Lesson: Wear Pants

On Friday, I tried to go to Palau Guell, a palace right off La Rambla that was comissioned by Eusebi Guell, and built by Gaudi.  It is, at least in my opinion, one of his lesser known materpieces.  I went to purchase a ticket, but as I was standing in line it began to rain.  The people at the ticket office told me that as it was raining, the rooftop terrace was closed.  The rooftop is the most well-known part of the building, as it is decorated with a number of beautiful chimneys designed in typical Gaudi fashion.  So I decided that if I could not see the whole palace, I would wait for another day. 

Saturday the sun was shining.  The first thing I did was go back to Palau Guell to get there before the rain came back.  And it was definitely worth the wait.  The whole place was beautiful.  Every room had stained glass windows and gold accents.  Even the ceilings were incredibly intricate with designs to improve acoustics of the building.

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The most impressive part – the reason I waited an extra day to see Palau Guell – was the roof.  Not quite flat – but also not a sloped or pointed roof – the roof took on a wave shape centered around a small tower that had windows INTO WHERE?  Around the roof were a series of chimeys, some decorated in the new style of the time – with bits of ceramic and glass to make a continuous line of color with inlaid discontinuity between each shard – and others simple brick, stacked in shapes to rival those of the other chimneys.  It was incredible.

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After Palau Guell, I went to Plaça Reial for lunch.  There was a small art market in the plaza in which everything was made from recycled material.  After lunch I browsed the market and bought a necklace.

I walked back up La Rambla towards the side street that would take me to La Catedral.  As you walk past La Boqueria, on the tiled path of La Rambla is a piece of street art created by Miró.  There is a single signed tile in the piece.  I walked in circles over the Miró looking for this tile.  Here it is:

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I arrived at La Catedral and got in the line to visit.  When I walked up the stairs to enter the building I was stopped by a security guard and told that shorts are not allowed in the building.  That´s a good lesson for any of you who plan to visit Barcelona:  If you want to visit La Catedral (and you do want to), wear pants.

That was about it for the daily wandering.  In the evening I went to a bookstore to look at travel guides for Andorra, as I am planning a visit there, but I was wholly unsuccessful in understanding guides for another country in Catalan. 

At night, my roommates and I decided to participate in the pride of October – Oktoberfest.  It was an interesting experience.  The thing that surprised me the most about the event was not the incredible amount of beer, but the music.  Much of it was popular American music, and everyone would sing along to songs like Sweet Caroline and Hey Baby, as well as present day pop.  But when a Spanish – that is Spain-Spanish, not necessarily just language-Spanish – song came on, people would get so excited, dancing on tables and screaming excited.  It was all quite the sight to see.

On Sunday, I started my day by walking down La Rambla to the seaside.  At the intersection of La Rambla and Carrer de Colom, a portside street dedicated to Cristopher Columbus, there is an extremely tall statue of Columbus point toward the sea.  I continued my walk down Carrer de Colom toward Via Laietana.  At the intersection of these two streets is a sculpure by Roy Lichtenstein that is said to be an homage to Gaudi. 

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I continued up Via Laietana – today I wore pants, and I was headed for La Catedral.  I went to La Catedral after 5pm, which on Sundays is the time for free entry.  The line was so long!  It continued down the set of stairs leading up to the catherdral and into the plaza below.  So I waited.  And the wait was certainly worth it.  La Catedral is a beautiful gothic building with stained glass windows abound and a rib-vault ceiling that could be admired for hours.  I found myself stuck looking up as I walked, which did not bode well for the people around me.  There are no words to really describe La Catedral, so I present you instead with a photo: 

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And that is just about everything so far.  All I did after La Catedral was finalize some plans for a day hike, and start brainstroming ideas for other trips, but you all will hear about that when the time comes.  For now, I´ve got some major planning to do!

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