Day 1230 (Barcelona, Spain)

Friday, May 27, 2016

Barcelona, Spain

We had two sights to explore today, Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Basilica and Museo Picasso.  We began with a substantial buffet breakfast at our hotel, tastefully arranged with tempting pastries, cereals, eggs, juices, all the basics and all very good.

After breakfast, we took the metro to the Sagrada Familia stop just before 9 a.m.  Seeing the church for the very first time is awe-inspiring.  The front exterior is like something from a religious sci fi movie, a forest of concrete and sculpture.  They're still working very hard on the church.  There were three cranes high above the tallest towers.  It won't be completed until 2026.

In front of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's masterpiece

When it's finished, this will be the tallest church in the world

There was heavy construction going on when we visited

The Passion facade

The Nativity facade

The inside of the basilica is like walking inside a brightly lit concrete forest.  No picture can adequately capture the beauty of this cathedral.  It radiates warmth, happiness, and above all, genius.  It's unlike anything I've ever seen.

It's like walking inside a brightly lit concrete forest...

...with trees reaching to the sky

I was struck by the bright, colorful interior

Light is everywhere, from towers... stained glass windows

At 10 a.m., we took an elevator to the top of one of the bell towers that featured great views of the neighborhood and spheres of the church.  We descended a narrow spiraling staircase on the way down. 

There are so many different components to this church, so much to see and take in that it's impossible to absorb everything in one visit.  We stayed until noon, then took the metro back to our hotel for a short rest before our 2 p.m. entry to the Picasso Museum.

Heading to the Picasso Museum

Science and Charity

La Nana

Picasso painted more than 50 versions of Les Meninas

The Picasso museum was amazing and so well laid out.  Very impressive!  Picasso had the goods from a very early age.  By the time he was 14 he was already painting with uncanny maturity.  We walked through the entire museum in about 90 minutes.  By then we were hungry and tired.  We headed into the heart of the old town for a bistro I'd read about called Cafe Bliss.  It was only ten minutes away.  Lunch was very good and so filling.  We had salad, beer, pasta, and dessert.

Cafe Bliss, quaint, good, relaxing

After lunch, we went back to our hotel and napped for a while.  Austin crashed hard, sleeping soundly.  An hour or so after our nap, Alice and I took a leisurely walk around our neighborhood, ending up in the large Plaza de Catalunya, where he had refreshments at a small cafe table, blending in with the buzz of the square.  It was here that I asked Alice for her hand and proposed with a ring I'd been carrying since leaving San Francisco.  Alice was surprised and didn't want to jinx the great five-year run we'd already had togetjer, but she said yes and we stayed at our table for another 30 minutes, not really changed but certainly sensing the weight of the moment.  Proposing is a nerve-racking ordeal and I'm glad it's behind me!  I'm so very happy with my sweet Alice Wu!

Plaza de Catalunya where I asked Alice to marry me

Happy together!
We walked around the Plaza, then down a side street where we found a fun tapas restaurant to hang out.  We retrieved Austin from the hotel and returned to the restaurant, where we ate several small plates for the next few hours.  It was a wonderful evening that I'll never forget.  

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