July 29, 2004

Postconventional observation

Tuesday, the day after the conference, I was able to sleep in a bit, getting up at 9 or so to pack up my stuff and take some pictures of the area near the dorm, most of which I had explored earlier in the week: the beach (·) (·) (·) (·) , the parks (·) (·) (·) (·) , and the neighbourhood itself. (·) (·) (·) (·) (·) I also took some pictures of the dorm room for comparison purposes. (·) (·) (·) Finally, I checked out, checked my email, and headed into the city. Marcus was staying at the Hostal Peninsular on C/ Sant Pau near Liceu stop, so I tried there first, but all they had were doubles. Across the street, the Hostal River had an open room, which I jumped on; it was rather similar to the hostel I'd stayed in before, actually. (·) (·) (·) (·)

I arranged to meet Noah and Karen and Marcus to hang out and see the sights. There had been some discussion as to where to meet, and when at 1:00 they weren't at the Liceu station, and then 1:05, I suddenly remembered that we had settled on the cathedral. Embarrassingly, it was actually me that suggested the specific location: the reconstructed aqueduct and the "Barcino" sign. So I hoofed it over there and was only ten minutes late. :)

Since Karen is vegetarian (and Noah is too, more or less, although he eats some fish), she had consulted her guidebook to find veg-friendly places. We picked two that weren't too far away; the first had moved, but the second was there and open. Unfortunately, in the event, the only vegetarian thing they had was a green salad for the entrée and nothing for the main dish, so the rest of us felt bad. I had some bisteca, i.e. beefsteak, which was actually a very thin slice of beef that was actually quite good.

From there, we wandered over to the Picasso museum, but the line looked really long, so we continued on to the Museu d'Historia del Ciutat, which runs underneath a few government buildings and several streets, and actually is an active archeological excavation of the old city buildings and streets, from various eras in the city's history. The oldest portions have a laundry and cloth-dyer's from the first and second centuries AD, moving on through a variety of episcopal buildings to a major regional winery active in the sixth century. Really cool. No pictures, unfortunately. (I suspect it's more because they don't want flash than that they don't want pictures taken---and tourists are assumed to be too stupid to know how to turn off their flash. Yet another instance of stupid people making my life worse.)

We tried the Picasso museum again after that, but again, the line was lengthy, so we went on up to the Sagrada Família. (·) This is a church that has been under construction since 1882 and may be completed as early as 2035. It is probably the most famous monument in Barcelona, an icon of the modernista movement, and the life's work of Antoni Gaudí. The only really "done" part is the crypt, which has chairs crammed in every which way to house what must be a sizable parochial congregation---they'll fit just fine when the church is done, but until then, they're a bit cramped.

For dinner, we wanted to go to a part of the city we hadn't seen yet, and we selected the Grácia neighbourhood. (·) It's actually an old outlying village that got annexed to the city in the late 19th century (as is obvious if you look at a map). For perhaps the first time, I felt like the vast majority of the people were actually there because they lived there, rather than as tourists or locals from some other part of the town. We found a tapes (singular tapa) place called Sol Soler that sort of catered to vegetarian tastes, with five of the eight dishes being totally meat free. It wasn't bad as such, but it was certainly not the most thrilling meal I'd had. We decided to go elsewhere for dessert, and wandered a bit looking for an outdoor café.

The place we found was indeed on a plaça, the one where the church of Sant Joan (that's John, not Joan) is. (·) We found a seat and I expressed our interest in postres---i.e. dessert---but apparently they didn't serve any, so I asked for cava instead. There was some confusion as to what the price was going to be, but we figured it couldn't be too expensive; it wasn't, coming in at €13,50 for a whole bottle. It was excellent cava, too.

Finally, we wandered back to the metro, from which we dispersed after making plans for how to meet the next morning.

Posted by blahedo at 4:39pm on 29 Jul 2004
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