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Barcelona Spring 2007
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
J and Ilaria airplane
Once again, Ilaria and I saved money, by taking a little mini-vacation in a cheaper destination rather than flying directly to Italy. Spring time flights to Italy were pushing $1500.
 
airplane wing
But flights to Madrid on Iberia were around $800.
 
madrid airport
So at 7AM our short 5hr 45min flight from Boston to Madrid was complete. Here's the beautiful new airplane terminal in Madrid. We didn't stay here long though. We slept on a bench for a few hours and somehow magically woke up just in time to go catch our Vueling flight to Barcelona.
 
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We arrived at our cheap, but nice, hotel in the early afternoon.
 
J hotel bridge
Interestingly, the hotel was a hollow circle on the inside
 
hotel bridge barcelona
with a bridge stretched across the diameter.
 
hotel bridge barcelona  2
The hotel was on the third floor, and there was a microscopic old elevator to get there (Ilaria and I barely fit in there with our suitcases).
 
barcelona hotel
Our room was small but clean.
 
barcelona hotel window
And we had a pretty nice view from the window.
 
barcelona hotel bathroom
The only small problem was that holder for the shower head in the bathroom was broken. But neverfear, Iberia gave us free socks to wear on the airplane.
 
sock fix shower
A single sock is all MacGyver J needed to fix the showerhead in place.
 
sock fix shower 2
I'm sure it's still holding to this day (the sock might be a little musty by now though!)
 
barcelona drawings
Here's the best thing I saw in Barcelona. It was actually one of the first things I saw. These drawings are great.
 
IMG  4540
Here's the wrapped-up Catedral Basílica de Barcelona. I've certainly seen a lot of wrapped-up churches in Europe.
 
ilaria barcelona
One of Barcelona's trademarks are the buildings of the Art Nouveau architect Antoni Gaudí. So Ilaria and I put quite a lot of effort and leg work into finding the buildings he has scattered across Barcelona.
 
palau guell
Our first Gaudí building, Palau Güell, was a palace he designed for Eusebi Güell. Unfortunately, it was undergoing renovation.
 
palau guell roof
But you can still see the influence of Gaudí on the roof.
 
la rambla
We then headed up La Rambla, the most famous (and crowded) street in Barcelona.
 
J thinking
I stopped for a minute to ponder life on the way to seeing
 
casa amatller batllo
Casa Amatller (left) and Casa Batlló. We didn't have enough time to go inside. But next time, we definitely will set aside time to tour the inside.
 
gaudi Pana 2
Unfortunately, the sun was on the other side of the street so the photos aren't the best.
 
casa mila
However, the sun was shining on Casa Milà across the street.

I can see why people didn't like these buildings in the 1800s when they were built. They were way ahead of their time. But now, people can really appreciate how unique and beautiful they are.
 
ilaria with map
Ilaria, map-girl, Mogno
 
ilaria kiss j
still likes traveling with MacGyver J
 
IMG  4582
Next we entered a square
 
barcelona beer caps
where old men
 
barcelona beer caps 2
were trading beer caps. I used to always get in trouble for not throwing those away. I didn't know I could actually trade them for stuff.
 
IMG  4585
In this square,
 
J bocadillo
there was a mysterious man eating one of many bocadillos he would have during his stay in Spain.
 
tango barcelona
The square also contained two tango dancers, which we watched while thinking about Boris and Anna.
 
sagrada familia front
We headed off to see Sagrada Família - the most famous building by Gaudí.
 
sagrada familia front 2
Gaudí was hit by a tram in Barcelona, dying before seeing the completion of the church he wanted so much to build. I think I'll dye before it's finished too. I was here in 2000, and it doesn't seem that much has changed since then. The projected completion date is 2026, 140 years after the start. If Boston's big dig is any metric to go by, the building will be complete sometime around 2300?
 
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Around the church the old guys were playin some bocce
 
IMG  4600
and cards.
 
kfc barcelona
And what architectural masterwork would be complete without a nearby KFC
 
IMG  4604
and McDonald's?
 
IMG  4606
We walked around to have a look
 
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from the otherside.
 
ping pong barcelona
I also saw outdoor, public ping-pong for the first time.
 
