Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Whirlwind Monday in Barcelona

We should have been starting to run out of energy but a good night of sleep and we were ready for our fourth day in the Catalan capital.

It was back to Las Ramblas to start the day with a spot of breakfast. We opted to return to La Boquería market for a short repast at the Pinotxo Bar.

One of Barcelona's Best Chocolate Shops

Somehow, we were strong.

When we got to La Boquería, we were stunned to find out that the entire market, including the Pinotxo Bar, is closed on Mondays.

Time for Plan B.

Cool Graffiti

Back to the Mean Streets

That's an old building indeed

Cool Street Sign

We were famished and needed to find some sustenance soon.

Oh . . .

OH MY!!!

La Pallaresa
Petritxol 11, Barcelona


La Pallaresa's Breakfast Offering

Churros, Hot Chocolate and Cafe con Leche are nutritious and . . . SO GOOD FOR YOU TOO!!!

I need to get my beard to
form in curls like these

Colorful but Vegetarian

Another Interesting Fountain

After stoking the fires, we were ready to journey to one of Spain's most amazing, landmark churches, Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Familia.

Work on this church began in 1882 and it is still not finished. It is estimated that it will take another 25 years to complete Gaudí's wild vision. Part of the construction problem is that funding is based completely on donations and entry fees.

Based on the line to buy tickets that literally went around the park when we arrived, it seems that the fund raising was going well today.

We opted to return in the evening when the lines were purported to be much shorter to enter the church. For the moment, we would circle the block to view the very distinct Sagrada Familia facades.

First we viewed what is known as the Nativity Facade which was the only part of the church that was finished in Gaudí's lifetime. Gaudí died after being hit by a tram on Las Ramblas in 1926. 

Ode to Fruit

Lots of Fruit

Doves of Peace

Heralding the Nativity

Frogs as Religious Symbols?

Gaudí found inspiration in both nature and his very strong, conservative Catholic beliefs. Thus the inclusion of the flora and the fauna in his masterpiece.

He was anything but conservative in his creativity.

Unique Towers


More Fruit

On to the Passion Facade . . .

The Apostle James The Greater
a.k.a. St. Jacob

Jesus' Hairline is an open Bible

Alpha and Omega

Sadness at the Crucifixion

Papal Seal

Jesus, Mary and Joseph

How many times at St. Phillip the Apostle School did I have to write "J.M.J." at the top of every paper that we turned in to the Nuns?

Styling at Sagrada Familia

Once we finished ogling the outside of the church, we decided to walk down Career Marina to the Port Olympic and the Barceloneta beach area.  

The Monumental

This is another bull ring that is no longer in operation due to the passage of a law about a year ago banning bull fighting in Catalonia.

Grand Entrance to the Monumental

The very nice bull fighting museum is the only thing still open in this magnificent building.

Monumental Tower

The Shady Side seats were more costly

Cheap seats were on the Sunny Side

The Torre Agbar

Time for a nutrition break.

Laurie liked the looks of this bar

The Bravas were tasty

Memories of the Camino de Santiago

After a typical 15 mile, five hour walk, one of these really hit the spot!

It's a drink

Painted Man

We were getting close to the Port Olympic.

The Beach at Barceloneta

With the temperature in the low 60s and the overcast skies, the beach was quite deserted on this May Monday.

A lone surfer waiting for
nonexistent swell

Volleyball is always a beach staple

The Hotel W
a.k.a., Hotel Sail

Gold Fish

Colorful Tower

Doing a few Giant Swings just for fun

Heaven on Earth for Kids

The Tardis?

Wild Boy Up a Tree

Beats Me

Ode to Aquatic Sports

Modern Art meets Old Architecture

Barcelona's Old Post Office

This Street Looked Interesting

Carrer de la Mercé 17

We were hungry again and this place had a certain earthy charm.

Looks GREAT to me!!!


We wanted a beverage and a little food . . . we got much, much more.

Tasca El Corral

We wound up enjoying one of those unexpected, magical moments where the music, wine, food and company in this mostly empty bar made for a great few hours.

They serve ham here

Sidra . . . YES!!!

An Expert Sidra Pour by our
fun loving bartender

Chorizo al Diablo

The bartender/chef kept these flames going for about two minutes. The chorizo was magnificent!

Queso Cabrales

This is Bleu Cheese on steroids.

Sassy Wife

Contented Husband

Leche de Pantera Rosa

A special concoction created by the bartender's Grandmother.


It was now late in the afternoon and we still wanted to return by Metro to Sagrada Familia to see if we could get inside.

A Revolution that I can back 100%

We got to Sagrada Familia at about 6:15 p.m. to find a very short line to buy tickets to enter. In about 15 minutes were were inside the now functioning church.

When we first entered this unique edifice in 2008, the inside of the church was a beehive of workers, machinery and trucks working full tilt to get the job done.

While waiting in line, I took a few more exterior photos.


Exotic Towers

Jesus Scourged

Finally, we entered the now working church where Pope Benedict XVI once said Mass.

Intriguing Ceiling

The Colors on the Columns are
from the Stain Glass Windows

Rich Floor

Above the Main Altar

About 1/3 of the stained glass windows need to still be installed as plain glass fills these openings now.

While the main plan of the interior is finished, I was told that they do expect smaller side chapels to be erected over the next few years. This is quite normal in these huge European Cathedrals/Basilicas/Churches.

Altar Cross

The Oculus

So, I was in Boston with the
family on vacation one Summer . . .

A Harpist seems like
a natural on any church

Kids Having Fun

Nativity Facade Towers

Hark the Herald Angel . . .

Hammer Time

Our two sons have
become great fathers

Stern Face

More of the Unique Ceiling

All Combination of Four
Adjoining Numbers Add Up to 33

Jesus was 33 years old at the time of His crucifixion.

The Shroud of Turin?

Gaudí even erected a school at the
construction site for the worker's children

We were exhausted from a long day of sauntering throughout the splendid vistas of Barcelona.

Another visit to our favorite tapas bar, Taverna Basca Irati, and we were done for the night.

Internet Connection at Last

That is me seated at the far end of our fifth floor hall as seen from our room.

Connecting to the Internet was a non-stop problem in Barcelona. The connection in our hotel was only to be found in the lobby in theory. It was spotty at best.

We stopped at several cafes, bars and restaurants during our time in Barcelona which offered Free WiFi. The answer was in all but one place, "Sorry, our Internet is down right now."

Finally, on Monday night, I remembered what the man at the reception desk had told me a year ago when I first stayed in this budget establishment. "I will give you a room close to the elevator where you might get WiFi in your accommodations."

I thus grabbed a chair from our room, marched down by the elevator and finally got a strong WiFi signal!

Of course, people getting on or off the elevator thought that me sitting there was strange, plus I had to wave my arm every 30 seconds to activate the motion sensor lighting system.

The bizarreness of the situation got me back to my room in about five minutes.

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