Barcelona, Spain

by CameronM Sun, November 09 2003 08:07

Today I ventured out on the Barcelona Metro to explore the city. Thankfully it is well signed and the easy to understand maps are everywhere, so it's fairly easy to find what you're looking for. Walking the streets away from the Gothic area where the hostel and many other tourist attractions are located, I found the city street very quiet. Most of the shops are closed on Sundays, and only the busy tourist areas attract the crowds.

First stop was La Sagrada Família, the unfinished cathedral built by Barcelona's famous designer Gaudi. Gaudi is responsible for numerous buildings, sculptures and other, shall we say "designs", around Barcelona, and this is certainly classic Gaudi (read: weird). The spires of the cathedral are decorated with, what appears to be bunches of fruit, complete with colour. The whole effect is as if each spire is an ice-cream sundae. Unfortunately, due to the scale of the building, and the ever-present beggars, it was impossible to get a good photo of the sundae (oops I mean cathedral), but you'll have to trust me.
Gaudi purists are up in arms that the government is finishing the cathedral, (as you can see by the cranes), while others are in favour. La Sagrada Família was left unfinished when Gaudi died after being hit by a tram in 1926. His last blueprints for the building were also destroyed during the Spanish Civil War in 1938, leaving an incomplete picture of his final design. The interior of the cathedral is still an empty void, although you can get a fair idea of the space and style he would have created.

In addition to the spires, the cathedral is decorated with the usual compliment of strange, mythological creatures, and even stranger sculptures, it's an eye-catching exterior, which certainly impresses the viewer with detail. If you look to the left of the picture just near the top, you can see some of the coloured fruit (it's red).

Leaving Barcelona behind, I boarded the bus to the airport and was soon winging my way to back to Stansted. I managed to clear customs and board a train to Liverpool Street half and hour earlier than I expected, and following my trip plan downloaded from the London Transport website, I continued to get completely stuffed. After waiting 20 minutes at the specified bus stop, I realised the bus no longer stopped there so I walked/ran about 1km to the correct (I hoped) bus stop. Being as it was late, the regular buses had ceased operating and a less regular Night Bus service was in effect. I didn't think this a problem, until I arrived at Waterloo station 5minutes after the last train had left.

After a few minutes, when I believe my brain was utilising all possible resources stuck in a cycle of blame, counter-blame and eventual denial - the result of which was extreme overload, I contemplated finding a night bus that would get me some where near Wimbledon. Having not even done the trip during the daylight, combined with the fact that I had never walked around this area before, it was going to be a formidable task. Luckily as I rounded the corner heading to the bus stop, a quasi-taxi driver approached and after wheeling and dealing I was on my way to Wimbledon. In fact the wheeling and dealing consisted of him telling me how much and me telling him I had very few pounds, as I had just returned from Spain, but what ever the case I was going home.

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