Saturday, June 09, 2012

Travelogue: Barcelona

Michael and me on the roof of the Cathedral of Barcelona

Right after the semester ended Michael and I left on our anniversary trip to Europe.  We feasted our eyes (and our stomachs too) in Barcelona, Nice, and Florence.   I'm sure part of it is that everything was new to me, but I kept seeing one strikingly beautiful thing after another.

One of the first places we visited was La Boquería market where produce, candy, meat and fish were artfully arranged and very photogenic.  The colors and textures were very seductive and we ended up taking bags of goodies back to our apartment.

Griffins (?) on the roof of the Maritime Museum

Barcelona is an old city, founded by Roman soldiers around 15 BC as a military outpost.  Remnants of the original city wall, built in 350 AD, can be seen in various places in the old city.  Different styles of architecture from diverse periods in history can be seen side by side.

Doorway in the Barri Gotic

Sculptural medallion on the Teatre Principal
 I'm a closet history buff, and the history of Barcelona is fascinating to me.  One of the best museums we saw was the Museu d'Historia de Barcelona on the Plaça del Rei, next to the Cathedral.  They have an extensive excavation of a Roman site under a medieval palace, and you can see the way one era's structures are layered over another.  Interestingly, part of the Roman ruins included a textile dye works, weaving equipment, and a laundry: yes, the important stuff.

Upstairs, in the palace part of the museum, was an exhibit on the importance of calico or "indianes" production to the economic development of the city. 

Cathedral of Barcelona
 We visited the Cathedral of Barcelona twice.  It's an imposing structure begun in 1298, and built over several centuries.

The interior is almost completely accessible to tourists, unlike other major churches we visited on our travels.  The video screens you see in the picture above remind visitors how to behave in church.  No kidding.

We took the elevator to the roof for a panoramic view of the city and for a close-up of the spires of the cathedral.  

Among Barcelona's architectural  claims to fame is the Modernista movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Modernisme is Catalan Art Deco.  We went to a concert at the Palau de la Música Catlana, an excellent example of the style.

Ceiling detail, Palau de la Música Catalana

Ceiling detail
You gotta love people that decorate their buildings with flowers.

detail, Casa Lleó Morera, Lluis Domenech i Montaner, architect, 1864/1902

Another architectural bauble
And of course there were many Madonnas. 

Here's my favorite of the Barcelona bunch: Mare de Déu del Carme, taken in Santa María del Pi church. 

I'll be back more regularly now, with more stitching and with the rest of this travelogue. 


Judy S. said...

Welcome home! Wonderful photos. It looks like you had a terrific trip? Aren't those catherdrals amazing? (Especially when you consider building with no modern machines....) Bet the view from the roof was fabulous!

Debra Spincic said...

And of course the Madonnas! Will enjoy seeing every one that you post.

Glad to have you back blogging.

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Welcome back. It looks like you had a wonderful adventure. The photos are fabulous. I always love seeing the elaborate cathedrals. It amazes me how much one would miss if they didn't look up when visiting European cities. The ceilings you've shown are so beautiful. I look forward to some more of your photos.

quiltmom said...

What a magnificent ceiling Barbara- I love stain glass and some of my favorite parts of touring overseas was visiting the churches. They always had stunning windows and beautiful architectural details.
Happy Anniversary to you and Michael.
Warmest regards,

Magpie Sue said...

So much eye candy! What a wonderful trip you must have had. I have to admit, I never paid much attention to Barcelona before but you've whetted my appetite. Now I'd love to see it someday! :- )