Barcelona - Cultural hub of Spain

June 29, 2006

So Sally and I got separated on the train and by the time i arrived in Barcelona I had spent 4 hours sitting next to a lady who didnt stop farting. So my first impressions of Barcelona were not all that great, but they soon changed. We managed to meet up with our friend from Morocco, Kristen (who is from Melbourne), to help her celebrate her birthday in the city of Barcelona which was really fun. We wandered arund the town that night and looked at all the festivities that were in action. There was a annual celebration going on that had started the night before with massive fireworks that made the night sky glow with a rainbow of colours. Sally and I watched from the rooftop of our hostel in Valencia. These celebrations also came at the same time as the World Cup games which equals BIG parties in Spain. We decided to take the Nanna route and appreciate the scenery rather than the Sangria. We wandered down the main piazza, La Rambla, which was full of buskers, Spray Painter Artists, Statue models and Puppet Masters with Kermit the Frog playing Piano all contributed to the atmosphere. After walking around for a long time we decided to stop and have something for dinner and although we were in Barcelona we chose to eat Pizza. I know, I know, when in Spain eat like the Spaniards. But it was such good pizza.  
By this time it was getting late and although the streets were still alive with celebrations, Sally and I decided to catch the train home and catch a few z's.  
We caught up with Kristen again in the morning and because it was a Sunday most things were closed. It really isn't like Australia where we say things close on Sunday but you find even the most out of the way stores are open for a short time, here everything is closed. It is difficult to find a place that sells milk or stamps. The only things that are really active are the cathedrals (for obvious reasons) and a small amount of museums. So our first port of call was the Barcelona Cathedral. A great structure hidden away in the small alleyways of the city. This magnificent construction includes a side courtyard inclusive with giant fish and a bird cage. Off to the side were ancient relics and golden sculptures of Crist and Mary. We were unable to enter the actual cathedral due to it being used for religious purposes but just hearing the sound of the choir echoing in the courtyard was worth it.  
We then made our way to the Picasso Museum on to find that it had a line that went half way to nowhere so we decided to leave that til another day and spent the rest of the day wandering the small side streets.  
I had a very different view of Spain in my mind before I arrived. And although I am not 'let down' I still find myself shocked by what i am seeing. I expected more white washed buildings and cobble stone streets. Big hills and lush green trees lining the streets. Friendly faces and youthful and enthusiastic children. What I have found is not quite that but more of a business centre with conservative, focused individuals. Although some of the alleyways depict this fairytale image that I had previously concieved, most depict clutter and poverty. Onbe thing I had prepared myself for which i am glad hasn't come true is picpocketers. Nobody has even come close since Morocco and Sally, Kristen and I have developed a code word to avoid any unpleasant circumstances.  
We finished our walk down at the pier and in the warm light of the afternoon sun we looked our over the water. All you could see were a forest of masts from the boats. They looked like branches of a tree waving in the wind as the water pushed them back and forth. As we searched aimlessly through the market crowding the dock we found ourselves watching a group which included a very famous Aboriginal instument, it made me think of home! We all admired them, not for the music, but what it meant to each of us, a little piece of Australia a long way from home.  
We called it a day after a cold drink back at our hostel and agreed to meet again tomorrow. We had a big day ahead of us!

 

 

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