Gaudi – Casa Mila & Casa Batlló – Barcelona 10/19/2014

Today we visited two Gaudi designed home complexes. We also did Rick Steve’s Gothic walk which took us to the high fashion marketplace stores as well as to the Barcelona Cathedral. We finished by touring on bus the waterfront district. After getting off the bus near St Pauls Hospital we stopped at an outside spanish restaurant for wine and dinner.

Once again we were a little sluggish about getting going today. We had purchased a two day pass on Barcelona City Tour Hop On/Off Buses for use today and tomorrow. After breakfast, showers etc., we left to catch our bus about 10 am. We never changed our camera time, so our photo times don’t help us easily. We took our first picture at Gaudi’s the Casa Mila – , “La Pedrera” at around 10:30 am.

We did run into issues with streets blocked due to Catalonia Independence walks and festivities. The Hop On/Off bus had to take different routes. The streets were extra crowded. It was a very festive day!

La Pedrera was a Gaudi designed apartment complex. Words cannot describe what you see in Gaudi’s work. You are allowed to tour the entrance, the roof, the attic and an apartment. Each apartment can be configured anyway the owner wants  since there are no load bearing walls at all.

Casa Mila, “La Pedrera”

We included many touring photos of the home(s) because each is a little different and we wanted those that may care to see more.

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Casa Batlló 

One hop off bus stop down from La Pedrera, you find Gaudi’s spectacular masterpiece – Casa Batlló.

Prior to this tour, we had lunch at a spanish Burger King. They had the best toilets in Barcelona!

Again, we included many, many photos for those who want to see the “tour” in pictures.

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Gothic Walk – Barcelona Cathedral 

We used Rick Steve’s travel guide’s Gothic Walk. In trying to find St Mary’s Church (1st step), we got lost. In backtracking we realized Rick said take door#29 to get to Church. It turns out that door was closed as was the Church.

We did see many fashionable stores on this walk. Milly and I don’t like shopping so we passed on visiting these stores.

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Buildings Viewed on the Streets of Barcelona Today

As our Hop On/Off took us to our various destinations, we passed many an interesting building.

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Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s Holy Family Church 10/18/2014

We didn’t out of the B&B until late morning 11:00 am or so.

We walked passed ST Paul’s Hospital complex which looked like it contained at University, a major Art Museum as well as a hospital. We only got lost a couple of times. We were glad to have our Ipad Google Maps to show us where we were and that we went the wrong direction again. It was about a 45 minute walk.

Walk to Sagrada Familia

When we got near this Holy Family Church, there was a Jazz Festival in process on the street in front of the Church. We listened for a while before getting in line for tickets. There were no tickets left for the Towers so we got a general admission ticket for 3:45 PM. We went to the McDonald’s across the street for lunch. While we were there, we made a 6:30 PM reservation to go to Gaudi’s Parc Guell.

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Sagrada Familia

We entered the Holy Family Church of Sagrada Familia at 3:45 PM.

To say we were impressed is an understatement. As Milly told me “Now I know where the term Gaudy came from”!

After visiting all the Ancient Churches in Rome, Greece, Istanbul and Naples, this was modern, different and very differently inspiring.  This was the capstone Church of our trip – no doubt about it.

We are so grateful to Sherwin Goerlitz who first suggested we go to Barcelona to see this Church and to see Gaudi’s other works. Our daughter Kim also loved Barcelona and confirmed Sherwin’s suggestion. We came, we see and we love!

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Another Taste of Gaudi – Park Guell

After leaving the Sagrada Familia, we walked using our Ipad Google Maps to guide us through the streets to Park Guell. This park was designed by Gaudi for his friend Guell. It was designed to be one of the first planned housing communities for the rich. It is quite an impressive design. We saw how Gaudi fashioned trees of rock to hold up walk ways.

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Italian Taste in Barcelona

Our landlord had suggested we go to this italian restaurant  up the street. We arrived about 9 PM, a little early for dinner in Spain. No one spoke english and again no menu with english in it. We forgot out Ipad with its translation App tht we could have used.

The staff there were wonderful. They assigned someone to help us with selections as best they could. We must have had 4 people wait on us. The chief even came out to see how we liked our meal. Milly had an Sir Lanka Clam dish that was excellent. Fred had roast beef that was good as well as some spaghetti that was excellent, We shared dishes. We polished off bottles of red and white house wine.

We noticed that no one else had come in. We were there only customers. We actually had a broken english conversation about how this group was trying to get the restaurant established in this area.




