Yesterday morning our first order of the day was to snag some tickets to the Sagrada Familia, having failed in this endeavor the day before.
We got ourselves a two-day pass for the Metro - the Spanish subway system - as the Hop On Hop Off bus is good for sight-seeing but not especially meant for when you want to get somewhere fast.
We arrived at the Sagrada Familia at 10 am. There's always a staff member standing outside the cathedral gates whose job it is to inform the public of when the next available visiting time is. It could be five hours away, or two, or whatever random number the computer that runs the show dictates. Yesterday at 10 am the next entrance was at 2 pm. This time would not work for us because the previous day the computer at the Park Güell ticket office had assigned us a visiting time of noon yesterday when we purchased our tickets to see the monuments section of the park. So we couldn't possibly squeeze in Park Güell at noon and Sagrada Familia at 2.
We asked the sales person at the ticket office if we could purchase a ticket for 3 pm instead of 2 pm. He said he could only sell us a ticket for 2 pm but if we wanted tickets for 3 pm we could purchase them on our iphone.
Neither of us owns an iphone.
But we figured we'd game the system by coming back an hour later, our logic being that if at 10 am tickets were being sold for 2 pm, at 11 pm tickets would be sold for 3 pm or later. Besides, this would give us just enough time to zip across town on the Metro and see the Casa Batlló, another Gaudi building on our to-see list, get back to buy our tickets to Sagrada Familia by 11, then make it to Park Güell by noon.
Or so we thought.
Anyway, we metroed over to the elegant Barcelona avenue called Passeig de Gràcia where the Casa Battló, a home built by Gaudi in 1906, is located.
Notice Gaudi's roof-top chimney-cover creatures on this building, too, though I found these sculpture creatures not quite as spooky as the ones atop the Perdrera.
The commentaries I've read on Gaudi's work talk about the the tension he created between nature and art. From what I've observed of the creations of Gaudi -who's currently a candidate for canonization by the Catholic Church - I'd say the obvious tension in his work is between sex and religion
The block of the Passeig de Gracia where Casa Batllo is located is called the Block of Discord, as none of the buildings match.
We hopped back on the Metro and made it back to Sagrada Familia at 11:00, by which time the next entrance to the cathedral was now 4:30 pm, which was an even better time for us than 3 pm, as it would give plenty of time to visit Park Güell, eat lunch, and chill a little before visiting the cathedral. Our plan was falling right into place.
Until we entered the entrance gate, turned a corner, and saw that the line to the ticket office, which was non-existent an hour ago, was now hundreds of people - and probably hours - long.
We stood in line without moving for five minutes, by the end of which time our mutual desire to see the Sangrada Familia had withered considerably.
I recalled some words of wisdom once spoken by my daughter Maria when she was a teen-ager and which I've never forgotten: If you don't get to do something you want to do it doesn't really matter because there are so many other things to do.
So Tom and I decided we could most probably live out our lives quite happily even without seeing the Sangrada Familia and that we'd find other things to do.
Though we did get to see the clown hats atop a couple of the spires.
After our failed attempt to secure Sangrada Familia tickets we had to hustle to get to Park Güell for our entrance time - you have half an hour grace period after your appointed time, after which you'll be denied - andd got there a little past noon.
We saw more whimsical Gaudi structures,
More tension between sex and religion?
...and a beautiful panorama of Barcelona out to the sea. That's the Sangrada Familia dominating the skyline.
After we finished seeing Park Güell we decided to hop back on the Hop On Hop Off bus and relax while seeing the city sights from atop the open - air second story of the bus.
The bus took us on a once-around the beautiful Barcelona seaport.
We've decided that today we'll visit the port on foot.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
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