Yay Spain! We finally made it to a place where I could actually communicate in the native language. Jared was also able to hold his own, for the most part. Although I did relish in getting to impress him with my skills. We started the Spanish adventure in Barcelona and I immediately had to suppress my urge to correct all the lisping. Compared to what I was expecting though, it wasn’t too difficult to understand. The Castellan, on the other hand, really is a different language. I had to utilize some serious context clues to decipher some of the signs and menus. It made for a fun linguistic exploration. We spent four nights in Barcelona and they were four of the last five we would be in a dorm room. This particular dorm experience was one of the worst we have had. We were two in a four bed dorm and our roommates were a couple from Australia. The first night was great, they went to sleep at around 9 to kick the jetlag. The next night however, the girl was sick and went to bed again, at 9 but the guy stayed out until probably 4 am and made at least two trips into the room between midnight and 4. His capers were quite loud and inconsiderate. If the sound he was making didn’t wake us then the stench of cigarette smoke which surrounded him like a cloud would. The last two nights they kept to fairly normal sleep hours and the noise improved but, to say the least, we were quite exhausted by the time we left.
Despite our roommate situation we both truly enjoyed Barcelona. Our first day was Gaudi day. We started with a tour of Castel Battlo. This amazing little gem of a house made me love Art Nouveau even more. The combination of structure and decoration is just mesmerizing and it is easy to feel at home and in awe at the same time. I heart it, I really do.
Gaudi residential façade
Residential view from the back
The interior, looking up
Even the door frames are art
We then had to go on a shoe search and grabbed a quick sandwich from a café before our appointment at La Sagrada Familia. You have to make an appointment for entrance or you don’t get a ticket, it is that popular. This church was/is meant to be Gaudi’s piez d’ resistance, his crowning glory, his pride and joy. Gaudi was a deeply religious man and this is well reflected in his church. Despite the fact that it is still not complete, La Sagrada Familia, is the most stunning church or building I have ever been to. I felt as though I could have stayed there for hours and felt so calm and at peace sitting in the pews. The façade is impressive but it does not even come close to the experience of being inside. I literally almost started crying. The moment of walking into La Sagrada Familia was refreshing and helped me realize that a jaded perspective is often an ignorant one even if the perspective becomes that way from experience. I cannot wait to see this place once it is finished.
The tree canopy inspired ceiling
Looking towards the altar
The high provided by Gaudi’s masterpieces slowly diminished into a calm happiness and Jared and I enjoyed a cup of sangria while watching the people on Las Ramblas. We got some food to cook for the evening and watched an episode of Dr. Who at our hostel to end the night.
The following day we took a train to Montserrat and enjoyed some leisurely hiking and some glimpses of the monastery and chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat. We returned that evening and cooked again to finish the day. Our last full day in Barcelona we visited the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, the beach and had every intention of going to the Picasso museum (it is free on Sundays). Our intentions were met with an incredibly long line and so we delayed our enjoyment of Picasso until Malaga, the artist’s hometown.
The chapel of the Virgin
Come, on your horse, exit this way.
The next morning we were on an EARLY train headed for Madrid and our room rented from a wonderful family!