On Tuesday 20 August we took the scenic route to Mercat de Sant Josep, a colourful fresh food market popularly known as La Boqueria. The market was overflowing with tourists and every type of Spanish food imaginable, from cured meats, cheese and tapas to cups of chopped fruits, vegetables and spices.
I feasted on a delicious chicken pie and Ed sampled a pizza baguette – both got two thumbs up!
After lunch we spent a little while exploring the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) before taking a bus up El Carmel to Park Güell.
The park was originally designed by Antoni Gaudí to be a self contained community with houses, schools and shops. While the project ran out of money after just four years, some unique architecture remains, including the Room of a Hundred Columns, brightened by glass and ceramic mosaics, and the Gran Plaça Circular, an open space with a snaking balcony of rainbow mosaics.
We spent a couple of hours taking in the panoramic views before returning home by bus to prepare for another night out with James and Jane.
We spent our final morning in Barcelona exploring and marveling at Gaudí’s magnum opus, the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. A work in progress, construction began in 1882 and could be completed by 2030, ‘could’ being the operative word.
The cathedral was breathtakingly exquisite and full of filtered light through carefully constructed stained glass windows.
‘The amount of light should be just right, not too much, not too little, since having too much or too little light can both cause blindness.’
~ Antoni Gaudí
We took an elevator up the Nativity Façade, representing Faith, Hope and Charity, and returned via narrow spiral staircases.
In the nave we stood beneath a forest of pillars designed to mirror trees and branches and reflected on the symbolism inspired by nature and Christianity.
It truly was a sight to behold and experience.
After taking in all that we could we ventured back into the Gothic Quarter in search of sangria and paella.
Ed and I shared a magnificent lunch of ham and cheese croquettes, baked asparagus, grilled calamari and seafood paella before splitting up for the afternoon. Ed returned home and I spent an hour at the Museu Picasso, a gallery that recorded the artist’s early years of apprenticeship and experimentation.
In the evening we enjoyed a few drinks in the beer garden at James and Jane’s hostel before feasting on Mexican food in Gràcia once more.
On our way home we stumbled across a street parade and were showered with sparks from flame throwers and fire breathing dragons. I was a bit scared I might catch alight but the vibe was infectious and we danced the whole way home.