Jet-lagged, smelly and tired, the chaos of an airport is as jarring as a stick shoved up my nose.
I jumped into a taxi with 3 other German women (whom I obviously don’t know and who obviously half-think that I’m up to no good), praying that we were headed in the same direction. Apparently such boldness is still unheard of and they thought me strange, mildly speaking. The moment of communal distrust and anger came when the driver conveniently forgot to add the 12 Euro surcharge that comes when one hails the cab from the airport. I found myself thanking God that I was working and would not feel so much of a cash pinch, readying myself for a blistering fee.
4. En route to alcoholism: Gave in to the urge and bought a carton of Sangria that costs all but a whopping 1 Euro .
The apartment I’m staying in is stylish, yuppie-looking with hard-wood floors, and decked almost exclusively in white, black and red. By an ironic twist of events, I will have this place to myself. The owner (who is not around), according to his niece Carina, is himself a designer, and furnished the apartment to the tiniest detail.
Walked down the La Rambla for a bit, a wide pedestrian, kilometre-long street leading to the sea with various bric-a-bracs, street performers, pet-hawkers, flower-shops and gypsies but took a sharp right into the the Mercat de Bouqueria, a marketplace of sorts that always draws me in no matter which country I visit.
Took the metro down to La Sagrada Familia, or the Exploratory Temple as they called it – wonderfully gothic with a macabre fairy-tale twist in its spires (if that is what you can even call it), incredibly, bulbously gorgeous, and intended to render speechless. No reservoir of words can righteously describe it – but Let’s Go Guide says it more irreverently: “Even if you have to crawl there, you must see it”.
It is a startling sight, despite the unsightly cranes and scaffolding.
Conceived in the late 19th century, construction is still unfinished, and thankfully still on-going. It is not a Cathedral (for that honours belongs to some other Catalan Cathedral built in the corresponding time period), but rather some kind of allegorical edifice linked to the Christian cosmos of Christ, The Virgin, His evangelists, Virtues and Sin.
I went back via the Ruta de Modernisme (apparently not only Gaudi’s buildings lay along this route) walk and in the district of the L’Eixemple and the Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona seems to be stuck in a 1920s time-warp, at least from the faded glory of the buildings and their gently gilded balconies.