Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 05/05/11
IBERIA2001 #16 Casa Batlló to ANDORRA
We get up late but still time to see something so we drive the 35 minutes from Jairo’s house in Bellaterra through the 5 Tunels de Villvedrea to Passiege de Gracia in the Eixample (eye-sham-pull = Expansion) of Barcelona. It is a huge beautiful boulevard ala Paris. We find a place to park and have no idea how to handle paying for street parking so we ignore it. One advantage is that tickets are not a problem for us (we have a ton of them from Italy and UK). We find the most famous Gaudí house, the Casa Batlló (photos). It also is absolutely fabulous. Gaudí's idea was to make it like a dragon. Here in Spain, St. George (Jordi) and the dragon is a big thing. The front surface of the building is supposed to represent the skin (photo) of the dragon and the roof is his back (photos). The spire is St. Georges lance with the cross at the top. It is really amazing. Gaudí often became so elaborate that many homeowners went bankrupt paying for all his quirky ideas. Very fascinating. We then went around the corner and found the Foundacio Antoni Tápies, which is the very first example of Modernisme in the Eixample. From the photo you can see the wire sculpture on the roof, which is called Chair in Cloud. It has been there for almost 100 years. Then I went for a very nice run down the parallel street (Carrer de Catalunyas) which runs right into the grand Placa de Catalunya (where Las Ramblas starts) which is the second largest square in a major city (Red Square is one sixth larger). Here there is a monument to Macia, which is an upside down staircase. Why, no one knows. Just behind it is the Hard Rock Café. The Corte Ingles is nearby and it is like the Nieman-Marcus of Spain. Also I got a shot of the typical black and amarillo (yellow) taxi cab next to their ubiquitous and always empty trash (basura) cans. While I ran, Marcia relaxed and read with an iced tea at Bem ber in the boulevard in the middle of the street. I joined her and had a guess what after changing in the McDonalds near our car. The bathroom there was incredible with marble and beautiful facilities. We then toured the area and saw other examples of Modernisme. Jairo was to pick us up for dinner, so Marcia changed in McDonalds while I had a tapas at Tapa Tapa, which was very nice. He picked us up and drove to the Cancosta Restaurant in Port Vell and we joined and old friend of his, Ray, who he went to school with in Cartagena, Columbia (where Jairo is originally from). He practices ENT in New Jersey for the past 20 years. His wife and daughter were very nice. We all joined in for paella, the classic Spanish dish (photo) which is good but I may tire of this since its primarily rice with maybe 2 shrimp, a mussel and a langostino. Mine seemed pretty red until I discovered I had sliced my index finger with the langostino. We finished dinner at 1 AM and then took a long walk along the beach into the Olympic Complex Center, which was built for the 199¿ Olympics. It was very modern and lively with many discotheques and music. We all had gelati and then walked back to the car. We picked up our car (parked there all day) and had no ticket. When we arrived home it was 4 AM.
As you can imagine, we did not jump up early for a run. By the time we got moving it was 5 PM so we drove to Jairo's Clinic in Sabadell (suburb city). There I examined the last two patients that Dimitrii implanted phakic IOLs in. One was -27 myopia and the other -14. They looked beautiful. It was too late now to go to the Picasso Museo or go to the Zoo (where Snowflake lives, the only albino gorilla existing in the world). We will have to do that on the way back. I decided to do my run in the city here and it was very nice. Found a shop with a memory stick floppy drive converter for only $80 ($100 in Barcelona). My SONY 3 ½ inch floppy drive that we ordered on the web arrived so at least now I have a way to get photos from my SONY computer (or the Camcorder) to an internet café computer - we will see. After my run, Maite joined us and she took us to Sagardi for tapas dinner. You pick the things you want and each one has a large toothpick in it. When you are done, they count the toothpicks and multiply by 70 cents. A couple glasses of tinto (red wine) to wash it down or apple cider. This time I enjoyed it very much and did feel satisfied when I was done. We had coffee outside in the main square afterwards. Dimitrii called and told me he did the same thing Marcia did when we took him and Tania to the Sequoias, he locked his car key in the trunk. So today he is driving from Forte di Marmi to Milano to get the other key.
This is our last day in Barcelona. Manuel, Irene's friend travel agent, has booked us a room at the Roc de Caldes Hotel (00-376-862-767) in the tiny independent country of Andorra, which is between Francia and España in the Pyrenees mountains. It is only 2 hours from here. We have been coddled here and it is easy to stay and get used to. Jairo and Maite and his two sons Jairo and Robert have been wonderful and very hospitable. We shall not forget this. If you do not hear any more from us you will know that the computer deal is not working. So the best way to reach me is by calling the cell phone below. Off to see the rest of Spain and Portugal!
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #17
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
Bellaterra, Barcelona, España
[1) Typical black & yellow taxi and ubiquitous trash (basura) cans, 2) Casa Batlló roof like a dragon (St. George) at night, 3) Same during the day, 4) Front of Casa Batlló, 5) The skin of the dragon, 6) Central front window of the house, 7) Typical paella from Concosta, 8) Upside down stairway monument to Macia, 9) Fundacio Antonio Tápies, 10) Wire display on roof of Tápies, 11) Statue of a bull posing as Rodin's The Thinker.]
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