Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Barcelona - Day 5

Quiet morning street
Despite the excesses of Monday, we woke up early and hungry.  When we ventured forth, bleary-eyed and with stomachs rumbling, our street was quiet.  We decided on Placa Reial again, since it was close by and packed with restaurants.  Someone would be up and available to feed us.

The outdoor tables weren't all set up yet, and most of the restaurants had delivery trucks parked outside.  We ended up at an indoor table at a restaurant we'd eaten at on the first night.  Most of the waiters were still eating breakfast in a huddle around a back table, but they were cheerful enough as they brought our coffees.  

I'm not used to feeling like an early riser at 9:30 a.m.  I could get a complex.  

Beach hotel - love the wave shape.
Tuesday was our last day.  In the morning we would be up early and heading back to the airport, so we had one day to accomplish everything we hadn't managed thus far.

Which meant the beach and the Picasso museum.  In that order, if I had my way.

It had been threatening rain, so I grabbed my umbrella on the way out, hoping that by carrying it, and inconveniencing myself, I would prevent the rain.  It seemed to work, because by the time we'd eaten and walked down La Rambla to the port, the sky had brightened, and by the time we got to the actual beach, it looked like it had never even been cloudy.

Who wouldn't want to wet their feet in that?

The temps were in the high 50s, not exactly beach weather, but after months being trapped indoors in too many layers, with Carhartt woolly socks on my feet, all I wanted to do was feel sand between my toes and the chilly Mediterranean lapping at my ankles.

I hadn't realized when I started looking into Barcelona that the beaches were man-made.  How does one make a beach, anyway?  And if it can be done, why doesn't every coastal place have a beach this beautiful?  And while we're asking impossible questions, why can't every ocean be turquoise?  Is it too much to ask that the Atlantic, practically on my doorstep, stop being gray/brown and turn aqua overnight?

Beach art - Rebecca Horn
The Wounded Shooting Star / The Cubes
We walked and splashed and picked up stones and looked at public art and other sun-starved people with their feet in the water, or lying on their backs in the sand, faces tilted hopefully up toward the light, and knew that even if it made us late for Picasso, even if it made us late for lunch, this was worth it.

The Picasso Museum.  Not a huge Picasso fan, myself, but Mario is, and I did find this museum interesting as it has so much of his student work, when he was a ridiculously talented, precocious child who painted better than a lot of trained adults.

It wasn't until later that he started painting like the Picasso we all know, and as he aged, he just kept growing and changing.  I don't remember where I heard it, but he was supposed to have said that as a child, he painted like an old man; when he was an old man, he painted like a child.

Beach art - Juan Munoz
A Place Where it Always Rains
One thing I didn't like about the museum -- no photography.  At all.  Not just no flash, but no nothing.  I know there are postcards in the gift shop, but like my talent for finding the one item in a store without a price tag, I always fall for the one piece of art for which there is no postcard.  So I didn't even look at them.  I think art should be for everyone; let people take whatever pictures they want.  No reproduction, no matter how good, is going to give you the complete feeling of the original, but let people try.  Don't keep your art all to yourself.

Matter of fact, just put it on a beach for everyone to enjoy.

After Picasso, we had lunch -- at the restaurant we'd lost and found on the first day -- and another long walk through the city.  After a brief nap, we packed, went out and found our last tapas and wine, gelato and espresso, and came back to sleep.

Barcelona - New York - Philadelphia

Day 6 was really just traveling, so it will fit in here.  We had to leave the apartment by 6:45 a.m. to make sure we got the Aerobus on time, and to the airport in time for check in.  If 9:30 a.m. was early, 6:45 a.m. was still nighttime.  There was no coffee to be had until we reached the airport.  It's amazing how easily you can face lines (minimal), security (quick and friendly) and your fellow passengers (almost non-existent at that hour) when you know there is coffee on the other end of it.

What the water felt like after
the long, long winter
When we reached our gate, no one was there yet.  Including the staff.  It was 2 hours before flight time, but I guess they were off, having their coffee.  There were certainly a lot of uniforms in the cafe down the way, where we stayed until we started seeing activity at the gate.

Flights home were good, though not as swift, obviously, as the flight over.  I do wish those tail winds would considerately change direction and push us home.  Despite how sleep-deprived I'd felt all week, I wasn't tired on the plane and Delta had a great selection of movies, so back-to-back I watched The Book Thief, August: Osage County and Gravity.  Great, too much, and better than expected.  Then, delving deeper, I happened on a documentary about Diana Vreeland, and I was happily watching that when I realized we were landing in NYC.


badmomgoodmom said...

Sounds like the vacation was too brief.

Did you know that the sand at Waikiki comes from my local beach? To make a beach, just dump sand--lots and lots of it. Sourcing sand is problematic as so many places are having trouble holding onto their sand, they haven't any to spare.

Malibu's erosion repair plan was to dredge sand from Manhattan Beach to shore up their beach. That didn't fly when MB found out about it. ;-)

Summer Flies said...

I have loved reading about your holiday in Barcelona. It's been years since I've been and yet your photos put me right there and I remember it all. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Karen, I have enjoyed these holiday post so much, I only got to stay there for three days and we were limited as to what we could see.

Great stuff, I'm glad you went!

Marie said...

Thank you so much for the postings about your trip to Barcelona. I have thoroughly enjoyed each of them and your photography. Really appreciate the time and effort you put into them.
Looks like a great time was had.

Jane said...

Thank you so much for your postings on your trip to Barcelona. I really enjoyed it.

Vicki said...

Wow, I feel I know Barcelona so much better now. And all that food - how do you do it? :)Sounds like you had the best time.