Thursday, August 11, 2011


originally posted May 17/11



I spelt Kaola's name bad! I also forgot to mention that the
day we went back to the Magic Fountain, we were approaching the area
when all of a sudden something fell from the sky. It was some dude's
shorts. Guess he was hanging the laundry or something and the wind
blew it away. They almost hit this dad who was pushing his kid in a random! Also forgot to mention that we arrived in
Valencia to a man playing the accordian and arrived in Barcelona to a
guy performing on his guitar with a mic on the train.


If Jos and I could describe Sagrada Famillia we would say "blown
away". It is really interesting how one person could think of these
intricate designs and then produce them on such a huge scale. We
really love Gaudi's work and after seeing it all, he is even more so
our favourite architect. Sagrada Familia is the Roman Catholic church
that began construction in 1882, and Gaudi began working on it in
1883. To this day, it is still under construction. There have been
guesses as to when it will finish and they range from 8 - 20 years.
For 17 euros, Jos and I got entrance to Sagrada Familia, the lift to
the top and entrance to the Gaudi Museum (which were his former living

Sagrada Familia is a church best described through photos, so when I
finally post them on my facebook and upload on shutterfly, you should
take a look. I am happy to say that when I move onto the next world I
will have been able to say that I have seen Sagrada Familia. I have
seen many cathedrals on my travels and in terms of originality, this
blows the other ones out of the water. It has been under construction
for such a long time and though the interior has been completed, the
exterior still has a way to go. When the entire structure is
completed, I will definitely try to come back to see it in its
entirety. I'm crossing seeing Gaudi's work off of my 30 @ 30 list.


Jos and I have been really sticking to the local Spanish food as much
as we can, but we're Asian, so sometimes the food calls to us. When
Jos' camera battery died, we decided to go back to the B&B to charge
it up and run a few errands. We remember Tony mentioning something
about a Vietnamese restaurant, so when we walked by it, we decided to
eat there. I must confess although we have tried our best to document
all the food we have eaten, we sometimes forget to take pictures
because we are hungry. We ate an appetizer platter that consisted of
fried shrimp rolls, dumplings and wontons wrapped in lettuce. Then we
had marinated pork and grilled gambas (grilled shrimp). It is always
strange to go to another country and eat at Asian restaurants where
people speak the country's language instead of their background
language. Anyway, it was a good meal.


Background & external description: La Pedrera (Casa Mila) has been
declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an apartment that Gaudi
constructed between 1905-1910 and officially completed in 1912. The
upstairs terrace is the highlight of the building which features
different stone sculptures reflecting Gaudi's distinct style infused
with his religious beliefs. The windows' exterior decorations look
like kelp.

Jos and I got into the line which was surprisingly not as long as
expected, however, Jos noticed that people were leaving the line.
There was a staff member talking to them and Jos and I went over to
find out what was going on. She learned that tonight was actually La
Nit Dels Museus (Museum Night). It was an event that apparently
happens one night a month, where 48 museums open their doors to the
public and their international visitors. Jos and I were ecstatic, as
we read the program (only in Catalunian) to see a few of the museums
we were interested in visiting. We were going to save a pretty penny,
as long as we were patient enough to wait in line!

We aimed to visit Museu Picasso, Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate
Museum) and La Pedrera. In the meantime, we would visit Parc Guell,
which was another Gaudi work, as well as the Gaudi Museum.


My experience visiting Parc Guell & Casa Museum Gaudi has reminded me
yet again of the dedication and power of the tourist spirit. It seems
as though many of the world's most beautiful sights and structures are
hidden in out of the way, remote locations. Many of them require
determination as one must trek through forests, mountains, large steep
hills etc. Well Parc Guell is one of those large steep hill treks, not
as bad as the steepest mountain climb I had to do in order to visit a
Buddhist shrine in Chuncheon in South Korea, but it was a long walk
nonetheless. Of course with such treks, there are the smart business
minds that figure out that there will always be the "willing to pay
the money to take a shortcut" people and I did for a second,
contemplate it LOL.

