Thursday I sent the parents to see La Catedral, Palau de la Musica Catalana, the Picasso Museum, and Mercat de Santa Caterina. After work I met up with them and we just hung out for a bit. We went out to take a walk down Passeig de Gracia. There was a shopping festival going on. All of the streets nearby were lit up, there were stages on the medians, and the stores were all open until midnight. We walked to the corner of Gran Via and Rambla Catalunya for a dinner of tapas. After dinner I took them to my apartment to check it out (and to prove how cold it is). From there we walked back to the hotel up Passeig de Gracia, wandering in and out of stores on the way.
In the morning on Friday we went to the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. I was super excited for this, as I had only been there momentarily once before. The hospital is under renovation, so you need a tour to see it, and you can’t see all of it. It was designed by Domenech i Muntaner, the same architect who did the Palau de la Musica Catalana. The hospital is beautiful. It has so many colors, and looks nothing like any hospital you’d imagine today.
From the hospital, we bused over to the corner of Carrer de Pi i Margall and Carrer de Secretari Coloma. We took the short walk from the corner to my internship office. Before heading into CoworkinGracia, the parents and I walked through the Mercat de l’Estrella, a nearby market where I often buy lunch. We left the market and walked down the street to a fruit and vegetable shop where I picked up some mandarins for the office. We went into CoworkinGracia, where my parents met Maria, the woman for whom I’ve been working and got a tour of the office space. We hung out for about an hour before journeying on to Parc Guell.
There was something frustrating about Parc Guell this time around. It is no longer free. But you don’t have to pay to see the park part of the park, just the monumental zone. The monumental zone is the main attraction though. So due to the confusion of what was included in the paid ticket and what wasn’t, we didn’t see as much of Parc Guell as I would have hoped. (The problem being that once you use your ticket to enter the monumental zone, you cannot exit and reenter.) But we did see the lizard, and unlike the last time I went, you could actually see the lizard, and not just the 6000 people touching him for pictures.
After Parc Guell the parents were tired, so we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. My Dad and I walked from the hotel down to Plaça Catalunya to a Castanyer stand. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Castanyers are people who sell roasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes on the sidewalks during the colder seasons. We picked up three sweet potatoes and brought them back to the hotel. The three of us chowed down on our potatoes, and rested, waiting for the time to pass until we would head out again.
Around 7:00pm we left the hotel for the metro station. We took the metro to Plaça d’Espanya and walked up the avenue to the Font Magica (the Magic Fountain). This time, we were sure there was a show. We stayed at the fountain and watched two fifteen minute shows. The first was mostly classical music, and slow changes in the shapes and colors of the water, while the second show was mostly pop music with faster fountain choreography. After the fountain, we went for dinner on Passeig de Gracia before heading off to bed.
Saturday was a fairly slow day. The weather was cold and windy, and in the morning it threatened to rain. We were all very tired, and the gray sky didn’t help. Thankfully as the day progressed, it got sunnier out. We took the train – the train, not the metro – from Diagonal to Sarria, a stop in the region of Barcelona known as Sarria-Sant Gervasi. We were on a hunt for Torre Bellesguard, a property designed by Gaudi. Although I am a lover of Gaudi (I mean, who isn’t?), I had never heard of this place. It was quite difficult to find, and after asking for directions from a few passersby, we resorted to google maps. Thankfully, we finally found it. As we approached it became very clear that the building in front of us was a Gaudi. It just fit the description so well.
The Torre Bellesguard was totally worth the trek. It was absolutely incredible. The building is a residence built on medieval/Roman ruins, modeled after the structure of the medieval building that once good on the property. It is one of the few designs in which Gaudi applies straight lines, contrary to his well-known belief that straight lines should not be used as they do not appear in nature.
After Torre Bellesguard, the plan was to go to Pedralbes, another area in Sarria-Sant Gervasi. In Pedralbes there is a beautiful monastery (See Reial Monestir de Pedralbes in previous posts) as well as Finca Guell, another Gaudi, of which you can only view the porter’s house and entrance gate (still, see previous posts). But we were all feeling quite a bit tired and very hungry, so we headed back the direction of the Plaça Catalunya. The plan was to go to Mercat de Santa Caterina for lunch, as I had never seen the market when it was open. On the way, we walked by Palau de la Musica Catalana, as when my parents went there for a visit, they missed seeing the building façade. After pictures were taken, we marched on.
The mercat was shutting down, which turned out to be okay, because we all decided we were a little tired of typical Spanish/Catalan cuisine. Instead, we got Mexican food. That was a fantastic decision. After two and a half months of my minuscule amount of cooking and eating otherwise Spanish food, I was ready for a change. After lunch we all rested for a while. I brought my parents a few of my belongings to take home with them to make my packing easier. But that was about it.
Later that night we went out for a snack and some sangria. My parents walked me to the corner of my block and we said goodbye/see you in two weeks (that’s when I’ll be back in the States). And that was the end of their visit, and my one week trial as a tour guide.