I came across this from two years ago. Barcelona has suffered a lot due to Covid19 but like many European Cities, it will survive and will cling to it’s creative culture for future visitors to embrace.
Relaxing at my son’s house in Salou, I am trailing through the Airbnb site looking for somewhere central to stay in Barcelona. I can get a train from Salou which is on the coast, directly to the centre of Barcelona for less than 10 Euros. I find a small room in an apartment owned by a young couple for less than 90 Euros for three nights. This seemed like a really good deal. I am not in the best of health as just before I left Jalon my doctor diagnosed some osteoarthritis in my joints. I was worried about walking too far so it was important I was in walking distance of the subway in the city. This would not only be my first visit to Barcelona but my first visit to a strange city alone.
The accommodation was perfect and very central. There were cafes on every street corner. Café con Leche and croissants to start my day.
Barcelona is a dream if you truly love and admire architecture. As I walked towards the Ramblers the central 1.2-kilometre boulevard, I discover beautiful side streets which entice you to follow. Elegant stone carved maidens perched with open arms, high above doorways watching over the pavements since the mystical era of Art Nouveau, What tales they could share to us.
I stood for a while observing two girls with brushes as they worked on restoring some wooden carvings of flowers around a doorway, In contrast to a street full of Grafitti. I took pictures of both for they are both art and I want to see it all. But now Gaudi was calling me and I feel obliged to do my touristic duty and visit the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished Cathedral. First though, it is time to master the metro as my poor ankles were beginning to ache.
Exiting the metro there are a crowd of excited tourists walking in front of me. They stop on the steps and turn. The sunlight crosses their faces and I hear their words of WOW!
As you see them look up. I want my turn of exhilaration, it hits you, gasping at the enormity of it all, Magnificent in splendour and towering unfinished. This was, without doubt; a Cathedral. The colour was at the top. What was Gaudi thinking, was he icing a cake? It is a masterpiece you have to agree but the metal cranes spoil the view for us mere mortals, I look up and see that the birds have the monopoly like kings perched high. I wonder if Gaudi was really saying ‘Forget God, this looks like it was created for the holy spirit Mother Nature herself. I am sure there are people who will disagree but Art can say many different things to different people, as can poetry. The more I look into this period I realise how deep in touch the artists were with nature and maybe less with God.
Make sure you pre purchase a ticket.
I see the signs for the ticket office and follow or to put it bluntly get dragged into the queues only to find a sold-out sign at the end. ‘You should have booked on line.’ I am told by the disinterested student worker. For someone like me who never makes a plan I can shrug my shoulders but if you want to be a tourist there are some things you should really comply to. I found a café and treated myself to the best Spanish tortilla I have had in a while and wistfully stared up at the wonder of what was going through the mind of Gaudi when creating something he unfortunately never saw finished. What was he going to do with these unfinished bits? Perhaps there is a plan in some archive somewhere but unlike me who very rarely makes a plan, I shall just rely on my imagination.
So, writing, my thoughts drift and I turn down the volume of the crowd and the traffic and just sit with Gaudi. Was his purpose for us mortal souls to think and complete what he started? We will be forgotten in time, he will not, so at the insistence of art, I bought some postcards for my friends who have been demanding that I keep in touch.
People often conjure up images of colourful mosaics when they think of this artist from Reus and refusing to give in to the pain in my ankles I decided to get back on the metro.
Inspired by the picture on my postcard it was time to go and witness the work he did at Parc Guel. My lack of confidence using the metro took me to a station miles from where I wanted to be and should have ended up. With no sign posts and feet complaining of pain, I was stupidly now lost in Barcelona.
I started to walk up a hill and asked a lady pushing a pram for directions. She spoke English confidently and kindly offered to walk with me. As we chatted for the next half an hour she told me how she had voted for independence, She also expressed her sadness for the brutality of the Spanish police that were sent to her district.
I have always wondered about how people get caught up in such a frenzy over nationalistic issues, something that has never affected me personally. I know I will always be English but only because it says that on my passport. I guess it is a tribal thing and perhaps I am too nomadic. However, we had such a warm conversation and when we finally reached my destination, she gave me a hug and said, ‘Enjoy yourself in Barcelona.’
They should re-name Parc Guel, Parc Greul as the steps up to the entrance were challenging. So many people and construction work everywhere. Gaudi colours struggling to emerge through the battleground of tourists, ticket booths, water sellers and people selling souvenirs on blankets. Nobody is buying.
A simple thought crosses my mind. Why do people buy souvenirs? To prove they have been somewhere, to take a piece of something of a place that you go to. I tend to buy fridge magnets, do I buy them to show where I have been to my friends or to cover up the rust marks on my fridge, maybe the latter, anyhow they probably were made in China, and I have never been there, not yet anyhow.
I never bought a ticket to gain entrance to the main area, instead I sat on a bench and tried to imagine what it must have looked like when Gaudi was creating it. Thank goodness for the post cards. I stumbled back down the steps, my throbbing feet were making me walk like some ninety-year-old women. At least I can say I got close and I think Gaudi will forgive me for not buying a ticket, I get it, I really do, my photos are enough to prove that.
Before booking your trip to Barcelona. COVID19 Advice https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/page/3143/covid-19-information.html
FOOTNOTE. I enjoyed re/reading this as since then I have solved the problem of my sore ankles and now travel without pain thanks to a new healthy lifestyle. If you want help and guidance with a superb nutritional plan, click here and contact me.a healthy business