Sunday, 5 February 2017

Barcelona - Old town

Our first three days in Barcelona, we were confined by schedules for the different venues, so it was a great relief to not have a schedule on the last day and we were free to wander around the old towns, Barri Gotic and El Born, stopping when we wanted to.  It was also our first chance to really see the much hyped Ramblas.  The star attraction was La Boqueria, the indoor market with its beautifully laid out stalls.

We wandered over to the Cathedral as it was free only in the morning and discovered another Holy Gate to walk through - this trip had unwittingly turned into quite a pilgrimage!  We walked through the impressive Plaça del Rei with its medieval buildings and also found the Roman ruins inside a courtyard surrounded by modern apartments.  

We made it to the gorgeous Santa Maria del Mar church while it was still free and had time to admire its unique Catalan Gothic style.  The church staff was in the midst of raising a huge wooden cross above the altar which added to its ambiance.  The Picasso Museum, located in five medieval town houses, took up the rest of the afternoon although by that time, we were "museum-ed" out and the collection, comprising mainly of his early works, required patience.  

We were finally able to spend some time people watching as we sat in the Plaça del Pi for an early supper while there was still enough light to see.  We were hugely entertained by a clown who was absolutely hilarious, so outrageous were his people imitations.  We lucked out once again as we wandered back to our hotel we came upon the beautiful Santa Maria del Pi Church which happened to be open because of a concert rehearsal.  It was wonderful to actually see what Catalan Gothic meant in the unusually wide nave of the church, 54 ft of unsupported unreinforced stonework (apparently one third of its length).  It was a great way to wrap up our visit to this amazing city.

Inside the market La Boqueria - it was not only the huge selection of goods but also how carefully they were arranged

Santa Caterina Market in El Born was not as colourful

The Cathedral - designated "Holy Door" on the right

The vast nave inside the cathedral

The famous geese inside the cloister
The medieval Plaça del Rei

Remains of the Roman temple from the first century B.C.

The narrow stone streets were great acoustic venues for street musicians
Collection of water fountains

Lone animal activist spread out in front of the church

Santa Maria del Mar - Catalan Gothic from the 14th century

Beautiful rose window

Raising of the crucifix

The Picasso Museum located in five medieval townhouses

Entertainment in the Plaça del Pi

Santa Maria del Pi with its extra wide nave
The Ramblas at night
This wraps up our Amsterdam-Barcelona trip.  Watch out for posts on our next trip to Iguassu Falls and Patagonia.

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