I’m breaking these posts up, there’s just too much. Writing from a high-speed train en route to Madrid!
Yesterday we were up for another breakfast downstairs and out of the hotel by 11. We jumped on the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus and got our headphones and all-day passes. The bus stops at three dozen different landmarks around Barcelona… Seemed just right for two wanting to see it all and quickly.
First stop: Sagrada Família. A Gaudi-designed Barcelona landmark, it is an immense unfinished basilica already massive and majestic if yet even two-thirds finished. We walked the lap around the exterior, wowed by the detail, the height, and the long, too long line to get tickets. We agree to come back the following morning for a shorter line.
Back in line to hop on the bus, we made our first traveling friends! Janet (her family is originally from Sicily, she sneaks a smoke while her son goes to get gelato), her husband (I forget his name, family is from Greece), and son Nick (his favorite basketball team is Syracuse (!) and when they return from the Disney cruise they’re taking next, he has a championship game in Cooperstown – he plays 2nd base). They live in “upstate NY” Bedford Hills. Janet calls Saratoga “oh, WAY upstate.” Janet watches as men try to cut the bus line and says “Oh no, you don’t butt a Sicilian from New York.”
I’m excited about making new friends every day for the next four months.
Next, Park Güell. You hear Park, you think grassy, flat areas where people hang out and play frisbee and/or guitars… This was one of the neatest areas I’ve ever been. Also designed by Gaudí, you walk through the entrance and climb steps and walk paths higher and higher for tremendous views of Barcelona. Each time you think you’ve reached a high point, a stopping point, you see a higher place to ascend set back further on the hill and so you climb and walk and climb until ultimately you’re sweating through your shirt, sunglass-wearing sunburnt… And twelve stone steps above the sandy ground with a massive stone cross and two dozen other tourists taking just enough care to not shove anyone to an untimely death. Overlooking Barcelona, facing the sea.
Pt. 2 to come…