Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009 – Barcelona, Spain – Sunny – Mid 70s

(Updated and corrected)

The jet lag is slowly departing although I did get up in the middle of the night and didn’t know where I was. 

Happy Thanksgiving – the hotel must be aware of this as they are serving Turkey on the buffet today (lots of Yanks are staying here).

We have found that the best way to get back on local time is to literally walk it off.  Today, we are planning to head down Las Ramblas to the Statue of Christopher Columbus and the Marina.  It’s a good opportunity to check out the shops and the architecture.  The route has both classic and modernist style buildings.  This building at the corner of Las Ramblas and Mallorca is a good example of classic architecture.

Mallorca and Las Ramblas Architecture

The Plaza Catalunya is pretty impressive in the daytime even though the fountain is not running

Plaza Catalunya

Ellen – Plaza Catalunya

The Plaza is massive and serves as the entrance to Las Ramblas or the multi-block pedestrian walkway

Las Ramblas

Entrance to Las Ramblas from the South

The center of Las Ramblas is jam packed with pedestrians, flower shops and numerous “human statues”.  These statues range from the very bizarre (“mythical creatures”) to more mundane types (the standard robot).  The best one we saw was a fellow covered head to toe with fruits and vegetables who blended seamlessly into a produce stand (I didn’t get a picture since it’s pay and snap).

Continuing down Las Ramblas, we encountered more amazing buildings – one with frescoes (or reliefs for those in the know)

Building with frescoes

and another with a decidedly Asian motif, complete with dragon and parasols

Building wth Asian motif

Las Ramblas ends at the Mirador de Colon.  The Statue of Christopher Columbus is very impressive – over 150 feet tall with a small elevator that takes you to the top for a neat view.

Columbus statue at the Marina

Chris, for sure, is at the top, but all around the statue are figures that no doubt have some connection to CCs voyages.  I believe Columbus met with Ferdinand and Isabella in Barcelona upon his return from the New World. 

If you look west from the Marina, you can see a Montjuic,

looking west from the Marina

a hill on which the Estadi Olimpic is located.  This stadium was to be used for the 1936 Olympics (which went to Berlin – go Jesse) but was repurposed for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

The MareMagnum Shopping Mall is located at the end of a small footbridge.  It has all the stores you would expect from an upscale mall.  We did manage to take an interesting shot of ourselves reflecting in the mirrored facade

Reflections II

Can you spot us?  The tables just below us are from a restaurant.  Neat, huh?

Adjacent to the Mall is the Marina Port Vell.  The marina is literally packed with boats.

Marina Port Vell

You can get a good view of the Columbus Statue and the Barcelona Maritime Museum from the Marina.

Maritime Museum

From the Maremagnum, you can see the World Trade Center (one of about 40 around the world)

World Trade Center and statue

I don’t know what that statue is doing in the middle of the inlet but there are two of them. 

Following lunch, exploration continued.

Gracia Street is the street parallel to Catalunya; this street is part of the Gaudi tour and contains a number of his works.  One great, oft cited, example is the Casa Battlo

Casa Battlo 

Casa Battlo

whose roof lines represent St. George’s battle with the Dragon (you can see the serrated dragon’s tail) and whose balconies resemble masks (see the eye holes) and jaws (teeth are visible).

Another fine example of architecture is right next to the Gaudi.  This is the Amatller House built in 1900.  The structure gets a lot of attention being adjacent to the Casa Batllo.

Gaudi Casa Batllo

Casa Amatller

Another famous work by Gaudi, La Pedrera, is a few blocks away on Passeig de Gracia. 


After dinner, we went back to Passeig de Gracia to see the architecture at night.  The buildings are lit and spectacular at night. 

Casa Battlo at night

Casa Battlo under the lights

La Perdrera at night

La Pedrera at night

Both Gaudi sites had some kind of special event going on – camera crews, crowds, and special waiters at the ready.   Maybe Barack was taking Michelle for a tour of the sites followed by dinner – isn’t it date night tonight?

An hour later we are back in our room – enough walking for one day.

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