My Last Night in Barcelona...

Trip Start Apr 20, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2009

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Catalonia,
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Well last night was interesting... I went out with an Italian guy from my hostel. He didnīt speak much English and I donīt really speak any Italian, so the mixture of our limited Spanish and English made for some unintentionally lengthy conversations. He was very nice and respectful, but by the end of the night I was glad to get back to the hostel and put myself to bed. Not only was he constantly smoking when we walked to the bar, but he walked really close and my personal space was quickly gone! I guess thatīs just an American thing to want to keep a certain amount of personal space.. who knows, but it was kind of annoying and uncomfortable, especially since he smelled of cigarette smoke - yuk!

I had spent the wandering around the city. I really like it, but unfortunatly so many things are undergoing renovation, so a lot of things that I would have liked to see were not fully accessible. The fountain at the park that is supposed to have all these sculptures of mythological creatures, one of the houses on the ĻBlock of DiscordĻ, most of the Palau Gaull, and the Gothic Cathedral... I went up to the roof of the cathedral because I thought that it might have a nice view of the city, but since they hadnīt completed the rooftop walkways and were doing a ton of restoration on the main tower, it wasnīt the best view, thatīs for sure. I probably should have thought about that one for an extra second and would have realized, but lesson learned for future cathedral rooftop visits when they are under renovation. : )
Then it was of to the other church - La Sagrada Familia! 
Itīs still under construction and not anticipated to be completed until around 2025 (if I remember correctly). It was the final life work of Antoni Gaudi, to which he dedicated the last 40 years of his life. It is absolutely amazing, not just in concept, but to see such an undertaking still being completed and with the same vision based on all his sketches and models. There is still so much work to be done and it makes me wonder how it will look when itīs finished and how it will look as it ages because everything is going to be done at such different periods of time. What is done is truly beautiful and I think that I would like to come back someday and see it completed... Then I went to visit an apartment building designed by Gaudi - La Pedrera. It was pretty neat to go inside and see his concepts in practical form. His use of light and shapes is genius! And all the colors he uses - beautiful! I decided not to go inside his other famous house, the one that looks like a dragon. 
I am sure it is beautiful also, but I think I got a very nice idea from so many postcard pictures and books in the other museum shops, so I figured I would save myself the €15 and see what I could of his for free. So I took a LONG hike up to the top of the hill to see Parc Guell (decorated by Gaudi also). 
I couldnīt figure out the metro stop and didnīt realize how far and how long uphill my trek would be, otherwise I would have tried harder to find a metro route! At least I am getting my exercise... It was neat to see all his color and design and how it has completely infiltrated the city. His designs are even on the sidewalks and some city benches and lampposts.

By then I was starving and thought I should have some seafood tapas, since Iīm on the Mediteranean coast! I ordered some meatballs and fried fish. I thought that the fish would be pieces, but I was wrong. It was basically a pretty decent size portion of little beheaded and gutted fishes that had been fried! So I squeezed some lemon on them and managed to finish them off, admitedly with a bit of ketchep because they were relatively tasteless, but I didnīt want to waste food that I had paid for... Thankfully they were filling! The meatballs on the other hand were really quite tasty. They came in a tomato sauce with peas and some chewy white stuff (some kind of tofu maybe?)
Lastly, I went to see the Museum of the History of the City. Itīs not one of the more well-known museums, but it was totally worth the visit! It takes you underground to the ruins of the Roman city (Bacino) that present-day Barcelona is built on top of. I got to see old city walls, laundry shops, baths, old church courtyards, fish market and wine-making rooms. Really neat and there was hardly a soul in the place, which I think made it all that much more appealing.

Today was spent walking entirely too much, but I got to see a lot more of the city that I didnīt get to see yesterday. I started off with a visit to the Picasso Museum. That man had some real talent! It was really nice to see the development of his work over his lifetime. I liked seeing his personal sketches as well as some pieces from the rose period. After that, I headed over to the Museum of Chocolate. Apparently there is a chocolate sculpture of La Sagrada Familia in there, but I was told that other than that it was pretty boring and just to get the hot chocolate with some whipped cream. No need to convince me of that one! It was FANTASTIC! Thicker than the hot chocolate that I am used to and definately richer... Mmmmm!
The weather was nice still, so I headed to the beach and fell asleep for awhile getting some sun. So relaxing! When I woke up, it had clouded over quite a bit and I wanted to go up to the area known as Montjuic. Itīs supposed to have some great views of the city from an old castle. I took a ride up on the subway fenicular and then took a cable car in the air to the top. I bought the roundtrip ticket, although in retrospect, I would recomend a one way ticket and walk back down. It was a great view, thatīs for sure! I walked around the area which is one GIGANTIC ĻparkĻfull of museums and gardens and such. I found some nice gardens that no one was really in and got to take some nice secluded photos. The Magic Fountain wasnīt running, like pretty much all the city fountains, so that sucked, it would have been nice to see... I think there is a water shortage in Spain though, so I understand! Tried to find the botanical gardens, but it had gotten pretty late and my sandals were starting to hurt, so I started to head back and it began to rain... Good thing I had my umbrella in my daybag! I went to pick up my bag to take to my next hostel where I am at the moment and hiked about 20-30 minutes in the rain. This hostel is SUPER NICE! Glad Iīm here now and maybe it would have been nice to be here all along, but whatever... I am headed to France in the morning anyway.
For part of my dinner I tried this fruit that I had picked up at the market the other day. It was huge, about the size of a large grapefruit - bright pink in color and kinda spiky-looking.
I forget what itīs called, but there were white and red versions. (I had bought the red one.) The inside was fuscia in color, with hundreds of tiny black seeds.
The texture was similar to that of a kiwi, but it was nowhere as sweet as I expected that it might be. The flavor was actually pretty bland, almost kinda like an unripe watermelon. Anyway, it was something to try... 

Gonna go get some sleep though, I have a really long train ride tomorrow.
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