Some street art we saw in the Plaça del Fossar de les Moreres (Burial Place of the Mulberry Trees). It reminded Jesse of Banksy.
This is the monument in the Plaça. It was built in remembrance of a massacre that occurred on September 11, 1714. The Spanish king conquered Barcelona after a 14 month siege (think the Alamo style) and then slaughtered all the Catalan patriots before outlawing Catalan language, culture, and institutions, laws that were maintained for the next 200+ years. A castle was even built for surveillance and control; nothing could be built beyond the reach of the castle’s cannons. The monument, like so many things we saw, represents Catalan Independence.
We had our jamón, queso, and pan sitting at a bench near the Barcelona Head (by Roy Lichtenstein). We enjoyed people watching from our seats, as many bicyclists, joggers, and casual walkers were passing through this area. The closer we got to the Barcelona beaches, the busier and busier it got.
On that same strip, we also passed by an old building that was being gutted and restored. I guess this must be how many of the old buildings in Barcelona still stand and are fully operational; the original facing is kept, while the internal structures have been ripped out so they can put in modern plumbing and electric lines, as well as update the interior.
We stopped by the sweet little Granja La Pallaresa for dessert and round two of churros. This time we were sure to order them con chocolate. We also ordered some delicious horchata. Ugh. I think the churros we’d had for breakfast were a bit more tasty, but these were amazing with the chocolate. Warning, the chocolate was very rich, but Jesse loved it and gladly ate it by the spoonful. I preferred my churros with a lighter coat of chocolate. The horchata was nutty and delicious, and the cafe was fun and comfortable. Our server was very nice and quite forgiving of my elementary Spanish. 🙂
I really wish I’d worn some sort of pedometer on our trip, because I feel like we probably walked 8+ miles a day. It felt good though, and by the 3rd or 4th day of the trip, my legs were used to it. From the little bakery, we walked down to take a peek at the Sagrada Familia. We opted not to go in though, as the last tickets available were for 8:15 and the Cathedral closed at 8:30. We knew we’d need more time to explore it and take it all in.
We decided to practice taking the metro so we’d be prepared for our early morning departure to France the following morning. We also decided to lose the guidebook and just explore a little bit, we we hopped off at the Arc de Triompf, as the name sounded interesting.
The arc was big impressive, and, like most things in Barcelona, beautiful. It celebrates the removal of a former military citadel that was present until 1888. Much like the USA, Catalunya loves to celebrate freedom and independence, though their battle is still being fought. There was a temporary mirror displayed up. Jesse and I had fun goofing off and trying to come up with some funky, manipulated poses.
We headed back to our apartment, wandering through El Born once again. We stopped by a gelato shop (gelato shops were scattered all over Barcelona) and had a nice chat with the server there. He is studying engineering and has plans of moving to Canada or the USA someday. Gelato in hand, we walked until we found a nice, quiet place to sit and eat our gelato, just off a busy street. We were probably halfway through eating when we actually turned and looked at our surroundings. It was then that we noticed the incredibly old looking wall right behind us. After wandering around admiring it, we a saw a sign that told us that it was part of the old, 2000 year old Roman wall. It is so strange to be able to just stumble into something that old right in the middle of the city.
We passed by the Barcelona Cathedral once again to catch a glimpse of it a night. Crowds had gathered for a concert being performed by a band called “Children of the Devil,” I think. It was enjoyable. While there, we sat for a few moments next to a solo traveler. He had pulled out his DSLR and was going through photos for the day. I saw so many selfie-shots. While solo traveling is something I would love to do someday, as it seems like an incredible growing experience, it made me incredibly thankful to have a travel buddy with me. I loved that I got to make and share a memory with someone close to me.