DAY 2 in Barcelona, Spain:
“Always remember, it’s simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach
I’m pretty sure I dreamt of dragons the night before, for I wrote in my journal:
Dragons dragons dragons, there were dragons everywhere last night.
My favourite was the one with pink and golden stripes.
I’m sane, I’m sane, I’m sane.
7.30am: We thought we were the first ones out of bed until we realised that the bed and locker of one of the Texan girls were cleared out and empty.
7.45am: Breakfast was creamy dorset müsli that Miriam couldn’t finish and had brought over from the UK. We didn’t have plant-based milk with us so we settled for water and sealed the deal with 30 seconds in the microwave. “PBJ (@plantbasedjudy) said that the creamiest oatmeals are made in the microwave,” Miriam told me.
PBJ, You’re a genius.
8.33am: Majestic La Sagrada Familia was up next. Gaudí’s conception of the Sagrada Familia was based on the traditions of Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals. His intention was to express Christian belief through the architecture and the beauty of the building and communicate the message of the Evangelists. A little reading led me to learning that each of its 18 towers has a special significance. In the middle is the tower dedicated to Jesus Christ and around it are four towers representing the Gospels. The tower above the apse, crowned by a star, represents his mother the Virgin Mary, while the remaining 12 towers represent the 12 Apostles.
From wherever La Sagrada Familia was seen, it was an extraordinary sight (the detail!!! my oh my!) and provided a sense of elevation to the central tower (dedicated to Jesus Christ). I thought that it was a really meaningful touch for Gaudí to have chosen the verticality of the building to symbolise elevation towards God. The rising pyramidal design outside, the loftiness of its naves, and the pinnacles on top of the towers seemed to almost fuse with the sky. One thing Miriam and I found amusing were the fruits which were sculpted atop a few of the pointy peaks at the front of the cathedral!
**The cathedral will be completed in 2026, 100 years after Gaudí’s death in 1926.
“The temple as a whole, as well being a place for divine worship, will artistically represent the truths of religion and the glorification of God and His Saints.” — A. Gaudí
9.12am: Casa Milà! Popularly known as La Pedrera, it is a modernist building constructed by the architect Antoni Gaudí and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here’s a selfie we took with the Gaudí masterpiece. 😛
9.37am: Casa Bastlló! It is one of the two great buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí on Passeig de Gràcia, the other being La Pedrera. From the outside the façade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made from skulls (or masks) and bones. The “skulls”/ “masks” are in fact balconies and the “bones” are supporting pillars. Gaudí used colours and shapes found in marine life as inspiration, e.g. the colours chosen for the façade are those found in natural coral.
Fun fact: Gaudí was very detailed with his designs, thinking about things such as varying window size depending on how high the window is from the top of the building. In this way he could ensure uniform lighting conditions in each room of the house.
Midday: Miriam and I took the metro to Vallcarca, not knowing that it would have led us to the part of Parc Güell which we weren’t planning on visiting. Not complaining though, for we managed to pass through the grungy neighbourhood of Gràcia, get amazing smoothies and Ciabatta, take selfies with breath-taking views of beautiful Barcelona, witness the production of music using an overturned copper bowl (?), see funky tiger boy, find the perfect picnic area for yet another juicy watermelon snack, and even befriend chatty, bubbly, Polish Martina when she asked us to take a picture of her for her.
Martina made a few things very clear to us:
- She doesn’t like the way Polish boys dress — mid-shin-high socks paired with slippers;
- She loves
Barcelonahow openly flirty the guys in Barcelona were towards her; 😉
- She warned us about the possibility of seeing proud and naked people strolling/ cycling along Barceloneta beach.
Finally, we found the famous colourful mosaic tiles in Parc Güell (thanks Martina)! Miriam and I weren’t keen on paying the fees to get a closer look at the tiles. We gladly settled for our camera’s zoom function. 🙂
5-almost-6 pm: It was finally time to get dinner! That meant: Bar Celoneta Sangria Bar | Vegan & Vegetarian! This was my favourite shot on the way to the tucked away restaurant/ bar. We went many lefts and rights and backs and forwards before we finally finding it, but it was so worth it.
Miriam and I shared tapas (aka. hummus) (pronounced “HOO-MOOS” in Barcelona) with a side of toasty, garlicky bread as an appetiser, a spinach-tofu-perfectly-spiced veggie burger for mains and ‘Nata raw con fruta del bosque‘ (in our opinion, a really good plant-based alternative for a vanilla pana cotta!) for dessert. We had a blast. 🙂
Last stop for the day was Barceloneta Beach! It was the perfect place to just wind down and rest our tired feet after a whole day of tons and tons of walking. Of course, I had to stop to get some dairy-free ‘rice flavoured’ ice cream along the way.
This beach is inextricably linked to the fishing quarter of the same name, Barceloneta. Located in the traditional fishing district, Barceloneta is one of Barcelona’s oldest and best-loved beaches. It is thought to have inspired Miguel de Cervantes as the setting for the fight between Don Quixote and the Knight of the White Moon. It was here that the knight errant was finally defeated and abandoned his quest.
The sea was a cerulean-blue gown and the beach seemed dipped in earthshine-gold. We found an opening on the beach and sat ourselves among the other beach-goers. The sea songs of the waves were soothing, almost like a lullaby.
9-ish pm: We met Aryn (or maybe Erin) from Kentucky, USA, and Racquel (pronounced “Ra-HHH-elle”) and her cousin from Madrid.
Aryn speaks Spanish (learned it in school) and told us that the Catalonians in Barcelona would basically laugh at Your face if You attempt to use Spanish as a form of communication. (Barcelona is a part of Catalunya, which is part of Spain. The Catalans really want to break free from Spain and exist simply as Catalunya.) ‘Sortida’ means ‘exit’ and ‘Stazione’ means ‘station’ in Catalan.
Najella and Amira say “Ah, shit!” as a response to everything, to express shock, excitement and even affirmation. We have dissolved into laughter countless times because of this.
Racquel seemed to have a problem with understanding the difference between “a.m.” and “p.m.”. While trying to share with us about this ‘crazy party’ she and her cousin were about to head to, she got so frustrated, she jokingly matter-of-factly exclaimed, “9 a.m.! A.m.? P.m.? I don’t control this! I don’t know, 9 of night!”
So at 9 of night they left and at 10.30 of night, Miriam and I called it a day.