A Week in Barcelona

The last week of school was rather a whirlwind. We had students on Sunday and Monday, but the latter was an abbreviated day. It was a little sad (like at the end of every year) to say goodbye, especially since several of the students from each class will not be returning to ASK. Then we had a couple days to get everything cleaned up, sorted, and covered (to protect from dust) and we (teachers) were done. I was scheduled for the so-called “Freedom Flight” which left at 1:35 a.m. on Friday, 13 June to Frankfurt. Goodbyes were said, and busloads of us arrived at the airport to leave. More goodbyes were said in Frankfurt, and then I was off to Barcelona to meet Adrianne!!

Adrianne and I had arranged to meet in baggage claim and I was due to arrive ½ hour after she did. I went down and claimed my bag, but didn’t see Adrianne. I finally went to information to find out if her flight had arrived. They told me it had just landed, so I found the luggage carrousel her flight was due to arrive on and within a few minutes I saw her. It was an epic reunion, right there in the baggage claim area! We grabbed a taxi and arrived at our hotel/apartment to try to get our bearings.

In our apartment/hotel in Barcelona

In our apartment/hotel in Barcelona

The concierge when we arrived was outstandingly helpful! He gave us a map we referred to many times a day.

The next day found us on the Hop-on, Hop-off Tour bus trundling all around the city.

Hop-on, hop-off bus

Hop-on, hop-off bus

I discovered in Dubai that this is a great way to get a sense of the whole city and kind of identify those things we would want to go back and see in more detail. Also we quickly became accustomed to using the Metro!

On Sunday we started rather leisurely and I would say that Barcelona lends itself to this kind of beginning. We strolled up to a small square near our hotel to have coffee and had our first serendipitous moment. It happened to be the square where large groups gather, clothed in white pants and either a red or yellow shirt. They wound their middles very tightly with long, wide, black scarves. Then a red bandana was tied over that and around each wrist. Many had bandanas on their heads as well. These people looked like families as well as single individuals, so men, women, girls, boys, babies. Then they started building human towers. IMG_3752

Building a bigger base

Building a bigger base

This one went 6 people high

This one went 6 people high

We were told this was in celebration of summer. They went 6 people high and sometimes with four at the base and sometimes only two or three. The child who went up to the top, stood briefly and threw her hand up in the air and then promptly began sliding down the backs of the tiers below. After raptly watching these gymnastics unfold, it was suddenly time to go meet Karissa (my niece) and her friends.

Karissa, Adrianne, and me

Karissa, Adrianne, and me

After a few moments we managed to find them and then browsed up La Rambla to find a place to eat. We settled on paella and sangria, which was delicious. It was a treat to see Karissa and meet her traveling companions. We had a lovely time. Then we went our separate ways. Adrianne and I strolled through the Gothic District.

Monday was our agreed upon day to visit the beach, so we took the metro and walked toward the beach.

beach and buildings in Barcelona

beach and buildings in Barcelona

It was somewhat overcast and tried to rain a couple of times. Still, it was well populated! We were a little surprised to find many of the women topless, sunbathing, playing paddle-ball, Frisbee, reading. As it tried once again to rain, we decided to visit the Ice Bar, touted as the first Ice Bar on the beach.

Adrianne and me in Icebarcelona

Adrianne and me in Icebarcelona

It was interesting, just as it was in Prague though we were less appropriately dressed for it this time. From there we walked to the other two Gaudi casas, but decided they were too expensive to go inside. Even the outside facades were unique however. Then once again we headed for La Rambla for a relaxing dinner.

Casa Mila, La Pedrera

Casa Mila, La Pedrera

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

paella and beer on La Rambla

paella and beer on La Rambla

Next day was Tuesday and we gathered for our tour to Montserrat and La Sagrada Familia. Montserrat is one of the stops on the Camino Santiago de Compostela, and was really stunning.

on the grounds outside the Montserrat monastery

on the grounds outside the Montserrat monastery

Cathedral at Monstserrat

Cathedral at Monstserrat

inside cathedral

inside cathedral

view from the top of the funicular

view from the top of the funicular

We opted to take the funicular to the top instead of visiting the art museum there. We bought some things from local vendors for a lunch of sorts and then headed back down for our tour of La Sagrada Familia.

Chancel area inside La Sagrada Familia

Chancel area inside La Sagrada Familia

Stained glass colors

Stained glass colors

looking up at one of the entrances to La Sagrada Familia

looking up at one of the entrances to La Sagrada Familia

It is so very unique from inside and out, and it was clear that Gaudi was a very religious man.

We had decided to make Wednesday our day to do the last things on our agenda, so we hiked up the hill to Park Guell and wandered around there into the early afternoon.

Grand staircase entering Park Guell

Grand staircase entering Park Guell

Guardhouse and gift shop at Park Guell

Guardhouse and gift shop at Park Guell

mosaic tile benches

mosaic tile benches

Guell's house

Guell’s house

Then we took the metro and walked down to the East Cemetery, which is vast. We found the amazing headstone featuring a skeleton kissing the person who had died, which is prominent on their brochure.

Angel of death kissing the deceased...talk about Dementor!

Angel of death kissing the deceased…talk about Dementor!

There were many amazing things, but that was the most …gruesome?

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