Monday, September 23, 2013

The Rasansky 5 - Exploring Barcelona

Afegeix la llegenda
Given a full day to catch up on their sleep and get their European land legs under them, we met up with Deb, Howie and the crew to discover the wonders of Barcelona. Visiting the old city, we started with a walk through the old city, enjoying the Cathedral gargoyles, and stopping to see the old measuring standards chipped into the side of the cloister street. As we reached the old Jewish Quarter, we were met by the guide at the Jewish Synagogue who asked if we could come back in a few minutes so they could finish setting up. So we took a stroll around the block, stopping so the ladies could step into a shop for a spot of shopping while the guys popped into a bakery for a quick drink (hello, peach juice!) After our brief excursion, we slipped through the narrow streets back to the Synagogue where the guide explained about Jewish life in old Barcelona (for over 600 years there was a sizable Jewish population in the center of the city). Then off we went exploring the streets of the old city once more. 

One of the stops was in the Plaza de Sant Josep Oriol, just outside of the Santa Maria del Pi church, were we paused for a few minutes to take a closer look at the paintings on display from the various artists (and Mark picked up a Catalan Independence flag). Another quick stop for some hot chocolate and a coffee (Eric managed to sit under the leaking air conditioner unit) and then off to Sagrada Familia. As a group that loved to take pictures, we went to some of the best spots to get a picture of the building, as its size and the crowds make getting a good shot tough to do sometimes. The final stop for the day was Park Guell (with a K). It's hard not to be impressed by the mountains of trencadis mosaic lining the walls and the steps, or the rock walls built in the form of palm trees. But all this visiting worked up an appetite, so we stopped for lunch at Browns, one of the best pasta places along Passeig de Gracia. After lunch, while the delicious lunch was making everyone sluggish, we took the long way back to the hotel in the car to get a better overview of the city. 

Next up is a trip up the coast before they head off on a cruise.

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