Anyway, when we reached Parc Guell, I briefly thought of the game,
Candyland. It doesn't exactly look like it, but it has that whimsical
feel to it. It was inspired by the English garden city movement. They
are cave-like tunnels, ceiling art, and intricate surprises all over
the park. Jos and I also wanted to get into the Picasso Museum line
relatively early as we assumed lots of people would be attending, so
we kept mindful of the time. There was a quite hilarious part where I
tried to get Jos to do a jumping photo in the cave area and I couldn't
get her face in focus. 20 something odd attempts later, still no
success. Oh well! There were many rock climbing enthusiasts who tried
to climb around the caves and such to take unique and exciting
pictures. Which reminds me that I have to take up rock climbing at
some point...

It took us a bit to get to the actual Museum due to the lack of
signage. It was a quaint house and it was nice to see Gaudi's living
quarters. There was a crucifix that looked similar to the one hanging
in Sagrada Familia, but it wasn't as noticeable so I wonder if many
people see the connection. We would have liked to explore more, but we
needed to leave asap to get into the Picasso line.


The Picasso line was SUPERLOOOONGGG! We had an intoxicating couple in
front of us...probably honeymooners. I don't mean to seem cynical but
the girl kept posing for photos and her partner was doing her photo
shoot. The camera was flashing so much I felt like I wouldn't have
been surprised if the battery would have ran out once they got into
the museum itself! LOL. Anyway, we surprisingly didn't wait that long
- perhaps 25mins. Along with Picasso's exhibit, was a comic exhibit
which displayed political comics and illustrations of WWII and
revolution. A prominent image was the woman holding her crying child.


When we left the museum it was raining. We purchased umbrellas as we
walked. I had wanted to visit the Chocolate Museum, but when we
arrived there, the line-up was superlong. We had to go back to La
Pedrera and since the entrance for Museum Xocolata was only 3 euros we
decided to go another day.


When we got to La Pedrera, the line was crazy long. We devised a plan
to find somewhere closeby to eat and watch the line. When it seemed to
be thinning out, we would go across and wait in line. We found a place
called Samoa that had reasonable prices. We staked a spot that had a
view of the long line. We were worried that the terrace would be
closed down due to the rain. I had a Margherita pizza and Jos had the
vegetarian. When we finally saw the end of the line 1h 30mins later,
we both had 1/4 left and asked to take it out. They gave us a medium
sized pizza box to take with us! LOL. They could have just wrapped it
in the tin foil, but I guess it is also advertising for them.


We were waiting in the line, which we were told could take as long as
1h 30min wait. We were fine with it as long as we could get inside.
While we were waiting, Jos suggested I go into the Fundacio Sunol
which was displaying modern art. I went in and walked through the
exhibit. The first thing I saw was an art piece depicting Mao. Hahaha.
I forgot to mention that there have been quite a few stores emulating
the 1920 women's movement in Asia. Its funny how my East Asian studies
are following me on vacation.


This is yet another example of something I cannot describe in words,
so please take a look at the photos when I send them :) Imagine,
something I can't describe...well, I can, but it will take up a lot of
space and this journal is already quite long, no? I even considered
skipping it and coming back to it a few journals later.

We only had an hour to get through the museum, as we entered at 12am
and 1am is when the museum would close. Jos and I rushed through.
There were a pair of earrings I thought to buy, but didn't realize the
gift shop upstairs didn't have the same things as the one on the
street level where we had to exit. Oh well! There will be other
earrings. I really would have liked to purchase miniature versions of
Gaudi's furniture, but the one they had were bigger than I wanted and
very expensive.

So, in the end, we hit three museums for free, saved a bundle of money
and had a great time. Lucky us! What great timing we had, to be able
to experience this.

I finally finished this journal! Hurrah! There is so much more I could
have said, but then I'd never finish! Pls excuse whatever parts of
this entry do not make sense. I don't have time to look it over~

Until we meet again,

Sam & Jos

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