Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Barcelona - Day 4

Market entrance
Most museums are closed on Mondays, so we gave Picasso a pass and slept in a little, until 10, and then had breakfast on La Rambla.  Chocolate con churros, which was delicious except I could have had double on the chocolate and quite possibly triple on the churros.  Sometimes my appetite is embarrassing, but honestly, food gives me so much pleasure I think I'll just have to get over that.

As I told a friend recently, it's okay to accept the guilt and move on, rather than do something you don't want to do to avoid the guilt.  I'll accept the embarrassment rather than do something I don't want to do, i.e., give up the goodies.

My new favorite food

After that sweet and fortifying snack, we went back to the Boqueria for more provisions.  We had to eat, you see -- everyone knows you can't shop hungry.  Who knows what would have happened, shopping hungry in a place like that.  I might have been followed home by an entire leg of pig.  Or an ostrich egg.  Or a tray of bizarre candied fruit -- notice the red and green fruitcake cherries?

Candied fruit
We ended up with more cheese, manchego this time, a different type of ham, a tray of those lovely marinated anchovies and some olives for the evening's in-apartment pre-tapas tapas.

Love the "hardware" holding the legs
After popping them in the fridge, we started our hike up to the top of the city to Park Guell, Gaudi's outdoor theme park of joy.  We took a detour on the way up so that we could see Casa Batllo by daylight (impressive in a whole different way) and to mourn the fact that La Pedrera was shrink-wrapped and under renovation.  We still could have toured the inside, but it was a gorgeous day and we decided to keep walking and see outdoor Gaudi instead.

Again, there are few words to express Gaudi's sense of playfulness.  The fact that the bulk of it is meant to be experienced by anyone makes it even better -- Sagrada Familia, when it is eventually finished, is obviously intended for public use.  The exteriors of Casa Batllo and La Pedrera, and his other houses, can be enjoyed by anyone who passes.  I'm sure the interiors are equally spectacular, but those were meant for the owners or those who can pay.  Public viewing is still free, and Gaudi wanted the public to experience his work fully.

A little taste of Casa Batllo
Park Guell was intended as housing, with a market area and all sorts of devious arrangements for water storage and things you don't think of artists/architects conceiving of, but I know by now this man was different than your average artist/architect.

The park was a huge open air festival.  It costs 8 euros to get into the Gaudi portion, which takes a lot of upkeep and care, but the largest portion of the grounds are free, with the Gaudi portions still visible.  You just can't touch.  And the whole point of the tile work, to me, is being able to run my hands over it.  It made me want to come home and smash plates and tile things.  Like the shed on the back of my house, or any random object that holds still long enough.

Window display - with sewing machines!
The tile lizard, for example.  Who wouldn't want a tile lizard fountain in their back yard?  I tried to get Mario to climb on his back for a picture, but he wasn't having it.

Though I enjoyed the climb up to the park, and walking through it, the tile work and the houses were what did it for me.  I love the one building -- it looks like a gingerbread house with the icing dripping off, or melting ice cream.  Architectural dessert.  No wonder it appeals.

I missed my kitties, but I met Spanish kitties
Mario's favorite part was what they called the Washerwoman's Portico.  He saw a photo of the fantastical lean and needed to experience it.  (Obviously Dali's slant on life was insufficient; he needed a Gaudi slant as well).  It was really amazing, and somewhat disorienting walking down a passage that tilted to one side like that.

I'm beginning to think Barcelona is just slightly off kilter, and I'm finally catching on.  (This is a good thing).

Gaudi buildings from upper path
Once back at the apartment, we had our usual pre-dinner wine-and-tapas, with the goodies we'd picked up earlier.  Mario had also bought some fresh dates, which he wolfed like chocolate while I spent some quality time with the manchego.

We had dinner again at Colom, our third visit now.  After we'd rested at the apartment post-hike (Park Guell is really a far walk from the Bari Gotic, or at least it felt like it), we realized we didn't have the energy to go far, and there was still so much of Colom's menu we hadn't sampled yet.  We had their mixed paella, which had rabbit in it, and another selection of tapas.

The staff was in fine form, and the waitress stopped by at the end of the meal with a digestif for us to sample.  She and the owner and the bartender stayed and chatted for a bit and made us feel like we'd found a little place of our own there in the neighborhood.

Monday night was, if possible, even quieter than Sunday.  Plus we'd walked miles, uphill, hiked around the park, been stunned by Gaudi again, and eaten and drunk well.  Again.

Tile detail - benches
I think the roofline looks like melting ice cream
Tile lizard fountain
View back from the window
Washerwoman's Portico - dizzying


SEWN said...

I've loved your barcelona posts. You make me want to visit it. With you as my guide.

badmomgoodmom said...

Have you seen Watts towers (in LA)?

sewingkm said...

Thanks for these posts as I'll be there in early May.
Karen in Houston

edj3 said...

I hadn't known anything about Gaudi before we went to Barcelona last October and like you, I am thoroughly enchanted. I bought a small cat figurine done in the Gaudi style because it was just so dang cool.