NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER real time are in [square brackets].

FURTHER NOTE: Here's an experiment to try also. Click on any of the images. Do you get a bigger image? And if so, can you get back to the report ok?

Trip Log 25.  Day 27. Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia Basilica

Monday November 8, 2010. Gaudi's Holy Family Basilica

It's up at the usual time, breakfast at nine, enjoying each other's company. We are going touring today in the city, so I gather all my photo gear, having charged batteries and all.

Noon, and we're on a Barcelona city tour, in a small red bus, Sharon and I on top, cold, Ramon is sitting here, driving.

No, just kidding. I'm riding shotgun in Ramon's car, while Ramon sits beside me. Emma is sitting in the back seat, driving. Sharon has a little story to tell us. It has to do with Rapunzel and she made up a bilingual joke. By the way, the word 'mujer' - pronounced something like 'ma-HAIR' - means woman in Spanish, I understand.

Here 'tis:
Rapunzel, who was that woman I saw you with last night?  That was no woman, that was mahair.

Walt Kelly, in one of my Pogo books, said "Who was that woman eyesore you with last night?" I don't remember any answers, but oh the question is always lurking right there, in the back of mamind.

Then Ramon says, "Wehair." He finds a parking spot, and I am in total awe of the site that we're now very close to. We've been seeing it from afar, around the city, but it is B-I-G from here. This is Basilica La Sagrada Familia - Holy Family Basilica, or Church maybe.

We bypass the huge line,

getting in free 'to boot,' as Dad used to say. 'Boot' was what you threw in to make a gun trade even. Let's say you had a gun worth $100 and your buddy had one with $80, and he wanted to trade with you. You are obviously gonna come out $20 on the short end, so you say, "What'll you give me to boot?"

About 99% of the time, I endure the pain in the bottoms of my feet, and can even forget it most of that time. Well, not when I'm walking. Then I'm aware. Unless I'm birding, then I can forget it too.

But 1% of the time, like NOW, it pays off to have a handicapped certificate - if you're one of those people who thinks that looking on the bright side of stuff is good for what ails you.

Here are the photos from the Sagrada Familia visit. They still don't convey the immense scope of this work.

I enjoyed comparing the original drawing with the actual knight on his horse, at right.

Notice the modernistic nature of the sculptures. This is the front (I think) of the building, and is the "new" side. Gaudi's original sculpture designs are on the other, or "old" side. Many people don't like the newer, more modern nature, but I love them.

Then it's inside we go, and my mind is given a treat.

In my mind, I compare this structure with those old, old ones we've seen in Italy, and to me, this is just as awesome, and even more so in its originality. Then it's outside to look at the "old" sculptures.

You can see how much more detailed and realistic these are, when compared with the more modern ones on the other side. I love them both.

(L) Photo of a photo of skilled artists carving from stone, I think. (R) Unbelievably, the entire basilica you have been looking at is to fit inside the right half of this model. Not literally of course, but can you imagine everything that's been built so far is to fit inside a bigger(!!!) structure? Not only that, but an equally large structure is to sit inside the LEFT half of the model.

This photo of a giant eucalyptus(?) was the basis for the strong design of the pillar in the lower part of this photo. Gaudi was a master at this kind of real-life nature study.

After this we do two things. First we eat, in a bar/restaurant, with about a hundred hams hanging around the bar. OK, OK, four hams walk into a bar...

Sharon orders her meal, and asks for a coke. And I swear as sure as I'm typing this now, the girl says, exactly as spoken on Saturday Night Live decades ago by John Belushi "No coke. Pecksi."

So she has a pecksi and I have a diet pecksi. I have peeksa, er pizza. Emma has a clam shell centerpiece with potato chips on the outside, only she ordered soft potatoes, not chips. Afterwards they call over the manager and explain politely how, listen dude, this wasn't what we ordered. Emma ordered what she had last time she was here, and it was NOT potato chips. When her order came, I saw an expression of resignation on her face, but it wasn't till this conversation and me asking Ramon my usual, "What'd she say?" that I found out what was going on.

We finish our meal, and I get a takeaway box for the rest of my pizza. Then it's to the car, and to another location, where Ramon says we can go inside a Gaudi apartment and look at it. But when we get there, it's some kind of special exhibit that we can see, not an apartment.

(L) Sharon purchasing two identical decks of playing cards. (R) I liked this three-dimensional billboard.

This is the building we did NOT go through, although we DID go inside for a moment.

So we go back out, and on to another place. It's this place that Sharon and I get to go in - Entrada a la Casa Batllo.

Now Ramon and Emma have probably shown this place to ten or twenty people, so they're going to wait in an outdoor bar for us. Then, in we go. Take a look at what we see here. {Gaudi built this house for a family and had to put it into this tight space between the other buildings. He kept getting into disputes with the planning commission "It's too tall, it sticks out onto the sidewalk too far, etc." But he just kept building it and they didn't make him stop. Lucky for us}

(L) A cozy fireplace. (R) This large window can be opened by raising the entire top half, assisted by counterweights strategically designed into the mechanism.

(L) Doesn't this remind you of high speed motion video of milk droplets. Upside down of course. (R) Sharon, up on the roof.

(L) Vents, I think, on the back of a dragon. Way cool. (R) Beautiful lighting and arches frame a holograph of Gaudi in this fun room.

After the tour, we go into the Fourier and I fake-ring this apartment's doorbell for the photo. {There are literally no straight angles on the interior walls of this house. The owner loved the sea and many elements here reflect water or the sea. An interior 3 story hallway lets light into each room and is tiled entirely in beautiful blue tiles to reflect into the rooms.}

After we've had our fill, we go back out and find Ramon, (but not Emma), sitting in the cold outdoors near what looks a little like a big flame thrower, staying warm. Emma was not feeling well, and that plus the cold drove her back home. Well, that plus the cold plus a bus.

Sharon gets this shot of our official turnover, to end our Barcelona tour. I forget what it is that got presented, or to whom. Maybe the pizza. Or two decks of cards.

We go back home, and Sharon and I do a little bit of packing. What that means is Sharon packs completely, and I organize all my stuff to be packed, but don't yet.

I download all today's photos onto my MacBook Pro, put the best ones in a slide show, connect the laptop to their HDTV, and we relive the day's adventure through the pictures. Very cool.

After dinner, we finally break out the IDENTICAL pair of card decks we bought for Ramon and Emma, shuffle them up together, leaving in only two jokers.

So we teach Ramon how to play Rummikube, only with cards, not tiles. Emma is resting from her kidney thing. Having passed thirteen kidney stones on the front line of my urinary career, I can feel for her.

Ramon is a bulldog. I love it when he sees a good play, he does a pure villain's laugh, "Heh, heh, heh." Real loud, and emphatic. He then says that he has played a similar game, and I'm sure it's Gin Rummy, or maybe Rummy. Anyway, it is a similar game.

I forget who wins this night. It's usually Sharon, but, "No, no, no, it ain't me, Babe." - Bob Dylan.

Then it's off to bed for Sharon, and it's beginning to pack for me. I can't believe that this is the last night of our month-long vacation. It has been a treat, with a little retreat thrown in for thrills and chills.

Good night, and this leaves two more reports. The last normal one, which will tell the story of how we get home tomorrow - pretty boring stuff, if all goes well. Then a review of our trip, with best photos, and some extras. (CAUTION: I always plan this final report, but historically, I come through only about a third of the time. Life takes over).

Wait. Maybe I'll wait, and combine them all into one report. We'll see I guess, huh? You and me.

Cheers, from Barcelona.

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