Heather in Rome

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - St. Augustine

Saturday, January 7

3 Days in Barcelona

I'm at the end of my 11th day of vacation and using an American keyboard to type (courtesy of my friend Neil from the Newman Center who is studying abroad in Canterbury) so hopefully my vacation summary thus far won't take a long time to write. It will probably be a long time before I get my pictures from vacation (the disadvantage of using film) so sorry that you won't have visuals to go along with my adventures.

I left on the 27th of December for Barcelona. I decided to go there because it was a relatively cheap ticket from Rome and one of the closest destinations of Ryan Air to Lourdes, France. I didn't know anything about Barcelona, but one of the girls from school said I would love it. So I went. All moms will panic, but I went by myself. I traveled solo until the 3rd of January. I wasn't nervous when I planned everything, but the day before leaving I felt very unprepared and nervous. Once I got going though, and started getting to places, I settled into the travel rhythm and got the hang of it.

Barcelona ended up being a wonderful city. It's very Catholic and is full of small brick-laden streets, hidden courtyards, and life. I stayed in the Gothic Quarter near Las Ramblas, the street with a walk mall in the middle, complete with bird and hamster and flower vendors, artists, and lots of people. There's an outdoor market (St. Joseph's) that sells produce, bread, and meat that is always alive with activity. The Cathedral front is covered with scaffolding as it is renovated, but the inside is beautiful. Dark chapels, high ceiling, Mass daily at 7 pm in the front St. Joseph Chapel. The language of the region is Catalan, which is a mixture of Spanish and Italian with some French thrown in, so I didn't understand a lot of the homily most times, but I managed to figure out 5 of the 6 readings for 3 Masses. That was nice because when I went to France, I was clueless.

Besides wandering around the Gothic Quarter, discovering new places tucked away, and going to the cathedral, I visited La Sagrada Familia (the Holy Family Church) and Montserrat. La Sagrada Familia was started by Gaudi in 1882 and still isn't finished. Construction continues and is expected to go for another 50-80 years. The church looks strange from far away, but up close the facades are so complex and detailed with images from Jesus' life. One facade shows image from His life and the opposite facade shows His passion and death. The outside is wonderful and hopefully the inside lives up to the outside when it is completed.

Montserrat is a popular pilgrimage place for the region and it is a Benedictine monastery about an hour train ride out of the city. It is 4000 feet up from the ocean and the vegetation and rock formations look very similar to So Cal on the way to Mtn. High. I went to Mass at the monastery and then walked on a path with statues and paintings of the mysteries of the Rosary to a small chapel. There were few people on this walk so it was good prayer time. I was in the chapel by myself for 20 good minutes, which was a blessing. I also rode a tram to the top of the mountain and walked in the sunshine and back down to the monastery. It was a good day, tiring and cold but peaceful.

So that's Barcelona. Beautiful city, glad I went. Now I look to France, where I went on the 30th of December.


Post a Comment

<< Home