After crashing early last night, and missing the huge celebrations with Barcelona FC beating Juventus in the championship final, we were up early to make amends.
After very quick coffee/croissant brekky, we made our way by taxi to Sagrada Familia Basilica, the most famous landmark in Barca, if not Spain. Commissioned in 1883, it is still about 20 years from completion, which seems to be about square with the laid back style around here.
It may not be finished, indeed a lot of it is a massive building site, but this would have to be the most unbelievable place we have ever been in. Words can not do justice to the majestic beauty, the impossible imagination of its creator, Gaudi, and the sheer scope and reach of this Basilica. The colour and light, the volume, the…the…the everything!!
How is it possible for one man to have such vision?
It was probably best described by a visitor from the USA we spoke to as being a happy cathedral, unlike most that are gloomy, and serious.
This place, although full of religious iconography and serious religious intent, is so uplifting as to leave everyone who enters in awe.
I guess you could say we liked this place…
We wandered happily around for a couple of hours, and had to question ourselves a few times about whether we were ready to leave.
Eventually, leave we did via taxi to Park Guell, which was originally designed as a housing estate high up the hill overlooking the city, only problem was only two dwellings were ever built. The land became a great park instead, designed by Gaudi, with all his individual quirks on full display.
It’s famous for the terracotta mosaic tiled seats which follow the curve of the land with spectacular views. Only problem, to actually sit and look you needed to queue up and buy a ticket for said pleasure!
We gazed from afar!!
The park was pretty cool, very steep with little or no grass, lots of grotto’s and more buskers.
Not great, but a pleasant time had.
After a busy morning we indulged in Spain’s favourite afternoon activity….siesta time!
Then more wandering through winding laneways, getting lost, and found…and lost again, before our evening’s activity. Plus a little pre dinner tipple back home!
Yep, you guesed it. Barcelona FC won, and we are now rusted on supporters.
Our evening commitment….a food tour!!
We met our host, Ramain, and the other tourers, two couples from the States and one from the Midlands of the UK, outside La Pedrera (another Gaudi invention) and headed off to eat and drink!
We visited three restaurants, the first two tapas style, and the third a fancy newish fine dining joint.
The highlight was probably the second place which was a tiny, grungy local haunt, which no tourist would probably venture near, but was wonderfully atmospheric. Their specialty was a spiced rosso vermouth, bitter and full of clovers, cinnamon and other exotics. Drunk either straight or with soda, it was strangely addictive!!
The food was great, from tiny portions of marinated eggplant, to ravioli wrapped around cod mousse with dried blood sausage strips.
The company was great, conversation flowed easily…as did the booze!
Anyhow, we ate and drank till after midnight, which is a new PB for Rachael, and didn’t hit the hay till close to one am.
A long day comes to a close, with plenty still to come.