Day 4 – Barcelona In A Day

Ok…let’s start with some frustration so I can just get it off my chest.

First thing you will note is this post is a day late…and probably a dollar short relative to information contained and meaningful pictures.

Why? Well, first it was a very looooooooooooong day. Couple that with the massive amounts of historical information and the further extreme annoyance of NOT being able to do speech-to-text on my phone to take notes. Why was (is) that, you ask? Well because, in their infinite wisdom, both Samsung And Google will NOT do STT without an internet connection. Again, you ask why. I cannot give you an answer. What I CAN tell you is that there are an enormous amount of ‘fixes’ on the web (when you have a connection) of which Not One Will Work.

Now…let’s add a little more fuel to the fire. In order to add a plan to my phone that WILL allow me a connection (most important while OFF the ship – not needed ON the ship), I first have to log on into my account with Shaw to make a change. Oh wait…please enter the 6-digit security number. Shall we send it to you by text? (NO….I have no data that will allow texting…can’t text over just an WiFi connection – another reason to get the damn plan!) Ok…we will email it to you. Fine…except that by the time the email actually gets to me, it has time-expired!!

Ok…fine…I’ll do it later when we get back. I’ll just TRY to take some kind of notes along the way.

But wait…there’s more! (Like a bad TV commercial)

It’s been awhile since I’ve used my camera so maybe there is some allowance for forgetfulness. Probably not, but I’m hopeful. Memory card? Yes…checked and empty ready to do battle. Fully charged battery? Yep and have a spare in my pocket. Is the camera, in fact, turned on? Yes…I’m elderly but not totally senile. Ok…ready to go.

Throughout the entire day, which was FILLED with information and amazing photo opportunities, did I ONCE check the quality of my pictures…any at all of the 149 that I took? Nope. Did I check the settings on my camera before taking any actual photos? Nope. My wife is the professional photographer of the two of us, so my taking of pictures is point-shoot-let the camera do the adjusting automatically. And it does a very admirable job of doing so. Presuming one remembers to check if that setting is turned on. You have to be able to see what’s coming in this diatribe.

Every picture was heavily over-exposed. So much so that even trying to correct them after the fact was simply an exercise in futility. I did really try however but by the time I gave up it was midnight and I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open any more.

So now it’s day 5 before I get anything done for day 4. And, with no time to do anything before we start our trek for day 5, by the time I can get to this, the few notes I do have for day 4 are all but meaningless. And my pictures are useless.

That, dear reader is my tale of woe. Getting a plan for my phone is an ongoing process as getting an email FROM Shaw to MY SHAW Email account seems to be a technological impossibility.

Ok…it’s off my chest and now for the tidbits of information (with pictures from my wife’s camera) that I am capable of providing.

This day starts a Lot earlier than any previous day. Up at 6:30 AM, down to breakie, out the door by 8 AM and take a taxi to the Gothic Church to meet our guide for the day. Javiar is our guide and as it turns out, is Very knowledgeable and more than capable of public speaking. 🙂

Our group of 18 starts our walk at the old Gothic Church, meanders its way through very narrow streets replete with historical reference stopping for a time at the Kings Square. Rumor has it that Columbus met with Ferdinand right at this square after his return from the first trip to the new world. Presumably to collect his earnings. However, in reality, the king was Not here at that time. He had taken ill and was at a different location when Columbus returned.

Now we come to a little bridge which is very reminiscent of one in Venice. On the right side is the seat of government of Catalan. On the left side is the President’s house. It was built in 1928 to allow the president to go from home to work without having to go outside. He felt it prudent to avoid the masses of people wanting to yell at him each day.

All along our walk we are surrounded by history, little shops with intricate wares, and stop once more for a little break and nature’s necessities. 😉 This is The Mercat de Sant Josep of the Boqueria (locally referred to as La Boqueria) – a very well-known market in Les Rambles.

Off we go again with views of the Gaudi museum. He was a very simple man, not interested in wine, women or song so to speak (or even money) and also very religious. His entire philosophy surrounding his architectural wonders revolved around nature and God. In nature, there are no intentional straight lines. Water is wavy, trees and flowers are bent and curved, landscape is never flat. To join human needs (buildings) with natures curves was what he wanted to accomplish.

And there is no more a personified view than the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family). It was originally started by a different architect that, after about a year decided to back out and Gaudi took over. That was in 1883. He worked on it (and lived in it) until his death in 1926. Many of his plans were smaller plaster casts of what would eventually be done in stone. However, during the Spanish civil war of 1936, many of those casts were destroyed leaving subsequent architects a very difficult job. Perseverance has paid off as is evidenced by it nearing completion. However, the advent of Covid has delayed the targeted finishing date of 2026 (100 years after his death) to a more likely timeframe of 2032 – 2036. As a fitting side note, he is the only person buried within Sagrada Familia. There is so much more history and nuances behind the structures that to do it justice, like the Grand Canyon, you really have to go there. If there was ever a singular reason to visit Barcelona, this would be it (my personal opinion).

Possibly his second most famous works are in Park Güell (pronounced GWAY), 17 hectares of greenspace containing some rather unique Gaudi creations. Covered walkways under upper walkways, a hall that was used for lavish dinners called the 100 columns Gallery (there are only 96 as 4 removed to allow for dancing), a seating bench (referred to as Snake Bench given its very curvy nature) covered with broken ceramics inlaid into the stone. Too many examples of his works to mention…but again a must see in Barcelona.

So…did we have fun? It was almost educational overload but also so worth every one of the 11,000 plus steps. Having seen Sagrada Familia twice before (from a HOHO bus), the overwhelming reality of being directly in front followed by the even more jaw-dropping exposure once inside, is easily one of our most memorable encounters.

Again I ask your patience. I will be caught up on Sunday as we will finally be aboard our ship allowing me time to do my duty. My problems with STT are now resolved so I’m also confident future onslaughts of enlightenment will contain more insightful narrations. 🙂

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