Blog, Christmas, Travel

The Spanish Navidad – Architecture, Everywhere

Hello Everyone!

Today is our last full day, here in Barcelona, and I’m not as sorry to leave as I thought I’d be. Sure, I can understand the language; sure, it’s a beautifully queer city; sure, I want to see the sights that I didn’t get to see throughout our time here, but in all honesty, I do want to go home. Not that Barcelona isn’t appealing to me, it is. In fact, I’d love to stay a little longer just so I can see the inside of La Sagrada Familia (which I was promised, but it never came through), or see the Gaudi complex in Parc Güell, but thanks to this cold and the fact that I have some major projects to start, in the new year, I’m glad to say goodbye to such a beautiful, contemporary city.

So, without further ado, let’s say goodbye to Barcelona in the way we can…Sightseeing!

Lazy Starts and Missed Opportunities

Alright, so we were rather relaxed when it came to starting the day. Instead of rushing out of the apartment for the tour bus, we took our time, and when we came to the historic Parc Güell, where Gaudi’s infamous architectural masterpiece is showcased, we didn’t get to see the beautiful piece. However, we did get to see the famous steps that lead out of the park, and that was enough for me.

It would have been better if we saw the exhibition, but the waiting time for the next tour was 5:00pm, and we didn’t have the energy to rush around everything else, just to fit the time. Not to mention, the next free tour of the place would have been some time before 8:00am, and we didn’t want to wake up early for that (besides, it would have been dark if we went).  So, we abandoned that expedition, in favour of one that was a little closer to home…

Innovative Nuns and Queens

Instead of the park, we found our way to an old convent called Monestario Pedralba, which was founded in the 14th century, by a group of nuns by the order of St. Claire, and their benefactor, Queen Elisandra. If you’ve been to monasteries and old cloisters, you’ll know the squar-ish layout that’s typical to these types of buildings. As we walked through the airy stone walkways, and the large exhibition halls, you could imagine what life would have been like, when the nuns lived here.

Fun fact: The refectory (i.e. the dining hall) was probably the most silent place in the whole monastery, since the nuns would eat in silence as the abbess (the mother superior) read excerpts from the bible or some prayers.

If anything, I think missing the major sight at Parc Güell was a boon, since we would have missed out such a magnificent community created by women. It was not only eye-opening, but inspiring. I hope, one day, I can be as inspiring as these women were. After all, if they could build a monastery, and collect artworks from all over Europe, I can probably do something too! Who knows!

Themed Parks, No Rides

It’s strange to think “Theme Parks” without thinking rides, but that’s exactly what Poble Espanyol is. There were different streets dedicated to the different regions of Spain. For example, they had a Barrio Andalucia, and a Patio Cordobés. They even mimicked a church at the Western most end of the park, overlooking Barcelona, at the top of Montjuïc. As we walked through the small made up streets, we spotted shops, cafes, restaurants and sculptures, dedicated to the real things that stand in their respective regions. We even found a gallery dedicated to contemporary art, by artists like Dalí and those inspired by the modernista movement.

Rambling along in the park, you can imagine what it would be like if it were the height of summer, the cafes and restaurants would be full to the brim, and the shops would probably be ransacked from tourists buying souvenirs for their friends and family at home. So, if you do ever visit Barcelona, you might want to visit Poble Espanyol, it’s a good way to get a feel for the different regions of Spain, if you’re ever interested in visiting those other regions.

Churros! Finally!

Now, you can’t go to Spain and not have their staple foods and desserts. One of these desserts is…Churros! Yes, you can get them at Christmas markets everywhere, but no one does churros like the Spanish (or the South Americans).

Here you can get churros that are covered in sugar or you can get a cup of chocolate beside them, and if you’ve finished your churros before the chocolate runs out, you can just have the chocolate on its own. They provide you with a small teaspoon, so once your churros are done, just use the spoon to lap up the last dregs of chocolate in your cup! There are a few cafes and bakeries that do churros, waffles, and other Spanish delicacies that will make your mouth water (especially in winter), so check them out if you’re ever in the area!

Countdown To New Year

Well…that is it! We’ve gone from the heights of Montserrat, to La Sagrada Familia; from Parc Güell to the Maremagnum Centre by the sea. It is time to say goodbye to Barcelona, and 2016. We’ve experienced a lot of laughter, heart aches, anger, good times, bad times, and some confusing times too. So, let’s look forward to 2017, and whatever comes our way, let’s face it with determination and dignity, just as our ancestors would have done, in the face of difficulty.

I’ll see you all in the new year, and hope you and your families are blessed throughout it! God bless you all!

This is Feather, signing out!

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