The rain is pouring down here this morning, echoing in the chimney, pattering on the skylight, and dulling the already muted garden. Sunny Spain seems eons ago. I've spent the past two days doing very little and feel great! Later this morning I'm off to school to see what my students got up to while I was away.
Our group of 14 arrived in Barcelona around noon, after 24 hours in transit. We all slept more on the plane going there than on the return flights. Our guide, Silvia, met us at the airport and we dropped our luggage off at the hotel, then hit the ground - walking rather than running.
Barcelona is a beautiful city with the soft air that comes from being near the Mediterranean. Beautiful architecture, interesting sights, great food - there is much to appreciate about it. Narrow streets bordered by tall buildings meant that one had to look up to see sky and trees, while maintaining an eye on the ground for uneven cobblestones, and also looking straight ahead to prevent bumping into the many people on the streets.
Looking up along La Rambla.
More looking up - the Umbrella House, also known as Casa Bruno Cuadros - is distinctive for the ceramic umbrellas and fans decorating the house. There is also a dragon. The original owner of the house owned an umbrella shop on the main floor, hence the decor and name.
Looking up to see intricate light fixtures. They are everywhere in many styles.
The sheer number of decorative features in this photo make it a busy one, but the busyness typifies the city to me.
If you've been watching the news recently, you might have heard about protests and demonstrations in Barcelona. They occurred in the square reflected in the photo above. While we were there, quiet groups of people with posters and signs stood in front of the buildings, watched carefully by police, but there was no violence. That changed later, after we left.
I quite like the distorted shapes of reflected buildings in the window.
Light slants in another narrow passageway.
We were almost ready to leave the city and head back to our hotel. In the Plaza de la Catedral a talented guitarist had been playing and singing, filling the air with lovely, gentle melodies. A street performer created bubbles that floated up and up before bursting into nothingness. As we prepared to leave the square and head off for dinner, the guitarist began singing a song that my students knew well from Spanish class. I use it for teaching some grammatical concepts, but also for culture.
The students looked at me, wide-eyed, "Mrs. Orr, - it's Vivir mi Vida!" They started dancing and singing along. Tears pricked my eyes as I thought of how wonderful it was to have these students see that what they had learned in the classroom was a part of real life. That moment was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
My next post will be about the Gaudi architecture that Barcelona is so famous for.