Saturday, February 2, 2008

Magical Saturday

Strawberries wrapped in a paper cone... part of breakfast. We set out to find Gaudi Park this morning. Gaudi was a modernistic artist whose bold visions and bizarre architecture helped shape Barcelona. He was regarded by many as a nutcase, and his name gave rise to the word "gaudy" meaning garish. He is now seen as a genious, and his many works throughout Barcelona are breathtaking.

According to our guidebook, there are two subway stops we could take. We bought day passes for the Metro and ventured into the tunnels. The system is very easy to use. When we reached our stop, we waited for the door to open... but it did not. We stood there befuddled, and the train started moving again. Oh well, to the next stop then! We were supposed to twist a handle to open the door. This next stop was off our map, so we weren't sure how to get to the park, but a sign in the station pointed us to the "mechanical staircase," which sounded too exciting to miss.

My were we glad we got off at the wrong stop. A series of 5 outdoor escalators took us up a long steep hill. Here's the view from the top of the fifth escalator:

The park was weird and wonderful, but a bit awkardly arranged. It was a financial disaster in the 30s before it was bought by the city. It felt like being in a Dr. Seuss book, including Truffala trees. The only thing missing was Sam I Am. A classical guitarist was playing in a hall of columns, the music echoing beautifully. We sat for a long time listening to the haunting music in this otherworldly space.

We walked down the hill to the other Metro stop ... a long walk of nealy 2 km. We had planned to visit Gaudi's cathedral, but went home for naps instead.

In the evening, we hopped back on the Metro and went to Placa Espanya to see the "Magical Fountain." The fountain is in front of the big art museum in the art museum part of town. The fountain is stunning. Lights and music coordinated to the water show. The fountain was built in 1929 -- absolutely incredible that this kind of thing could be build so long ago! At the time, critics said it was impossible, but 3000 workers managed to finish the job in only one year.

Check out a little bit of the show:

We watched in awe and could have stayed all night, but were getting hungry, so we found a pizza place and headed "home."

(The kids had now taken to calling our Barcelona apartment "home," our apartment in Trondheim "home home," and our house in Ferndale "home home home." Because Pam sometimes gets confused, they decided to call Michigan "home home home home.")

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