Joe made the observation today that Paris was a trip and Barcelona is a vacation. Basically, Paris kept us on our toes as we tried to see as much stuff as we could for as little as we could and our days were always packed with things to do. In Barcelona we’ve managed to both see some things, but there’s a lot of relaxing going on at the same time, between the beach and parks and eating and drinking and chatting until midnight. Knowing what we know now, we’d probably choose to stay longer in Barcelona.
Yesterday I made sure to bring my cardigan so we could visit the Cathedral. There were plenty of women who were turned away for their bare shoulders. The chapels with their paintings and gold everywhere were probably the most impressive thing. Not so much sculptures and super stained glass windows going on in there. There were goldfish and geese in the cloisters too, that was fun.
After a quick lunch at Big J’s (a 1950’s style American “diner”) we headed over to the Picasso Museum. Interestingly, the museum was founded while Picasso was still alive. A lot of pieces were donated by his good friend, Jaume Sabartés, and later Picasso himself donated stuff. The museum had a lot of his early paintings and drawings, like really early, when he was 12-19. Of course his early stuff isn’t all Cubism and modern funny colors, if you didn’t know better you might not know it was even Picasso. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of his later stuff, the stuff that everyone knows him for. There are however, three rooms dedicated to his study of Velasquez’s Las Meninas. Picasso’s interpretations are very Picasso. To prolong our visit Joe and I played a “What’s your favorite thing in this room” game, and apparently we have very similar tastes.
Since yesterday was actually Thursday (and not the day before like I thought it was), we went to the Font Mágica to see the water show. OH MY GOD. It was so crowded. It was like Fantasmic at Disney World, except the show was way lamer. It really wasn’t very exciting. The fountain did some cool stuff (the water goes pretty high), and there were some pretty lights, but it was too loud to hear the music. And in 3 minutes it was over, only to be repeated for another 2 and a half hours. We watched it cycle through one and a half times then went to Zodiaco (hmm, do you think we like that place?). This time around I ordered a rum and coke (because that seemed the easiest to ask for in a different country), but at €6 each, there was no way I was getting seconds.
Today was our Gaudí day. Antoni Gaudí is an architect known for his modernista buildings. Think surreal architecture with lots of mosaics and no straight lines. Our first stop on or Gaudi tour was Manzana de la Discòrdia, a block with lots of modernista examples, including Gaudí’s Casa Batlló, which my guidebook says may represent St. George’s triumph over the dragon (the buildings heaving roof and scaly skin of mosaic tiles). Yeah, I can buy it. We also made a quick stop at the Sagrada Família, which is Barcelona’s most famous building. There was a lot of construction/ restoration work going on so half of the building was covered and there were big cranes all over the place. Too many tourists…. And, if you ask me, it looks like those sand mounds that you can make by dribbling wet sand in a pile with your hands.
The rest of the afternoon was spent at Park Güell, another Gaudí creation. After viewing the main entrance and the terrace (which is where the hordes of tourists were) we wandered into the park and settled ourselves in the shade to talk for a few hours. Lazy lazy day.
We splurged on our last night at Zodiaco. Multiple drinks, tapas, and an entrée to share (chicken kebab and potato purée, it was REALLY good). Back to cold Paris tomorrow.