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            For the first time we are on our own.  We passed up the invitation to go sailing for 6 hours on Jairo’s boat.  Instead we dug the car out of the garage, put the GPS on and headed for the Barri Gottic and the Barcelona Cathedral.  I went to Mass while Marcia parked the car.  They have a wonderful system of underground parking.  Special detectors in the pavement tell whether a car is there and they keep count of the empty spaces and show it on a sign at the entrance.  The only thing they need down there is air conditioning.  Believe me this is not a backward country by any means.  You can buy my camcorder in any shop and the darn digital tape is for sale here way cheaper than what I paid at Costco and lugged across the Atlantic.  After Mass we toured the Cloister and Marcia had lunch (Hungarian goulash) at a East European restaurant (Vildsvin) while I went for my run and wound up running down Las Ramblas past Colón across the bridge to Port Vell and the all new Olympic Park.  There was a cool breeze and it was perfect.  I joined Marcia and we walked the Gottica through the Royal Square (semi-seedy with old woman openly selling pornographic 8 mm movies, if you can believe it).  We actually gave in and ordered chicken at a KFC on Las Ramblas (they even had extra crispy) and I have to admit it was good.  From there we got a good view of Las Ramblas and watched street tango dancers performing.  We stumbled into my first internet café ever and the 1st 15 minutes were free after buying a cappuccino.  It was a MAC computer and no way to put in a floppy disk for photos.  But at least I know how to do it now.

We got the car out and headed north west to Park Güell.  Mr. Güell adored Gaudí and after he built his house for him (Palau Güell) the two of them collaborated to buy a large piece of vacant land and set up a housing development project different from any other.  They got the walls, gate and public areas started and then for some reason the whole thing went to hell.  The city finally took it over and preserved it and developed it as a public park called Park Güell.  Like his others works we have seen, it is also quite incredible and to me, very beautiful.  You can decide for yourself.  The lizard fountain is so unusual it has become a symbol of Gaudí and Modernisme.  As well known are these long undulating special seating benches made of chips of broken ceramics.  The room full of closely placed columns is eerie and beautiful - serving no purpose whatsoever.  From the top terrace you can see all of Barcelona to the Sea.  From here we went to Hotel Havana for a glass of cava, had some dinner and the GPS brought us right back to Jairo’s house.  We are hoping to leave tomorrow and do not know when or if we will be able to send photos again.  Should be able to at least send a note at internet cafes.

 

 

KJH                                                                  Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #16 

Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD

KHofferMD@AOL.com         RETURN TO INDEX           

Bellaterra, Barcelona, España

SENT 8-15-01

PHOTOS: 15ParkGuell

[1) Entry stairs in Park Güell, 2) The special benches designed by Gaudí, 3) The room of columns, 4) Designed area, 5) The entry gate to Park Güell, 6) The main hall, 7) Gaudí’s special lizard has become of symbol of his work, 8) KJH near lizard, 9) Plaque with name of park, 10) Another of the benches]

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