Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Barcelona Baby!

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Rundown: Spent a week in Barcelona eating tapas, drinking wine, and walking for hours and hours through the city.

I could spend weeks wandering around Barcelona. There are so many terrific things to see and do. The streets are interesting and dynamic from place to place in the city.

These street performers were making huge, worm-like soap bubbles that would eventually pop and rain soap suds all around. I guess Barcelona is trying to clean up the streets.

Walked around the Mercat de la Boqueria, with its fresh produce, raw meats and fish, makes for a colorful spectacle.

Came to Barcelona armed with a new lens for the camera. Probably spent more time behind it that I should have. Learned not to shoot and cross the street at the same time...

Spent the evenings foraging for good food in the plazas, listening to music on the street, and watching the glow of the buildings.

Had tapas, wine, and tons of other goodies in our meanderings.

We were in Barcelona just time time for the Night of the Kings. Santa apparently doesn't speak Catalan, so he leaves it to the Three Kings to bring presents to the children on January 5th. There was a massive, spectacular parade in the streets with amazing costumes and floats.

One of my favorite floats at the end of the parade.  The Carbon float!  They have red flares going off and sing about how the naughty kids are going to get carbon (coal) instead of presents in the morning!  I loved it!

Here's a link to a YouTube video of the parade.

The King's bread is a traditional ring cake that is eaten during the fest, so we naturally got our hands on one.

What we didn't know is that there are hidden treasures in the bread! There's a coin, a bean, and a little ceramic king that I almost lost a tooth on! The person who finds the coin gets to keep it, the person who finds the bean has to pay for the bread, and the person who finds the king gets to wear the crown (above) for the night. I felt pretty lucky.

You guessed it, more eating and merry making.

Spent and afternoon in the Sagrada Familia which has been in construction for one hundred years, no kidding. The length of the construction reminds me of Pillars of the Earth.

The size and scale of the cathedral was incredible. The structure and immense diameter pillars mimic a forest.

The place was intricately decorated to the point of disorientation. I could have sat in the pews for hours and stared at the columns and ceiling.

Also went to the Park Guell, by Gaudi. Originally created for a housing community, the park now is an odd gathering place for all sorts.

A huge plaza with scalloped and tiled benches overlook the entrance to the park and the rest of the city. Not a straight line to be had in the place!

Great pillars hold up the floor under the entire plaza, making a cool hiding place from the sun with neat shadows.

And a good time was had by all!

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