Day 1 – Barthelona!!

I am currently sailing on the Viking Sea (this was originally written in April 2019 but not properly published until now) on the “Trade Routes of the Middle Ages” cruise from Barcelona, Spain to Bergen, Norway.  We had loooong first day of travel from Los Angeles with a two hour lay over at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.  Although I had planned to hit the town and explore the amazing Barcelona nightlife – I found myself suffering from acute jet-lag and quickly showering and sleeping, after a light roomservice supper to prepare for the next day again.  And I’m glad I did.

After a lite breakfast in the World Cafe I went for a short walk around the Sun Deck to enjoy the morning sunrise and watch the birds follow, what I assume was, a shrimp crawler coming into port. I met our group in the ships theater and headed out.

On the way to our first stop our guide delved a bit into the basic history of this amazing ancient city.  We passed a building near the Marina that was the center of the fighting at the start of the Spanish civil war in 1936.  When I walked by the building later in the day I was able to get a much closer perspective of the extreme damage to the building from heavy gunfire.

Bullet holes from the Spanish Civil War – 1936

Along the drive we passed through the Gothic Quarter with its Roman walls, the once chic Eixample (the “new” quarter), and Vila de Gràcia, originally a small outer village that was eventually gobbled up by the city as it grew.  We finally made our way up the rolling hills to Park Güell (pronounced “way”).

We learned a great deal of Antoni Gaudí, the brilliant architect and artist who designed and constructed Park Güell and the world famous “Sagrada Familia”.  Gaudí was born to a Catalan family and his language and heritage was very important to him.  So much so, that he was once jailed for refusing to speak Spanish to a police officer.  He was born Antoni Gaudí i Cornet in 1852, the son of Francesc Gaudí i Serra (1836-1906), a coppersmith, and Antònia Cornet i Bertran (1819–1876).  Note that in Catalan the word for and is “i”, rather than the Spanish “y”.  They are phonetically the same.  The naming traditions are also the same, in which the child takes the surname of the fathers family with “i” for “and”, followed by the surname of the mothers family (her paternal line).  So we know that Antoni’s paternal grandmother was of the Serra family and his maternal grandmother was of the Bertran family.  The Gaudí family is believed to originally have been of French origin, having moved to Catalonia in the 17th century, and may originally have been Gaudy or Gaudin.  It would have been changed to Gaudí, with a heavy accent on the í, in order to sound traditionally Catalan.

In 1906, around the time of the death of his father who had been living with him, Gaudí moved into the coral colored house pictured above.  One of the few buildings to ever be constructed at Park Güell (60 had originally been planned), this was his final  home for the last 20 years of his life until his death in 1926 when he was hit by a street car and died a few days later.


It was pointed out to us that there were some hints through out the park to Catalonia and the Catalan flag.  At the top of the columns that collect rain water into a large basin below, there are four long water drops that represent the Catalan flag.


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