Traveling in larger groups will create divisions based upon levels of curiosity and interest. There were a couple of people I hardly saw again after the shows. Some people had to leave earlier in the week than us and they had to budget their time accordingly. Not everyone wanted to do the things that Monica and I were excited about and likewise, there were things that other people wanted to do that were stupid and sucked. Monica and I are not interested in things that suck. We weren't able to see everything we wanted to check out, but we were able to see the big things on our list. I wouldn't be at all surprised if one day we found ourselves back in Barcelona. Monica certainly wouldn't have to twist my arm very hard to get me to sign on for another trip to Spain. For your own sanity I'll keep these next few posts brief. I really just want to share some of the pictures. Think of this as a testimonial for Spain's Department of Tourism.
Our first day off was largely spent trying to wrangle everyone together for what was supposed to be a celebratory lunch on us as a way of saying "Thank you" to Samo and Jose. Then it became a vague, "let's meet around 2:00 and see what everyone wants to do" kind of thing that ultimately turned into a "we'll have dinner around 7:00" event. I know, I know... musicians aren't reliable, or prompt as it turns out. We did get to step out some that first day and get a little sample of Barcelona off the beaten path. That's a diplomatic way of saying we got lost again, but we did make it back safe and sound. Narrow, twisted streets with connecting alleys make it possible to be one or two blocks away from where you thought you should be in a heartbeat. Fortunately there is something about getting off track with other people that keeps me from panicking. Plus it gave me a chance to get some city flavor shots.
First things first... breakfast. Breakfast on the Mediterranean Sea, no less This was where I learned that Chris never played a single note in 'Condemned' almost 36 hours after the fact. Hard to care with this view
Lots of phlox, rosemary and lavender in full bloom in Barcelona. This was just one of the many splashes of color we passed walking back to the hotel after our Mediterranean breakfast. Damn! That never stops sounding delicious
This is Marcus standing outside Catedral de Barcelona, which dates back to the 1300's and was built on top of Roman ruins that had been there for one thousand years before that. This is Barcelona's jewel of Gothic architecture. The stark black and white image at the top of this post is also from Catedral
Palau de la Musica Catalana: A music hall built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner. Barcelona gave its architects and artists a lot of creative liberty in an attempt to make the city as unique as possible. A move that has paid off
I couldn't resist paying a little tribute to Beavis and Butthead. We never would have seen this had we not taken a wrong turn, or two... or six. When they were great they were the best. Eventually I'll write about my own Beavis and Butthead moments in the band. Metal provides those moments over and over
All of the street art was relegated to the drop down doors stores use when they are closed. There was nothing on the walls themselves. It seemed to be a sign of mutual respect between street artists and the city. Kinda makes you warm and fuzzy inside
A heavily saturated shot of the square behind another cathedral. This area looked like a movie set and reminded me of a hallucinogenic dream I had that was an entire Terry Gilliam film inspired by The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. This trip touched upon many memories
After walking around for a few hours we started to come back towards the meeting place we had created for any time we needed to catch up with Samo. The last photo above is the open area in front of the cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar which was paid for by the richest families in Barcelona and built by the artisans whose blood, sweat and tears created the Catedral de Barcelona. Santa Maria was to be "the people's church" and it was completed in 1384. As we waited for our dinner date with the rest of the crew the church opened itself to visitors and we were able to spend about twenty minutes snapping away and marveling at what it had to offer.
Santa Maria del Mar
We don't have anything like this in the United States. Gothic architecture is still something bigger than life to us, and it almost seems extraterrestrial in the 21st century. The best we could hope for here would be a shopping mall with Gothic windows and rubber gargoyles
We were very happy to have the opportunity to steal a peek inside Santa Maria del Mar. It was the only chance we had to step into such a time warp. It was Monica's first time inside a Gothic cathedral and she couldn't believe her eyes. It was wonderful to watch her soak it all in
Eventually we all met at a restaurant called Txirimiri and had a leisurely dinner with our hosts and three of the guys from Lord Vicar. Kimi, Milly and Jussi were fun to dine with and I was really glad to have a chance to interact with another band from the Festival. Two of them were from Finland and the third from England, so it was nice to hear people talk about things we'd never hear discussed at home. We had the very best papatas bravas at the restaurant, and my roasted pimento peppers with oil on scrambled eggs sounded like a decent vegetarian option. It ended up being fantastic! I had never seen pimento peppers in their near natural form before. They had the exact same tang that you get with pimento cheese but it was cleaner without all of the other stuff thrown in with it. Delicious! Cary, Stephanie, Monica and I all came back to the hotel together but we decided at the last second to go sit out on one of the long jetties near where we had our breakfast that morning. We were probably about fifteen feet above the waves, but not completely out of the splash zone as the tide was coming in below us. It was the most relaxing thirty minutes of the entire trip, and it was absolutely fitting that we shared the moment with Cary and Stephanie. Lovely people, and a lovely way to close out our first night of tourism in Barcelona.
Dinner, and Lights Out
That's Samo and Jose against the wall with Kimi, Milly and Jussi from Lord Vicar to their right. Cary's cousin, Jeannie is the woman at the right of the photo. She joined us for the trip. I barely remember her as a nine year old meeting us at an airport many years ago. Time flies...
A wonderful meal followed by a cool night on the beach watching the tide come in with great friends. What a perfect moment! I can close my eyes and the four of us are all right back on the rocks reminiscing. I miss it already
Next up, Antoni Gaudi's Park Guell and then the cathedral of space aliens, La Sagrada Familia. Our second day as touristas in Barcelona was a busy one, but one that cemented the trip in our memory banks forever. I wanted Monica to see why I was so taken by the city. She already loved the place by the end of this first night of soaking it all in, but she was about to be blown away by lunch time the following day. I knew she'd fall in love with Park Guell. Everything about it falls right into her ideal fantasy landscape. We were in our own element now, no longer bound by band obligations and soundcheck schedules. All of that was fine, but we were just as excited about having our first big trip together. Prepare yourself for some very interesting photos in the next few days.