Sunday, September 30, 2012
A Day in Barcelona
We’re outside, it’s a map, it’s a city guide, but best of all, it’s not raining today. They seem to have many rules about who can give guided tours in cities in Spain, so for our tour of the Gothic Quarter, we got our first dose of English with a strong Spanish accent. At first it was hard to follow what the guide is saying, but as the minutes go by, it got easier to understand at least most of it.
Since everyone except one couple had been on Rick Steves tours before, it wasn’t one of those tours where everyone is tightly clumped to together, and the longer the walk went on, the more pronounced the straggling became. Nygil was like one of those sheep dogs, always keeping a watchful eye and getting the worst of the stragglers back towards the main body.
And then there are interesting things that have everyone paying very close attention. In this case it’s not the building, it’s what is on the building. That’s not a child’s drawing, it’s the only building that has a Picasso on it. As our guide explained, Picasso did not like Franco who was the fascist dictator of Spain, so the design is in subtle ways poking fun at Franco, something we would never have known otherwise. Probably because we do not do guide books very well. As Linda says, she wants to be looking, not reading when we are out.
Now where did that come from? It just goes to prove that not every photo we take is a brilliant piece of composition and a masterful mix of light and shadow. As I was to learn throughout this trip, I have a tendency to push the "take a photo button" before I push the "off button" when I put the camera back in my camera case.
We saw many interesting things during our tour, not the least of which were figures such as these that were for sale in a number of shops. I’ll let you guess what the ones in front represent. The humor of the Spanish people can certainly be interesting.
And just when you think you’ve seen everything, you round a corner and the Sagrada Familia rises up in front of you. Three years ago we had attended Palm Sunday services very near this same spot when we were last in Barcelona. Needless to say, we were excited about being here again, and we joked about once again stopping for a pizza and beer for lunch.
Last time, because of the huge Palm Sunday crowds we did not go inside the Basilica. This year we have been in many of the great cathedrals, but nothing prepared us for the overwhelming sense of awe we felt here. This was what the architects of those medieval structures where trying to attain. There are many books of photos of the inside of the Sagrada Familia, and the really do show what is there. The problem is that to feel what is there you must stand inside and let what your eye sees be transmuted into raw emotion.
The light high above the alter. All was designed by Gaudi. An angel seems to appear within the light. Some say that what Gaudi designed were gaudy. I side with those that say he was a genius far ahead of his time.