Wednesday, October 1 - Barcelona

Wednesday, October 1 - Barcelona
This was certainly the best day yet in Barcelona.  For starters, the weather was perfect,  Secondly we had a plan and it worked out really well.  We'd heard from a few people that they'd been unable to get inside La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's masterpiece basilica, because of long lines and wait times.

  We'd been unable to get advance tickets online, or to book a "skip-the-line" tour, so were concerned.  We decided to devote as much of the day as necessary to seeing it.  We left our hotel early, grabbed a very fast breakfast at the McDonald's across the street, and took the subway to the nearest stop.  The lineup at 8:45 was already long, but as soon as the ticket office opened at 9, it moved quickly.  We were on our way inside at 9:30.  By then the line was about double what we'd found, so those folks would have a long wait [as after that they would wait for a period to get in at their allotted time].  Neither of us really expected to love the interior since we had seen a lot of Gaudi's work including the exterior of La Sagrada Familia itself over the last few days that we didn't really care for -- impressive yes, beautiful no. But, my goodness!! the interior is entirely different and breath-takingly gorgeous!  [ don't forget to click pictures for a full view ]

It really is a sacred space in every way.  Even with several hundred people inside it was hushed.  We sat and wandered for 90 minutes just taking it all in: the beautiful, ever changing patterns of light through the stained glass windows, the graceful columns, and all the details large and small.  So worth the effort to get there. Actually, worth the whole trip to Barcelona.  We took an elevator up one of the towers, where we could see some of the roof details close up.

We thought we would have to climb down the steep, winding, dark stairs, but were able to come down in the elevator.  That was a relief!!  We made a circuit of the building on foot afterward, to get the full view of the outside.   While we were in the basilica, we noticed that rules of dress have radically changed.  We had read that knees and shoulders had to be covered or admission would be refused.  Ha!!  there were short shorts,  halters, micro-minis, tanks etc etc.  I was surprised by a request to remove my hat - then I wanted to cheer!  I grew up in a time when women had to cover their heads in church.  We used to carry scarves to put on so we wouldn't be refused admission.  Now we're on an equal footing ( or heading?) with men, who've always removed their hats in churches.  Wahoo!  Let's hear it for equality! Even if the shifting etiquette is confusing.
Leaving the basilica we used our subway navigational skills to go to a large mall (Diagonal Mar) we'd seen yesterday, to pick up a few things we needed.  We found a great restaurant there, Casa Carmen, where we had the best meal yet in Barcelona.

Then we strolled to the beach and dabbled our toes in the lovely, cool, refreshing Mediterranean.  Walking along the beach we saw a few topless sunbathers, but nothing too exciting.

With more, only slightly flawed, navigation we got back to the hotel, stopping only for a fresh loaf of bread.  It'll be a self-catered supper tonight.
 Link to All Photos for  1 October

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