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Gaudí worked on this church for around 55 years, using mostly his own creativity and on-the-fly ideas.
 
sagrada Pana 1
Therefore, he made few plans for how to complete the building and they've been winging it ever since.
 
park guell
We took the subway from the church to Parc Güell.
 
park guell 2
Parc Güell is on a hill that looks down upon the city. It was designed by Gaudí.
 
park guell Ilaria
To get up to the park we had to ride
 
park guell J
a lot of escalators.
 
cactus barcelona
Once we got to the park, we walked by some nice cactus plants
 
parc guell cross
on our way to the top of the hill. Ilaria got a little afraid near the top.
 
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It did look pretty easy to fall. And you run out of hand rail when you get to the very top (this is when Ilaria decided to come back down).
 
IMG  4636
But it gave a nice view of
 
barcelona from hill
Barcelona. You can really see Sagrada Família nicely from here.
 
IMG  4643
I took ten pictures of this house. But I'm only going to make you look at one of them.
 
communists barcelona
Here's a communist (anarchist?) occupied house with an occupying communist girl in her underwear. I don't think their sign is terribly relevant. We don't shoot tomatoes during tomato season. We don't shot baseballs during baseball season.

Comrades, please make a better sign before I next return to Barcelona.
 
IMG  4651
Here's the main part of the park, where we found many tourists,
 
tropical bird barcelona
a tropical bird,
 
poop sign barcelona
and an interesting sign. (dogs in Barcelona are very good at stacking their poop into these nice triangles for their owners).
 
casa vicens
After the park, we took a fairly long walk to Casa Vicens.
 
casa vicens 2
Casa Vicens was the last Gaudí building we visited. There were very few tourists here. This house is a personal residence. That's one heck of a big house to live in.
 
miro sculpture
We took the funicular (a subway-thing that goes up steep hills) to Fundació Miró.
 
miro sculpture ilaria
The Miró paintings inside spanned the artist's entire life (not just this typically Miró stuff). Sorry no pictures. So I took a picture of a sculpture on the roof.
 
ilaria miro roof
Then Ilaria and I took a walk in a random neighborhood where there were no tourists. My favorite part of the Barcelona trip.
 
barcelona park no grass
It was during this time as we passed many parks for the local children
 
barcelona park 2 no grass
when I realized that parks in Barcelona have no grass.
 
barcelona market
Barcelona had tons of these markets where everyone was selling the same thing: random crap.
 
IMG  4683
We walked down towards the beach
 
columbus barcelona
passing Christopher Columbus along the way.
 
columbus barcelona 2
He pointed us on our way to
 
barcelona beach
the Barcelona beaches. I really like that statue on the beach.

Now let's take a moment to transition here. Let's imagine we are gothic people. That is we're those people that dress up in black all of the time, avoiding too much contact with society, dancing in that gothic kinda way, devoting our lives to
 
gothic bubbles
well, the creation of giant bubbles.
 
gothic bubbles 2
I have seen stranger things in my life.
 
gothic bubbles 3
But not too many. Children would run up and play with their giant bubbles.
 
gothic bubbles 4
But they remained true to their gothic bubble code, focusing solely on the creation of the largest bubble possible, without so much as a peep or a smile at the little people enjoying their craft. Now that's true devotion to your calling.
 
chocolate shop barcelona
My calling in Barcelona was this chocolate store. It kept calling me, and I'd answer and buy some dark chocolate with hazelnuts or rice inside. Wish I had some now. Very good.
 
IMG  4708
Barcelona has a strange smell too it. Something about the way the city is laid out makes it smell a little like a musty rag - kinda like Venezia, but Venezia has an excuse. Well these guys dressed in green spend their days shooting water out of firehouses to clean the streets. Are they creating or removing that smell?
 
placa catalunya
Someone tried to rob me the last time I sat in Plaça Catalunya. This trip I remained standing.
 
trash sculpture
On our last day in Barcelona,
 
trash sculpture 2
as we were preparing to leave
 
trash sculpture 3
we had the pleasure of ending up in
 
trash sculpture 4
trash sculpture land.
 
trash sculpture 5
we liked it there, but we couldn't stay long,
 
ilaria J trash sculpture
so we caught a no-airconditioned no-open-window bus inferno to the Barcelona airport.
 
barcelona Pana 1
Goodbye Barcelona.