We are back home, and believe me, after a hot, dry (absolutely wonderful) week in Barcelona, the rain today feels like a blessing. I have been out feeding the birds and the squirrels, wantering the fast growing tomato plants in the greenhouse (our dear 80 years old neighbour Inger has done a perfect job in the garden during our absence), and now it is time to sort paper, books and images from Barcelona. Terje is busy doing the laundry.
I start work again on Monday, and one of the things I will be busy doing then is working on the itinerary of a week in Istanbul in August. I have a huge pile of books I plan to read though, emails to write, timetables to set for the group and so on. But this weekend is still for Barcelona, for digesting memories, for digging deeper into the heart of the city, its art, its people.
I never made it inside Sagrada Familia. I was not ready for it, and could not do it. I know so many of you said I had to, but it would have been wrong to force myself. I was so overwhelmed by Gaudi´s art, can you remember I wrote that I felt Sagrada Familia was a monster the first time I saw it. This feeling changed as we passed the cathedral several times during the week, and I got to see others of Gaudi´s work. As you already know, Terje and I spent time in La Pedrera on Thursday, and slowly, slowly Gaudi´s art was revealed to me. If we had had one mnore week in Barcelona I might have gone to the cathedral for an inside visit, but as it was now, I felt sure it would ruin my awakening love for Gaudi and his art.
I was afraid. I didn´t want to ruin my newborn fascination.
I did buy a book of Gaudi and his art during our stay. I will probably buy more books as my knowledge deepens,
but for the moment Frederico García Lorca is what I am reading. One book with selected poems, both in Spanish and Englisg, and also Lorca, a dream of life, a biography by Leslie Stainton.
I first learned of Lorca several years ago from Frances Mayes. She has mentioned him in several of her books. Before going to Barcelone I sent Frances an email asking for reading suggestions (she is my favorite source when it comes to travel books, and a lot of other books as well). In her reply Frances again mentioned Lorca. I had planned to take his books with me, they would have been perfect for reading in the park at nights, but I forgot. Which was quite okay as I had so much else to read. Like Colm Tóibín´s Homage to Barcelona.
Tóibín writes about Lorca (and so much more):
In the Gothic quarter during the years of the Civil War, Frederico García Lorca had a street named after him. He loved the Rambla, calling it the most beautiful street in the world
He loved drinking in the bars in the Placa Reial
I can´t say that I loved drinking in the bars of the Placa Reial, but I can say that I loved eating paella there with Terje, sharing a huge mug of sangria,
watching life on this charming Placa, thinking of Lorca, of his artist friends, and of Barcelona´s many-fasceted history
And next time I go back to Barcelona (if there will ever be a next) I will go inside Sagrada Familia!
It is hard to decide which part of the day is my favorite part.
But sitting in a cafe, outside, with a mug of sangria and some typical Catalanian food when darkness softly wraps you like a soft silk coat.....
yes, this is high up on my list.
Low on this same list must be during the night, when Terje dreams he is playing soccer in a match between Norway and Germany, suddenly he gets the ball, a 100% chance to get a goal and he kicks the ball hard, real hard.........only to hit my stomach........ I woke him up with a cry so he never knew if he got the goal.......
Not my favorite part of the day, though it made a good story :-)
Before coming to Barcelona I read several books. One of them, and the one which has become my "bible" during our week here, is Colm Tóibín´s Homage to Barcelona. Following his pen, I have learned about the city, its art and its artists. I will come back to more of this in later posts, but one of them main ones was of course Antoni Gaudí, the genious architect.
We spent one of our first days here in Parc Güell, trying to grab the feeling of Gaudí´s art, and later the same day, when the others went to the beach, I did a looooong walk from the hotel up to Sagrada Família to see this most famous piece of art by the Barcelona artist.
La Sagrada Família at first sight was a disappointment. To my eyes the cathedral looked loke a huge monster.
It might have been the heath, it might have been the long walk, it might have been the many lifting cranes surrounding the building........
Anyway, I decided not to queue to go inside.
But Gaudí did not lose sight on me. Though the week he has come back again and again.
A glimpse of a building, friends telling us they are in Barcelona "only" because of Gaudí, postcards and books on display through the city.
And today we took our first steps:
- metro to Passeig de Gracia - walking up the street - queueing to get tickets
And all of a sudden we found ourselves on the rooftop of La Pedrera, or Casa Míla, Gaudí´s zenith.
Now I know there is one more artist I will want to learn more about.
And I will come back to Barcelona, if only to go inside Sagrada Família.
Now I am goindf to take the new book I bought about Gaudí over to Parc de la Ciutadella. A perfect place for reading.
Are you ready for another day in Barcelona? Another day behind the tourist scenes? Ok, the light is green, let´s go.....
To get going a good breakfast is essential. What about pancakes?
Terje and I went for Quatro Quesos, another day we might try something else. The girls had nutella and strawberry marmelade.
While we ate, three green parrots accompanied us. In San Fransisco last summer I bought The Wild Parrots on Telegraph Hill. I wonder if anyone has ever written about the ones in Barcelona.
It is early morning while I work on this blog. Terje is still asleep. So are the girls. (By the way, Mathilde has a blog where she posts every day now from Barcelona. You find it here) I find it hard not to make this post a travel diary post about yesterday, about our walk on La Rambla, Palau Güell, the labyrint of Barri Gótic, the food market, the pavement cafés, the artists, the cathedral and the antique stalls and so on.......
But I am not making this into a typical main sights of a beautiful city blog, so instead I let the flower petals lead us along......
While you walk along, make sure to look both up and down, you never know what you´ll find .......
Like a tiny, almost hidden courtyard, with a collection of colourful chairs.......
hats on a piano........
or friends outside the cathedral :-)
We knew through facebook that our friends Helga and Geirmund also were in Barcelona, and we decided to meet for a tapas night.
The day is waking up here, and I am ready to jump into it. See you tomorrow :-)
By the way, thansk A LOT for the comments on yesterday´s posts. I will pick a "travel letter winner" soon.
Barcelona is charming us. Slowly it is getting under our skin. From head to toe. We have moved on from shopping and beach life, and we are discovering a city with so much to offer. I could make this week of blogging into a week of showing you the most popular sights of Barcelona, but for that you can go everywhere else. I want to do it differently. I want to take you along, showing you another Barcelona, the one you don´t see through travel brochures and televison programs. I want to share with you the playing of sun and shadows on the walls, the colours, the fragrances, the life behind.
In this Barcelona you can have a romantic dinner on a small terracce, overviewing the small cafés and fruitsellers below,
you can dance on a tightrope,
or you can choose yourself a Gaudi bench in Park Güell for your dream garden at home.
Are you ready to explore Barcelona with me this way?
By the way, the other day I took with me the paper table mat from the restaurant where we are our dinner. I plan to use it as stationary for a travel letter. Philip got my first travel letter, from Iceland, Marilyn is still waiting for one from Nepal. Who wants one from Barcelona? Leave a comment on this post to tell me if you do.
We are spending this week in Barcelona with two teenagers, Marta and her cousin Mathilde. They have two main goals for their week - shopping and beach life........
Terje and I are happy to give the girls this, and yesterday we messages Mathilde´s father, my brother Torodd:
quiz #1: how many hours can two teenaged girls spend in a shopping center in one day? quiz #2: how many coffee bars can the parents make in the same time? quiz #3: how many shopping bags does Terje have to take care of just now?
The answer to quiz #1 is five, the two others have no answers.........
Yes, we are happy to give the girls time for shopping and time for beach life, but there is also so much more we want to give them, and today is sightseeing time......
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway. I love everydays and post about my steps through life. Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Welcome over!