Barcelona

We didn’t learn much Catalan in Barcelona, but everyone speaks Spanish and most speak English, so it worked out. We stayed in the newer area that was built in the last century, but the Gothic area has a wall and churches and some homes that date to the 1300’s. Antoni Gaudí and Salvador Dali are both from Cataluña, and Pablo Picasso was born down the coast, closer to Africa. So maybe there’s something in the water there that creates weird, artistic geniuses. Three days isn’t nearly enough time to get to know Barcelona, but we got to see some beautiful, strange architecture and learn a bit about the city on our own and with two tour guides – Fernando, who took our group through Gaudi’s basilica, Sagrada Familia, under construction since 1882; and Nicolas, a Venezuelan architect-cum-Spanish tour guide who took the kids and me on a sweets/chocolate tour through the Gothic quarter.
Our apartment/hotel was only a block from a stunning hospital complex, Sant Pau, completed in 1930, I think, and now used as a museum and offices for non-profit organizations. There are many buildings connected by underground tunnels. Laurel was so awestruck at the magnificence she said, “Damn. I’d break my leg myself [to be admitted there].”
While in Barcelona we also saw a great flamenco show and Gaudi’s Casa Batllo which looks like a dragon and Park Guell which has more Gaudí buildings and some buildings and harbor associated with the 1992 Olympics; and we ate paella and churros, and I drank sangria and cava (Spanish champagne). Yesterday (Saturday) after the self-guided tour of Sant Pau but before the chocolate tour and the two-hour flight to Lisbon, we took a subway, a bus (The funicular is closed indefinitely.) and a cable car/Teleferic to the top of a hill where there’s a castle/fortress and a great view. The photo of the three of us that I took on the hilltop is supposed to have a view of Barcelona behind us, but the lighting didn’t work out.
One of the photos taken on our chocolate tour shows a display case with figurines, mostly of famous people, squatting to poop. Nicolas explained…Until recently, Spain didn’t have Santa Claus; they had the anthropomorphic pooping log that poops presents for kids on Christmas. Kids hit it like a piñata after singing a threatening song to it to give them good gifts. I swear I’m not making this up. Spaniards also display Nativity sets with a pooping shepherd in it which is a sign of fertility/good fortune for the coming year. Now you can buy not just a pooping shepherd, but pooping Prince William and Kate, the Dalai Lama, Angela Merkel, just about every celebrity you can think of.
I see from looking at my post now that photos got a little out of order – Sorry. Also, there’s a photo of Roman columns in between apartment buildings. Nicolas said it was built as a temple to Caesar Augustus (deified after he died) when Barcelona was part of the Roman Empire. People built around it over the centuries and forgot about it. Then a few decades ago, someone mentioned that he had these Roman columns in his home. They are now displayed between apartment buildings.

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3 thoughts on “Barcelona

  1. Love your writing. It’s very entertaining. That pooping log would be every kindergarten child’s dream because “poop” is a hysterically funny word to them. That tradition is pretty humorous.

  2. We were in Spain & Portugal & I swear we didn’t hear a thing about pooping logs! You must have had a better tour guide! :). Your pics are beautiful! It’s just like doing the trip again! And I’ve got to admit – I’m jealous you took a chocolate tour! It was 66 degrees here today & still had ice on the streets! The past year’s weather has certainly been crazy. Take care – have fun! Love, Sandy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Everybody poops! No Poop = Not Good 🙂 I just read an article that explained squatting is proper/healthier positioning for #2. The alignment is off when you sit on the (relatively new) commode!

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