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Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi




Sagrada Familia
Casa Mila
Catalan Concert Hall
Palau Guell
Block of Discord


Sept. 20 -- Gaudi's Barcelona

We all woke up around 4-4:30 AM. But we all laid in bed and went back to sleep, finally waking up around 8:30 AM. After showering and putting on stinky old clothes (there was no reason to buy spare clothing last night since they told me my bags would reach me last night), we headed out to breakfast and in search of an internet cafe, the price per day of internet in the hotel being 22 Euros.

Fortunately, there's a Starbucks right around the corner (and a McDonald's just down the block). What more could you want?

We headed down to Starbucks, and ordered pastries and coffees. It turned out that there was a free wireless network there, so we were able to surf for free. After downloading e-mail and web pages, we headed on down to la Sagrada Familia, the quintessential Guadi monument.

We walked on foot, through some very pleasant neighborhoods. Wide boulevards, a quiet respite from the noisy Las Ramblas. The weather was beautiful today -- sunny, and 70 degrees. Perfect for a stroll. 45 minutes and a few wrong turns later, we came upon the church.

Pictures do not do it justice. To me, it's one of the most spectacularly unique buildings I've ever seen. The front facade displays the Passion, perhaps controversial because of its break from the Gaudi style, but my favorite part of the church because of its uniqueness. Behind is the nativity which was done by Guadi. You can really see the contrast in the two styles from the two facades.

Kurt and Phil climbed the circular stairs to a walkway that joins two of the four spires on one of the sides. I, however, chickened out. The passageway was too narrow and claustrophobic for my tastes. Instead, I walked inside the church, most of which is still under construction.

After strolling around and taking a few pictures, I sat down to wait and surfed for wireless networks. (Here's where that tiny little Vaio comes in handy!) Alas, there were none to be found.

Leaving the Sagrada Familia, we decided to take the metro to Parc Guell, originally envisioned by Gaudi to be a high-end planned community, but eventually becoming a park. It is here that the famous mosaic lizard lives.

After getting off the metro, we were faced with a very steep street to climb, and lots and lots of stairs. It was much like many a street in San Francisco in terms of steepness. Fortunately, there were escalators at points along the way, and by this time we were glad to take advantage of them.

At the entrance to the park, we climbed up a dirt path, and were rewarded with beautiful vistas of the city below. The paths meandered through the park, looking down on a few mosaic-covered Gaudi buildings. We wandered down to where the Gaudi Museum is, looked at the lizard, and admired some of the other buildings in the area.

From there, we walked back to the metro, and went to the Barri Gothic (the gothic quarter). This is one of the oldest parts of Barcelona, with narrow pedestrian streets, peaceful placas and many fewer people than La Ramblas, which is just a street over.

We sat down at a Tapas place and had a few small plates and some coffee, before heading over to the Catedral, a large gothic church in the middle of the Barri. The church was much like so many of the churches in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Very ornate in the gothic style, with beautiful stained-glass windows and ornate chapels.

After our short visit to the catedral, we strolled on back to the hotel to rest our tired dogs. Wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row does not make for happy feet.

When we returned to our hotel, I was delighted to see that my bags were there. I quickly changed into fresh clothing (aaah) and we rested a bit before going out for dinner.

Heide was supposed to meet us at the hotel for dinner, but she unfortunately couldn't get a cab (she's staying near the water). So we had to go without her. We went to find a restaurant recommended by a friend, but the menu didn't have broad appeal, so we went to a restaurant recommended by Rick (Steves, that is) instead, La Poma. It sits on Las Ramblas and serves basic Italian food, and was pretty good and not too expensive.

At 11:15 PM we returned to our room, ready to retire for the day and start tomorrow afresh and anew.