My short week in Barcelona is finished and I am back in Minnesota. It was much too short. Long hours of work filled most of the days but Saturday I was able to go out and see the city I have come to love.
Barcelona is a city made for walking and I have taken full advantage of that. My hotel was on Diagonal, near plaza Frances Macia. My day started with a walk along Diagonal all the way to Provenca where I could see the Sagrada Familia rising behind the buildings. Turning onto Provenca, I walked to the church and went in for a tour. The inside of the main sanctuary is now completed and is used daily. It is truly an amazing structure and should not be missed if you visit the city.
Leaving the church, I walked back toward Rambla Catalunya along Mallorca. By this time the entire city was awake and out walking. Every street was full of people, many families pushing baby strollers or walking with little ones. It was hard to believe that just two days earlier, there were people bruning things in the streets and breaking windows.
I turned onto Rambla Catalunya and walked down toward the old city. This was the Saturday before Palm Sunday and the palm sellers were lining both sides of the walk. They were selling palms woven into the most beautiful designs, much like origami but made with palm leaves rather than paper.
I passed Plaza Catalunya and walked into the old city on Las Ramblas. That crazy street was just as crazy as I remembered. Thousands of people of all ages were walking, talking playing and laughing. The bird sellers and the flower sellers were there. The buskars were there of course, a couple of them I recognized from past visits. A bit further down the usual scam artists were working the shell game with some tourists. Las Ramblas is something you really should see, but once every few years is often enough.
I continued down to the old port and out to the end of the pier where I stopped at the tapa place for a quick snack and half an hour of uninterrupted people watching. It was great; my Saturday was absolutely wonderful.
A quick walk back to my hotel finished the six mile walk. I rested for an hour or so and then set off to go to mass at Santa Maria Del Mar, a beautiful old church in the Born district. The mass was supposed to be at 7:30 so I tried to arrive at seven. If there were big crowds, I would be able to get in early. If there was no crowd, I could get a glass of wine and a bit of cheese at the tapa place in front of the church and relax for a while.
When I arrived the place was packed. I assumed I had read the time wrong so I hurried inside and found an open spot. The priest was reading the gospel and everyone was standing so I couldn’t see the area in front of the altar. When he finished and everyone sat down, I saw a bride and groom in the front. I had walked into a wedding mass that was preceeding the regular Palm Sunday vigil mass.
After all the walking I had done, I decided I was meant to rest my aching feet right there. I stayed for the wedding mass and the vigil mass before slowly walking back toward the hotel. Just a few blocks from the church, I saw a wonderful little tapa place with a table that was calling my name. After a glass of delightful Rioja wine and some manchego cheese, I made my way back to the hotel, exhausted but very happy.