartment blocks he designed.

He also designed a housing park called Park Güell, that was a big flop during his time but now is a little too popular for my liking.

The shapes are like something out of the Flintstones.

I'm not the first person to discover this place.

He also designed a delightful little chapel called the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. The Sagrada Familia is one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen.

It's hard to photograph, because it's so massive it won't fit in the image.

Begun in 1882, it remains incomplete (bloody unions!). Construction was halfway complete in 2010.

For the interior, Gaudi used natural shapes. The light is beautiful.

Barcelona: How Can I Forget?

On day 2 I appear to have roamed the streets of Barcelona with my camera. Sounds like something I would do. Indications are that I then walked around at night and took more photos, which still seems to be in character.

In the time that I've been in the UK, I've asked a lot of people for advice on places to travel. I didn't expect it, but Barcelona has been by far the most recommended city.

The Bank of Spain: Closed

Building Front Covered in Misformed Pottery

Castellfollit de la Roca

Yonks ago, I did a weekend trip to Barcelona. It's long enough ago that I have no memory of what I did there. Let's explore my photos together. I'm hoping I wrestled a bear.

I travelled by Ryanair. Because they cut every cost possible, they often use airports that are outside the cities they purport to be in. I've experienced this on a number of trips, but this one takes the cake. Girona Airport is about 200 kms from Barcelona, by bus.

Since I was nowhere near my destination, I took the opportunity to catch a bus inland to a small town on a basalt outcrop called Castellfollit de la Roca.

Castellfollit de la Roca

From there, I did a hike up onto the surrounding hills to visit an old castle (1070AD) and a religious sanctuary (1105AD).

Castellfollet de la Roca is down to the right

They Lied About the Rain in Spain

It was a fun afternoon. The town was completely dead because it was siesta time, and I didn't see another person for the whole walk.

From there I caught a bus to Barcelona. I had printed out directions for how to get to my apartment from the bus station, but unfortunately there was a massive protest march against the austerity cuts. I had inadvertently arrived in Spain on a day of protests that have their own Wikipedia entry, as 400,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona. These protests were very prominent during my visit. The protestors are called Los Indignados. You can understand their anger. The Spanish economy actually had less debt than Germany before the credit crunch. The collapse was made worse by all the foreign investors who defaulted on building construction in Spain.

The bus dumped me at some random point in the city. A kindly Argentinian librarian on holiday helped me to find a metro station.