The civil war, a tangle of sides, and a mish-mash of motives. A lasting influence on Barcelona's story. Finally, easier to understand with help from guide. For an overview of this gruesome period, I liked best the tour conducted by Nick Lloyd of Iberia Nature. Cheat sheets provided! www.iberianature.com
One of the things I really like about the Miro Foundation collection is the statues outside on the second floor. Make myself part of the art! Can I cross my legs and sit without a chair -- like the lady with the red legs? Can I jump high enough to put my face through the opening in the tall guy watching over me?
I like to be part of clan. It's fun to know that there are others out there like you. They have the same awkward feelings, frustrations, joys, elations. They ride the roller coaster too. And every one of them has a story. Listen in. Or listen up. Once a month Robin Willis collects his friends together, provides a microphone, libations and few chairs in one of Barcelona's more funky meeting places. I totally related to Rafa's talk -- walk faster please!
Open house at the Circulo Equestre today. Just a tad pompous. Grandiose staircase, inlaid floors, velvet chairs and not a whiff of horses. Instead, I smell money. They relaxed the dress code and let the riff-raff in, just this once. Yee-haw!
Thank you Francesca! Bellesgaurd is a surprise. A straight sided anomaly by Gaudi. A castle, a widow's distain, an orphanage, a bomb shelter, a hospital and finally and still, a family home. Until now, for not for you to see. Now open to the public by private appointment.
Picnic, friends, a rented boat and able skipper. Half a day starting at Porto Olimpico, a different perspective on Barcelona. Best of all, the beach is empty out here, put down the anchor, jump off the aft, pretty clean water, surprisingly not freezing.
Barcelona, full of parks. And for some reason the people that make maps always color them green. But here's the rub. Most, not green at all. Pretty, but in a mediterranean way -- sandy dirt paths, palm trees, dusty cafe chairs. So wow, Mossen Cinto Verdaguer in Montjuic, an exception. Bring a picnic, spread out on the grass, under a shady tree, yippee!
The challenge. Can I walk across the old gothic quarter without passing a single souvenir shop selling Miro t-shirts, Sagrada Familia miniatures and FC Barcelona players as caganers? Is there any place left where I can work out my ankles on real cobblestone streets? Yup! It's still possible in the Ribera.
I start with my back to the church at Placa Sant Pere and follow the cobblestone road. Down Placa Sant Pere. Right on Sant Pere Mes Baix. Left on La Sequia, through the plaza to Les Basses de Sant Pere, turn right onto Placa de Sant Agusti Vell and I walk to the other end of the plaza. From here on, no more cobblestones. Next time when I have kids with me, I'll ask them to find this cat along the way!
I take the left corner into Placa de la Academia. For a coffee break (or a reward for finding the cat), I take a detour to the left through the big doorway into the Convent courtyard and the Convent Bar. Afterwards, back out the door and a left turn again as the plaza turns into the street D'En Tantarantana (down on the left is the Chocolate Museum and a small Plaza).
Just before Princesa, I turn right on Assaonadors. And then again at Vermell I turn right (ok, caveat...there were no tacky craft fairs the day I passed through, but can be). At Corders just for fun, I go into the arch at #41 out the one at #39. With my back to the exit arch, I turn right onto Corders and walk along to Placa Sant Cugat, with all it's cafes. I head through the arch across from the plaza through Cecs Sant Cugat and then turn right on Assaonadors. Hit Montcada, turn left and then quickly right at en Boquer which ends at Placa llana. I walk along the plaza to Candela and turn left. When I end the tour at Princesa, I brace myself. I have returned to the land of trinkets and trash.
Next segment -- a bigger challenge, can I do the same thing walking the heart of the gothic quarter between Via Laietana and Las Ramblas. Taking odds?
Wow, incredible cool I say outloud! Shush. Look at this, look at that! I love the old fashioned desks, the funky lights! Fantastic! Shhhhh! OMG books with gold spines, books in precious cases, books surrounded by stained glass, books floor to ceiling, books I could yell about! Shhhhhhhhh!! The most amazing old-timey elevator! No, you can't have a turn, I'm still using it! Shhhhhhhhh!!! Gorgeous courtyard garden, pretty tilework on the floors and walls, fun artwork, hey everybody, come over here! The antique rooms of the Ateneu. Members only. Open to the public two days a year on Sant Jordi and Corpus Christi. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!
By Maia Pay Ozguc
Barcelona Impressions.Be curious. Be present. Be Barcelona!