Barcelona Experience
TMK 01 - 18 - 2010

[Wednesday Jan. 13th] [12p.m. in hotel] Barcelona Well it was a pretty horrible night of sleep on our sleeper train ride from Granada to Barcelona (i seemed to wake every at every intermittent stop in the middle of the night). It was hard to get in the groove for the day ahead. The bus tour with Josefe (Joseph), who I might add looked strikingly like Milton from the movie Office Space, was unique; a different type of city than we've been to so far. Much larger with a greater trend in modern/new urbanism architecture and landscape architecture. We learned that some 75 sculptures in 11 years were constructed, much of which were intriguing points of the streetscape. From Mt. Montuic, which contained the olympic village, we had a great view across the city to the northern mountain which bordered Barcelona. At our first stop around the city at Port Olympico, I loved to see the 'ocean' of sailboats docked as well as the adjacent pier and waterfront walkway [it reminded me of the visions that i have as a boat owner/retiree]. Walking around the city we began to see the architectural and textural inspirations and influences from Antoni Gaudi (building facades/designs, street lamps, paving patterns, his name is everywhere). This city trek ended in a lengthy hike uphill to Parc Guell. Totally worth it! as many of us landscape architects were waiting for this. The structural elements, textures, organization, and detailing made the park an awe inspiring spectacle of landscape architectural creativity. Stone arches and arcades, and vegetation buffered walkways that led to many outlooks over the city at sunset was picturesque to say the least. My knees began to quiver when we reached the highest point, atop the hill, a stone lookout with three constructed crosses that were my only 'grasp' at balance. It made me feel like i was on top of the world though. The hike back completed a most tiring day [about 1.5 hours back to the hotel, including a couple of detours]. Mark and I decided that we had saved enough money on past lunches that it was time to splurge on a fresh, authentic Paella dinner. By recommendation of the front desk, we took the metro [very nice and seemed fairly new/clean] to Port Olympico for a seaside seafood dinner. It was the most awesome dinner experience, a seafood paella served to us in a monstrous skillet complete with mussels, clams, shrimp, prawns, squid?, and the most flavorful spanish rice. A couple of spanish beers later we had finsihed the entire skillet. The fresh seafood paella experience is what I had been waiting for all through Spain, and the water front lighting, plazas, and night views were tremendous. bottom right: [Josefe, our tour guide in front of one of the structures of the solar farm] top right: [view over Barcelona framed by one of the stone crosses at the highest point of Parc Guell]

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