Thursday, 18 January 2018

Barcelona, Spain (Barcelona Hilton – Avinguda Diagona)

Woke up to sunshine this morning and a good night’s sleep! From looking at the forecast, I’ll have great travel weather while I’m in Barcelona. I’ve been using an app on my phone called “Dark Sky” that seems to consistently gives accurate forecasts. The difference with this app is that fellow users of the app submit real time weather updates and their updates keep the forecast current for your specific location. I also check other weather as well to confirm.

Today I’m visiting Sagrada Família (The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família). It is the largest unfinished Roman Catholic church in the world, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.

The weather was so perfect, I decided to walk to the church rather than take public transportation. Google said I’d be walking for about 50 minutes but I was ready for it. So off I went. The walk followed Avinguda Diagona (the street near my hotel that intersects Barcelona) most of the way. Each block on this street is about four Portland city blocks. In about 50 minutes I was standing in front of Sagrada Família.

As can be seen by the construction cranes, it is still a work-in-progress. It has been under construction since 1882. I’ve seen a documentary of the building of the church, and understand why it has taken so long. First of all, it is very, very large and secondly, it is very, very ornate, or elaborate, depending on your point of view.

Again, so glad I’m here in one of the “off” months and the number of tourists visiting today is manageable, and not shoulder-to-shoulder. Was easy to get a ticket at the church, rather than online, and the audio guide only had severn location settings which provided just enough information to help someone like me understand the history and, most importantly, what I was seeing. Not being Catholic, I’m not 100% sure of all of the names of things within a church like this, but I’m getting a better understanding as I see more Catholic churches, and Anglican churches as well.

The self-guided tour started off with the main entrance to the church and I learned about the architect, Antoni Gaudí and the symbolism incorporated in his design. The church is like one big vision of his and you have to look carefully at each detail which symbolizes something about the Bible or the Catholic Church. I just stood outside looking at every nook and cranny. So much to taken in! I was a bit overwhelmed – and I hadn’t even gone inside.

Before I went in I saw an older couple with a selfie stick. They looked like they were having fun figuring it out.

As I went inside, it was like (in my words) a “fantasy land”. Or like a dream that someone had, in this case Antoni Gaudí, and now the building has that dream in the form of the church which is classified as Catalan Modernism. Antoni Gaudí died in 1926 but left detailed plans on what the finished church would look like.

Below are the pictures I took of the interior. So much symbolism inside. The massive pillars represented trees, windows (if I remember correctly) were the seasons, etc.

Wiki Link

Front of Church

Inside the Church

After Sagrada Familia, my next stop was to find a Segway tour for tomorrow. I found one within walking distance. Along the way I saw a barber shop and went inside to get a haircut. Even with my diminishing (or diminished) hairline, it bothers me when what I have left gets scraggly. Felt so much better once the barber was finished.

As I approached the Segway tour shop, I came upon the Arc de Triomf (Arco de Triunfo). I had forgotten that there was one in Barcelona. It was part of Barcelona’s 1888 Exhibition, along with a few other buildings that are still standing. Not nearly as large as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but still very large and impressive.

I also took pictures of some other statues I thought were interesting as I was walking around.

Once I got to the Segway tour shop I was able to arrange for a tour for tomorrow. It looks like I might be the only one on the tour, which is nice because I can interact with the tour guide one-on-one and ask questions as we go. We scheduled it for 12:30 in the afternoon, which leaves me time to get up and travel, probably by Metro, to the Segway tour shop.

Then I walked back to the hotel, which was another 50 minute walk. Towards the end of this walk I definitely started to get tired. When I got back to my room I discovered, after looking at my fitness app, that I walked about 20,000 steps. When I woke from my nap I could feel the stiffness from the walk. No pain no gain!

By this time, I was getting hungry since I didn’t eat lunch. There was a restaurant nearby to the hotel and went there for dinner. I ordered two tapas. One was a shrimp and scallop salad and the other was shrimp and chicken on two skewers. Again, I liked one more than the other. I didn’t realize that the shrimp and scallop salad would be mostly mayonnaise, which seemed to not make my stomach happy. I took a antacid when I got back to my room and soon felt better.

I’ve been having problems with my room’s wifi. It seems to drop the connection every 15 minutes or so. The hotel’s front desk put me in contact with their technicians and we spent some time to resolve, but it still has problems. Good thing I can connect my laptop to my phone and use the phone’s internet connection with Vodafone to access the Internet.

By the time I made a few travel arrangements and watched a little YouTube, it was time for bed. I’m sure to get some excellent sleep tonight with all of the walking I did today.

Tomorrow I have the Segway tour and will walk around that part of the city when the tour concludes.




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