Barcelona has it all
Wednesday 14 Sep 11 - Wednesday 14 Sep 11 30 °C
On Wednesday morning I’d organised to have a conversation with Nana in Melbourne on skype – not only had we not talked for months, but I was visiting her home town of Mannheim in a few days and I wanted some tips. We had a nice chat, but it was time for me to get going.
I walked to the Barcelona Cathedral, the main cathedral in town, and more of a traditional church than the amazing Sagrada Familia. It certainly had a few nice touches, though, such as a courtyard garden with a small pond inhabited by ducks, all in the confines of the building. There were some brilliant chapels and some magnificent stained glass stuff, as usual.
After grabbing some lunch I made my way to the Picasso Museum. There was a bit of a queue, but it stretched down an old narrow, shaded road, and it was a great place to stop and stare for a bit.
The museum itself was pretty good, too. I’d never realised that Picasso had started his art career so young – he was producing ridiculously amazing works as a fourteen-year-old, and then moved more or less permanently to Paris when he was just twenty-three, where he really took off. There were sketches from his childhood that showed his prodigious talent even from his teenage years.
There was also an exhibition about Paris as a centre for artists, which was pretty good, with Van Goghs and Matisses spread amongst other impressive works.
I cruised along the busy tourist strip, The Ramblas, with its street entertainers and souvenir shops, then took shelter from the heat at the Palau Güell, the former home (or palace) of the upper class Güell family, and now a museum.
The main point of interest was, once again, Gaudi’s architecture, as it was his first major work. He seemed to have distorted and manipulated everything, from benches to windows to roofs, and yet it looked so natural. The parabolic arches were completely different to anything I’ve seen; everything just seems so unique.
And then there’s the magnificent organ, with a fold out chapel next door, and the hilarious-looking chimneys on the roof. A brilliant building.
But after spending so long in the UK, the heat was taking its toll, so I had a bit of a rest back in my room before heading out for the evening. It was my last evening, too, and I hadn’t even been to the beach, so I walked over to the nearby fishing village, Barceloneta, with its grand harbour and pristine sandy shore, and touched Mediterranean waters for the first time since our Israel trip.
Kicking the sand out of my shoes, I walked back towards the hotel, picking up a falafel on the way.