Our B&B in Barcelona – 10/17/2014

The Catholic Answers group had a farewell party on 10/16/2014 from 8 to 9 pm before we pulled into Rome and departed the cruise ship the next morning. It was fun to say a fond farewell to about 100 people with whom we had dined, attended lectures and walked with on many shore excursions.

We left the ship at 6:45 Am, took a shuttle bus to edge of Rome’s cruise port -Civitavecchia. From there, we walked to the train station, bought train tickets to airport. We took a train to major train hub –  Trastevere. From there we connected to a train to Fiumicino Airport. When we got to airport terminal 3, we had a little trouble finding where to check our bags for our Vueling Airlines flight to Barcelona. We caught our 2 pm flight, arrived in Barcelona at 4:30, took a cab to our B&B.

We are staying at El Faro BnB, Carrer de la Vinya 3, 08041 Barcelona España.

For the price, this is a great place! There are 3 rooms sharing common areas. Everything is relatively small but comfortable. We have only met the people in the other rooms as they were leaving to go out. We have had the place to ourselves when we have been there.

We got advice on a good spanish restaurant for our first night’s dinner. We walked following the general directions we got looking for a red lobster sign. When we finally found it, it was very crowded even though we were early at 9 pm for dinner. We decided to find something else. We ended up at an Asian Restaurant. They spoke no english and had no english on their menu. We managed to order a typical chinese dinner. The Rice was good! The rest was passible.

We got a good night’s sleep. We languished in the morning. We didn’t head out until late morning, almost noon. We needed a break I guess and we both knew it.

Our B&B Barcelona

Our “home” in Barcelona was  close to our first place to visit – Gaudi’s Holy Family Church:

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Naples & Herculaneum – 10/16/2014

Naples & its Churches

We walked the streets of Naples to visit a number of ancient Catholic Churches. These churches were memorials to early martyrs.

We attended an all italian mass inside the Cathedral of Naples. We visited 2 churches known as the old Jesus and the new Jesus Churches. We also walked down a street of shops dedicated to making and selling Christmas Nativity scenes and pieces.

We found the parts of the city we traversed to be full of graffiti and not very clean.

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The Ruins of Herculaneum

Herculaneum was a small city outside of Naples. It was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 in a different way than Pompeii. Volcanic material travelled down the volcano mountain and hit the city at high speed and very high temperatures. The city was covered by meters of volcanic material. This sealed and preserved it so that even organic materials survive.

It was very informative to have guide walk us through these city ruins. You actually got a feel for what it was like to live there in this roman city about the time of Christ.

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Mykonos, Greece – 10/14/2014

We got off the boat on the island of Mykonos. It was definitely a wonderful setting. Many other smaller islands were visible all around. The stark white homes on the hill sides were beautiful.

We had Mass at the only Catholic Church on the island. The local priest explained that the Greek Orthodox communities didn’t really get along with the few Catholics on these islands but expressed hope that things would improve.

We walked along the streets on the waterfront and then drove to a Greek Orthodox Monastery in the hills. The Church in the monastery was very different. The monk explained to us that their churches didn’t have statues because they were banned in reaction to the pagan statues of the existent culture when Christianity was introduced.

There were about 900 small “churches” on the island. Most of these these Greek Orthodox structures were small and privately owned. Families relocate the bones of their family members to these “churches”. Every year, families would gather and celebrate the lives lived by the family members.  On Mykonos, these structures tended to have brown and white roofs where other Greek settlements had more blue domes.

Mykonos, Greece

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Athens/Acropolis/Pantheon -10/13/2014

Athens & Acropolis

We toured through Athens to reach the Acropolis Museum. This museum was built over the ruins of earlier civilizations. The ruins of these could be seen through glass floors of the museum. Significant number of artifacts were being preserved by being out of the weather. It was pointed out that many other artifacts had been taken to other museums around the world. Many were replaced by reconstructed pieces.

We walked from the museum up to the Acropolis and the Pantheon. The hike up was worth it. Each year more and more reconstruction takes place. People who had been there before commented on how much had been done since they had been there.

We were reminded that St Paul preached to the Athenians here at the Acropolis. Fr. Eric was asked to repeat St Paul’s spreech form a high stone perch above us that overlooked the ancient marketplace.

We were exhausted by the time we got back to the cruise ship. However, the ruins we saw at the Acropolis were impressive. You really got the feel of the ancient pagan culture.  Once again, we were reminded that money made by vendors and business people selling pagan images was a major cause of trouble for St Paul. Seeing the extent of ancient statues and pagan belief system brought with it new insights into the conflicts and difficulties faced by early Christians in spreading the Faith.

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