Atlantis Alumni

Friday, September 3, 2010

Photo 1: Santa Maria del Mar, 2: Cathedral, 3: interior Santa Maria, 4 to 6: Cathedral interior and exterior and cloister with noisy geese.

After disembarking from the Celebrity Equinox we made our way into Barcelona, a city we last visited almost 20 years ago. Our hotel, Le Meridian, is located on the famous Ramblas, the long street teeming with tapas cafes, shops and people. Luckily, we have a quiet room in the back of our hotel. We spent the afternoon on our own walking tour of the Gothic quarter (Barrio Gotico) and La Ribera. We discovered many Gothic buildings we had not see on previous visits, such as the Placa del Rei. The church of Santa Maria del Mar in La Ribera is an impressive Gothic church, one of the most beautiful in Barcelona, with a simple interior, a tall nave and hundreds of lit, red glass candles throughout the building. Of course, a visit to the massive Barcelona cathedral is a must. It is full of magnificent and huge gilt altarpieces, containing religious statues and paintings. They range in time from the 14th through the 18th century. The simplicity of the late Medieval paintings contrasts powerfully to the ornate Baroque altars, with fervid saints and angels posed between twisting Salamanca columns. There is a lovely Gothic cloister in back of the cathedral, with side chapels surrounding a grassy area of palm trees, fountains and pools. There were noisy, big white geese honking and swimming alongside goldfish in the ponds, a bizarre and amusing addition to an urban cathedral. We were astonished at the beauty and scale of the cathedral’s massive interior, and delighted by its soft yellow lights that infused the building with a spiritual quality, despite the throng of tourists walking on its ancient floors. While Jim waited in the hotel lobby for the room, glued to his laptop, Dan explored some music shops on the Ramblas. He was lucky to find and buy some music scores for delightful Spanish zarzuelas. Zarzuelas are like operettas, with spoken dialogue and sung musical numbers, but are often more serious in subject matter. Today we will be on a reserved tour to the Palau del la Musica Catalana, with its ornate art nouveau interior. The hop-on-hop-off city tour bus also beckons.
--Jim and Dan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A travel program that I watched last week showcased Barcelona, so I actually recognize some of the places you are referencing. Thanks Jim; have a great time.