April 21, 2010 We chose an audio guide tour for Barcelona, which meant we could wander on our own, yet still have a "guide" of sorts.
Barcelona, population of 3 million, is the second largest city in Spain. The people are lively and proud of their culture and and city. Barcelona is clean (sweepers are a common sight) and its many historic buildings and monuments are well preserved.
Greeks and Phoenicians settled here in 4th century B.C. Romans came, conquered and occupied until 5th century A.D. In 711 Moors from Africa brought Muslim religion and influence. 9th century: independence and Catalonia developed; built fleets of ships, buildings, art then a decline "brought about by the discovery of the New World". The Suez Canal opened in 1869. "... only since Franco's death in 1975, and the crowning of King Juan Carlos I, that the Catalonian language and culture has again been allowed to flourish and regional autonomy granted".
An old drinking fountain:
We didn't have enough time to visit the Picasso Gallery, which houses over 2,000 of Picasso's earlier works. Picasso came to Barcelona at 14 to study art. Guadi's works, however, can be seen throughout the city: curved construction stones, twisted iron sculptures, colourful tile mosaics.
A church, one of many 13th century buildings in the Gothic Quarter.
Most of the old buildings were built from stone. Soldiers sharpened weapons on this stone wall many years ago:
Even in the narrowest of alleys we found shrines or memorials set back in alcoves carved into stone walls.
For five centuries a gaggle of geese has lived in the Barcelona Cathedral cloister. It is thought that they originally served as a security measure, bahonking someone's arrival I suppose. Anyway, they're a popular attraction.
However, I preferred this happy gaggle:
School kids at play in colourful smocks.
Inside the cathedral something from this century: coin operated LED "candles".
Hopefully Lloyd will post more photos, and better photos.