Barcelona – End of June 2010
The city of Barc(th)elona. Apparently to live in Barcelona there is a stringent lisp test. Pronouncing it Barthelona is standard. I don’t know why, but I went along with it. It’s such a big city! It would be a serious task to try and see everything that the city has to offer, but the only thing you can do on a limited time frame is enjoy what you get while you can. You know, I guess that is true of more than just sight seeing. It’s true of the time frame that everyone lives with. We’ve all a finite number of grains of sand in our hourglass, and ksomeday those sands will stop falling. Not too long ago I can across a saying. “j.k. livin; the j is for just, the k is for keep.” Simple words that I really enjoy.
Anyways, back to Barcelona! I thought I was done with Spanish when I left Peru, but forgot about Spain… Actually they don’t speak Spanish in Barcelona, they speak Catalonian, a sort of spin off of Spanish, but not the same. First stop, the Sangrada Familia, a Roman Catholic church that has been under construction since 1882, under the design of Antoni Gaudi, and is not expected to be completed until 2026, coincidentally the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
Only this year, a portion of the inside of the temple was opened for public tours, and based on what we were able to see inside, it will be something worth going back for in 16 years for the true experience, the way it was envisioned.
Gaudi’s architectural style was extremely influenced by mathematical structures such as hyperboloids and paraboloids, as well as seeking a strong connection with nature. Gaudi was quoted on his view of nature:
Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.
He spent over 10 years planning the Sangrada Familia, with the most famous planning structure being a 1:10 scale model. Not your ordinary model, though, this one was a little different. Gaudi hung chords from where the columns were to be placed, then added small sacks of sand, each weighing one ten thousands (!) of what the arches were to support. Then, taking photographs from different angles and turning them 180 degrees, he was able to determine, based on the lines of tension of the model, what the reciprocal lines of pressure of the compressed structure would be! (there is the engineer coming out)
Being a devout Catholic, he designed it to have 18 towers, 12 for the 12 apostles, 4 for the 4 evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus.
The St. Joseph market, definitely one of my favorite stops in Barcelona (i like food). So much so that I had a return visit the next day.
I’m a photography rebel without a cause. Why no pictures though? If I spoke Spanish I would have asked. Como no photographia? That’s not right…
Imagine the meals you could prepare if you could just hop into a place like this on your way home from work. Pretty busy this day, though, as it was the weekend.
Tell me that these don’t look like the best Muscles ever, because they were.
Cutting some deliciously thing slices of pork from a leg. These wooden contraptions were in most restaurants, providing a stable grip on the leg. Spain is quite famous for it’s curing and aging techniques for ham, with a certain type needing to be cured in the north winds of the Sierra Nevada, at no less that 1200m above sea level!
Now that is a load of seafood. Anything could be found here. I mean anything. Do brains tickle your fancy? How about Ahi tuna fish heads? Skinned goat heads on the soup menu for the evening? Well then stop on by St. Joseph’s Market for all your goat head needs. If I were to try and put up all of the pictures of the weird things that were in this market, you would quit reading a quarter of the way thru. Anyone who wants to see can sit thru the 4166 photos that I’ve taken over the last few months! *Disclaimer, this value does not include what I’ve taken here in Romania and what I will take while in Ireland.
One of the public beaches on the coast of Barcelona, all of which are top’s optional. The sands here were quite coarse, and the water a bit crisp, but on a hot summer day, it definitely hit the spot. I have another story about topless beaches that I’m saving for a later post.
Quite a long way up heading towards Parc Güell, where Gaudi lived. I would not have wanted to make that trip often before the escalators that you see here had been put in.
Tony (Antonio) and I enjoying a stellar view over the city of Barcelona, at the planned sight of the cathedral that was to serve the park.
Tara up top with me, and in the background you can see the massive size of the Sagrada Familia, the second structure from the left. As I said before, this city is unforgiving in its size.
A view of one of many ceiling mosaics underneath the main court of the park, all of which was supported by these columns.
Getting into the music, España style. This guy was playing so fast, that at 1/30th of a second shutter speed (.033 seconds), his fingers were still blurry.
One of the buildings and mosaics of the park. An interesting note about Parc Güell is that it was actually planned to be a 60 home luxury community. Ultimately, only two of the houses were built, but neither of which were designed by Gaudi.
A view up the stairway, where the iconic lizard of the park sits. At the top of the photo, you can see the huge columns from before, supporting the main court above them.
Very cool stairs and door in the “blue house” as I’ve decided to call it.
And finally the lizard I spoke of earlier. You have no idea how hard it was to get a photo without people all over this thing. I think everyone and their brother, sister, grandma, and ex-cousin in law wanted to sit, put their hand on the lizard, and take a picture. I propose a 5 min break every hour, no sitting near the lizard, and let people who don’t want some random person in their picture a chance to get a photo of this piece.
Some more of the intricate mosaic on nearly every surface throughout the park.
From the looks of this bridge, I have no idea how it is still standing. Very cool stone-work none the less.
The Plaza España, near a huge park in central Barcelona. At night there is another fountain that does a cool light & music show. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for this trip, but I hear it is stunning. Maybe if I’m “in the neighborhood” again, ha!
Next post I promise I’ll write about my thoughts and observations over the last weeks. I like showing off pictures, though, so sometimes they get priority.