Wednesday, December 4, 2013

66. Balcenona memories

Four weeks living in Barcelona is just not long enough to see everything this exciting city has to offer. And like all cities, there are many hidden secrets - not always on the tourist trail - and they can be found only by exploring the myriad of laneways and out of reach places.
Here are just a few more images of memories that didn't find their way onto my previous blogs ...
 
New Barcelona is a city of broad tree-lined boulevards
accommodating vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians
and running from one end of the suburbs to the other  ...
 
 
... and the old city has dozens of long narrow ancient laneways 
full of exciting modern shops and cafes ... 
 
... and many opening out onto squares
that become weekend market places ...
 
... new and pre-loved clothing market ...
 
... art market ...  
 
Barcelona is a city of monuments and statues ...
 
this one is a 60m tall monument to Christopher Columbus
 
cherubs frolicking in Ciutadella park 
 
The Arc de Triomf built as the main gateway
to the 1888 Barcelona Trade Fair ...
 
 
Barcelona is a harbour city  ...
 
... and the quays along the waterfront are a haven to yachts,
cruisers and pleasure crafts that ply the Mediterranean ...
 
 
... and a working port for cargo ships from around the world ...
 
viewed from atop Montjuic Castle ...
 
... and a sprawling city of suburbia ...
 
It is of course the city made popular by Antoni Gaudi ...
 
 
 
.. and a city crowded with apartment buildings ...
 
... some very old ...
 
... others old ...
 
... not so old ...
 
... and newish like this one which I called home for 4 weeks ...
 
Then there is the very ancient city underneath all this ...
 
 ... and found in the archaeological digs
(dating back to pre-roman times) in the Born district ...
 
 
 
... and remnants of the old walled city
dating back to Medieval days ...
 
It's a city of historic churches - beautiful and ornate ...
 
... Sant Miquel del Port ...
 
... and a bull-fighting arena ...
 
... now converted into a multi-storied 21st century shopping mall ...
 
It's a city of art ...
 
... small interesting commercial galleries ...
 
... plenty of clever youthful graffiti
 
and elegant art museums ...
 
 Antonio Tapies Museum
 
Joan Miro Museum
 
It's a city crowded with hungry messy pidgeons ...
 
 
and hungry messy humans ...
 
yes they are all there - including McDonalds and Subway
  
And on a chilly Sunday morning when the mercury drops to 6 degrees
- what do you do -
rug up and go for a walk along the beach front of course ...
 
 
strolling along with the gang ...
 
 or maybe take a ride ... 
 
if you can find a bicycle that is ...  
 
... or have a game of dominoes with the fellas on the boardwalk ...
 
.. or put on the wet-suit and hit the waves ...
 
 
 
 ... or just sit in the sun and soak up all that Vitamin D ...
 
... or find a warm wall and bare it to the sun ...
 
 ... take the hounds for a gossip ...
 
... have a game of volley ball ...
 
 ... go for a sail - if you can find your boat ...
 
... take the pooch for a run ...
 
... have lunch in the sun ...
 
... or do what I did and find a sunny spot
to indulge in a Spanish Hot Chocolate ...
 
Since arriving in Barcelona I have given up drinking coffee – instead I have become totally addicted to Spanish Hot Chocolate !!! … now just to give you an idea of what this stuff is like – you don’t drink it – sure it comes in a cup and saucer – but you eat it with a spoon !!! … pure molten chocolate !!! … absolute heaven … and soooooo much better for the system than coffee …
 
 ... or you can just stay home and hang the washing out ...
  
 
 Then on another equally chilly Sunday
and another wander around the ancient city laneways
 
 
I came across  the Placa de Sant Jaume – a large square surrounded with government offices. Lots of activity here today – firstly a queue of mums and dads with kids to view a Christmas pageant … then a very noisy demonstration by greenies against an oil spill out to sea … next a very “bloody” demonstration by animal rights activists – who emptied buckets of red dye onto the cobblestones and covered themselves in the red stuff in protest against the slaughter of animals – and fourthly ...

 
a much more peaceful gathering observing World AIDS Day ( December 1st )
 
 
  ( Latest World Health Organisation stats estimate that over 30 million people worldwide are now living with HIV:AIDS – it would certainly be a step in the right direction if the newish Pope would acknowledge that the problem exists and start encouraging the use of condoms as one step towards eliminating the virus – I hope that was more or less what the guy speaking was saying !!! ) …
 
 
 A very busy square crowded with lots of concerned people - tourists and locals alike ...
 
... and after all that a tram ride out into the modern Barcelona
 
 
to visit an amazing flea market ...
 
 
Three levels of traders selling everything from antiques and second hand goods to clothing and cell-phones … and all covered over by an enormous surreal gold mirrored roof …
 
 
so many treasures here – I could have filled a container full to bring home …
 
And so as the first signs of Christmas appear on the streets  
 
 
I wave adios to Barcelona
and head off into the blue skies to the next adventure of my odyssey ...  
 
 
  Stay tuned ....