After the first long day in Barcelona and a very good night sleep we woke up with our feet still soar. The big question: are we ready for San Jordi?
This was actually the reason for our visit during this particular weekend. My Spanish colleagues had recommended this. I understand why… from the citizens of Barcelona’s perspective this is a great day of celebrating their ethnic identity and history, love and family values. As an outsider, with our dear husbands and family at home, we don’t really get it… why is this so romantic?… why are the women happy with the roses as if it comes as a complete surprise?… In my mind the streets would color red from the roses. Sometimes I can be so naive. Not. Instead everything looked black of the people all over the place. This was kind of a disappointment for me. Even at 8 am in the morning it is busy as hell. Everyone is getting ready, pricing their goods “Roses 4 euro”. By dinner time I see the board again “3 euro” striped through, “2 euro” striped through, “1 euro”… Guess waiting has its advantage.
I visited this monument once before and really liked it, the whole concept, the fact that Gaudí ignored any pre-existing rules and norms and made something he really believed in, something organic and creative. Love it. This time, we have an early morning VIP pass, 30 minutes with a limited amount of people before the official opening to the rest of the public. And… on San Jordi, the day of the rose, of love… the building was decorated with huge roses on the outside. Inside one of the inner corridors rose pedal shaped red paper things were blown in the air, contrasting against the blue tiles. Nice… but I don’t want to be the one to clean that up… At the end of our visit we got our mandatory red rose for San Jordi, what a nice gesture and at least we got some offered!
Catedral de Barcelona
Actually the gardens on the West side. Definitely one of my favorites! Big thank you to Keetie from BroodEn Tomaat walking tours to show this! There are 13 geese in the garden, one for each of years Eulalia llived. Eulalia was tortured and killed in the streets of Barcelona under Roman times. Those geese are funny to watch. We have 4 geese at home, and once you get to know these big guys, you recognize their behavior. All geese are clearly alike: clumsy, loving water, territorial, hungry all the time and loud. By the time we were really relaxed and enjoying the scene – “strangely” enough this has a direct relation to the number of people remaining on the premises – the guards kicked us out (gently). It was closing time.
O M G …
I am so not used to crowds. It is extremely noisy. People tend to walk even slower so you don’t even get anywhere. You don’t see anything of anything as the crowd is like a thick mist hanging 1,5 meter above ground level. This was too much for us and made us reflect on future city trips… In Venice it was crowdy at times, but not all the time (most tourists went back to the mainland in the evening) and not everywhere (once off the main streets and squares it was surprisingly quiet).
Guess the timing for this private photo walking tour was not perfect after all. By this time I had reached the point I couldn’t take much more and should have taken a time-out at our hotel or a quiet park before doing anything else. I was not in the zone anymore for making great pictures. A lot of good tips and a nice photographer could not get me interested in the crowds. The big contrasts of light in the streets made it even more difficult and frustrated me already for 2 days. It just didn’t work for me at that moment. When I look at the pictures in hindsight I do see what Nico meant and I am using the tips he gave me.
We got this great tip from Nico, our photographer: Bunkel Carmel. We wanted a cool place with a nice overview of the city for the evening. 360 degree view of everything. On our walk up, a lot of messages against us – tourists. The locals don’t seem to like that their little hide-away is becoming an evening tourist spot. I do understand, but I would honestly use it to my advantage… like opening a restaurant/ bar with service up to the look out place.
Day 2 in a nutshell
Too much noise, too much people, again mediocre food, some nice finds, some disappointments, no taxis during the Madrid-Barcelona game (not that they were busy driving people from and to the game as it was in Madrid…), clear messages on the pavements close to the bunkers that tourists are not welcome, again 12+ kms of walking today, again exhausted but worth it.
Check out the full album.