Barcelona – ¡Gaudí, otra Procesión, la Sardana, y All You Knit is Love!

Good Friday Procession

There were two processions on Good Friday, and we caught one of them along La Rambla. It was smaller and more somber than the one we saw in León. The floats looked smaller. They are carried by fewer people, and these people are hidden under the float.

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Crowd behavior was pretty fascinating here. Folks started lining up along the road before the procession came through, and we found a good spot to stand at the end of where the mass of people already were. More and more folks came to be along the street… there was plenty of room to spread up and down the street, but it quickly became pretty tight. I was more than willing to give up my front row street side spot to older people or to make way for them, but I started getting peevish about people my age and younger shoving their way around.

One tallish couple stood right in front of me (they stood on the street as we were at the edge of the walk), so I tapped them on the shoulder and indicated “to the back”. They did. Another did this and after a few minutes (they were shorter, but I was still peevish) I did it again… They asked “why is everybody standing here? what is happening?” We told them it was the Easter procession. They suddenly got a disinterested look and left. And of course there was the tall guy with the camera who made it hard for everybody to see…

The best part was the woman who broke out in a saeta (serenade to the Virgin on the float). She’s the woman in the photo on the right, carrying a white bag, with a hat and some funky white heels. At the time we had no idea if she was just a bit nuts, it was a gypsy thing, or a procession thing. It’s a procession thing. Click the link, there’s a video there of a teenager singing the saeta… sounded much the same, but put an older whiskey voice in it… it was fabulous!

Barcelona is the city of Gaudí

Gaudí was an architect who broke a lot of molds and left some crazy and interesting buildings and such.

  • La Sagrada Familia, his final work, the unfinished cathedral.
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    Even though we got here early, there was a huge long line to get in. We were in line (around the entire block) for about an hour. Just as we were funneled in to some area, this couple just walked in front of us. I gave her the tap, told her it was a line, and she looked at me like I was some alien bug and berated me in some language that I didn’t recognize. We thought maybe Polish, but didn’t sound like it, or maybe Romanian… but now I’m thinking Czech. Anyhow, she was young, taller than me, super skinny, and attractive. I just thought oh honey, you are going to be so ugly when you are only a little older.

    The cathedral was under-impressive on the inside, which was kind of nice. I liked all the weirdness that Gaudí did, but not so much the newer stuff added on since. I also really liked the apse, where you could see the basement and how it was neo-gothic, and how he changed and morphed it.

    We paid the extra to go up one of the towers. But the elevator was broken and the line was also humongously long, so we skipped it. I felt bad for the museum person staffing the elevator, she was getting grief from all sorts of people.

    We can’t figure out why, with over 2,000,000 visitors each year at 13-16 euro each, this thing is not finished (since 1882!)

  • Parc Güell, the unsuccessful housing site that is now a park open to all.
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    We were here on Easter. With all of the rest of Spain. Nice park, but way, way too many people that day. Though it did make for some great people watching, especially along that long sinuous bench.
  • La Casa Mila (The Quarry), I think it’s apartments now.
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    We didn’t visit this, just walked by it several times.
  • Casa Battló, designed as a house, now open as a museum on several floors (offices on others).
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    We took the tour… this is a crazy house! I especially was intrigued by the ventilation system he built. There are vents along all of the windows, and the attic is really amazing. You can really feel the air moving through the building.

    I was also amused by photos of the family he built this for. Here you have this wild, crazy, very modern house, and the people look just like everybody else in the Victorian time. And they put doilies on the furniture, much of which was made to match the house. Doilies!

All You Knit is Love

All You Knit is Love is a lovely knitting shop in the old part of Barcelona, run by the charming Jennifer (from Tuscon!).
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I picked up some lovely cotton viscose (I’ve used this before, but I never see it for sale here), and some sock yarn dyed by Marga!
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The other well-recommended shop in Barcelona is Llanarium, but we didn’t make it there (holiday schedules).

All You Knit is Love is not far from the Wool Plaza! We asked directions of a couple of young cops, and they were rather amused… and after we found the place, they also came by to check that we did indeed get there.
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La Sardana

We spent Easter Monday doing just about nothing. It was great. We wandered over to the cathedral, where there was a small crowd on the steps…. musicians! And the next thing you know,

Spontaneous dancing of La Sardana! This is a Catalan folk dance, and I even got somebody to explain to me the rhythm… the dancers all seemed to be counting.
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The group in the espadrilles danced with more precision, toes in what I imagine were more proper point, hands higher… BUT everybody, especially the older people, in the pick-up groups were definitely having much more fun.

Just other stuff

We came upon a group playing music on the street… They were FABULOUS. The guy with the Didgeridoo-ish horn would toot once, they’d all move, and then freeze… for a few of these, and then they went all out with some great Cuban/Latin music. They are Buenas Costumbres, and the musicians are from Cuba, Peru, Germany, maybe Venezuela and Ecuador… I forget now.
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Of course I had to buy a cd, for DH. But in truth, the street music was better than the cd. Oh well, how would you know?

Another doggy friend, a Catalan Shepherd aka Pastor Catalán aka Gos D’Atura
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We met him walking back from Parc Güell, in a lovely plaza in the Grácia neighborhood. (the accent on the a goes the other way, but I don’t have it on my Spanish keyboard…)

This crazy building is directly across from the optician’s, which still cracks me up.
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There were lots and lots of really interesting buildings, not just Gaudí’s stuff. It was really typical that buildings on the corners had the corner cut off… this made the streets much wider. It’s a nice effect in a busy city.
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Anba Bed and Breakfast, we just liked the outside walls… the inside looks pretty nice at the link too!
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Antoni Tapies Foundation
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The Plaza Real, smaller than the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, and more charming.
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Casa Ásia, with St. George killing the dragon on the outside (look to the left).
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St. George is big in Barcelona, though now I forget why. Here’s another place where he’s killing that dragon,
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We saw this all over, in sculptural relief, in mosaics, etc. etc. I think this one was on the side of the Casa Serra aka witch hat house
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There is so much to see and do in Barcelona. It’s a big city, with a lot of tourists, which was kind of a down-side to us. I also found that I felt like I lost my Spanish somewhat here… you hear so many other languages… Catalan, German, Romanian, Italian, French, and who knows what. We also saw a lot of American tour groups and cringed at most of them… so unfortunate. Either because it’s a bigger city, or because there are more tourists, it didn’t seem as friendly, though individual people were indeed very friendly. I’m glad we went, and would be glad to visit friends here again, but it’s not high on my list of places I want to return to. Really, what I think I would enjoy, is spending 3 months in Spain, in only one place and maybe venturing out for day trips.

Only a quick post about the last day in Madrid left to go!

Regular blog news

The snowpile is indeed mostly gone… but the last guess was May 13, so Brenda wins! She’ll get some fiber to spin. I imagine by sometime this week it’ll be truly all gone (I usually go down to see if all of the ice is also gone from where the pile was).

One Response so far

  1. 1

    kmkat said,

    May 20, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    I loved Gaudi’s buildings when I studied modern architecture.

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