Saturday, April 5th, Barcelona
The sun came out and once again we are blessed with beautiful weather. Our first job this morning was to mail a couple of post cards. Just around the corner from our apartment is this enormous government building (which conveniently houses the post office) with a very surprising interior. Even the inside of the post office is spectacular here!
Double Decker Tour Bus
As in most large cities around the world, Barcelona has a “hop-on hop-off” style tour bus. In fact they have two different companies both competing to take you around the city, past the highlighted places complete with a plug-in ear phone narrative in a variety of languages. We chose Barcelona Bus Turistic.
There are three different routes offered with multiple stops on each line. We decided to get a two-day pass for 35 Euros per person. Today we will just concentrate on riding the “red” line and use it to get more of an over-view of the city.
Barcelona is a beautiful city, there is just no other way to describe it. Once you get out of the old city there are wide tree-lined boulevards. An amazing variety of modern and historic architecture sit comfortably side-by-side. The streets are clean, traffic moves smoothly. There is an over abundance of graffiti, but most of it is artistic and seems to simply add character and charm.
Bikes are for rent all over the city.
People are outside walking, jogging, riding a bike or driving the occasional Segway.
Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral (St Mary of the Sea)
“Built between 1329 and 1383 at the height of Catalonia‘s maritime and mercantile preeminence. It is an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic, with a purity and unity of style that is very unusual in large medieval buildings.” ~ Wikipedia
Constructed by the poor people during the same time period as the massive and richer Barcelona Cathedral that we visited the previous day. My friend Augusta who was born in Barcelona said this was her favorite church and I can see why. Although not as “grand” at first glance, it is the hidden gems that catch you by surprise.
The church was set on fire in 1936 during “anticlerical disturbances” and some treasured pieces were destroyed.
Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) lived primarily in France but spent key years, including his apprenticeship as an artist in Barcelona. As a co-founder of the cubist movement and the collage, he holds an important place in the art world.
In his early years, his painting style was “realistic” and his skill unquestioned. In later years he experimented with numerous styles and went through phases including his well-known “blue period”.
Several years ago we visited his museum in Malaga (his birthplace) which highlighted more of his early work. I actually prefer that era and can appreciate his talent more as a young man. In later years I question his sanity as his work evolved into more and more abstract forms. Here are some examples of his work that can be seen in Barcelona:
From these examples you can get a feel for how his style evolved (or devolved) over the years. Art is so personal, and what one person loves, another finds uninspiring, boring or crude. You alone can be the judge of what moves, intrigues or inspires your heart.
It is easy to get lost in the old section of Barcelona. With tall narrow passageways, you can not see any landmarks to help you get your bearings. We had fun asking directions every few blocks as we wove our way “home”. Another fun and enlightening day in a beautiful city.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for those with amazing artistic talent. The “arts” come in so many forms; vocal, painting, sculpture, drawing, dance and choreography, writing, poetry, photography, cinema, many musical forms including composition and playing instruments just to name a few. I am in awe of those that have mastered any one of these modalities and bravely share their gifts for so many of us to enjoy.