While we had hoped to visit Barcelona on the way from Portugal to Paris, the timing just didn’t work out. When we found ourselves with a few days to kill between Oslo and Zurich, and discovered that we’d actually save a bunch of money on flights by hanging out in Barcelona for a few days, we took the opportunity to visit the City of Gaudi.
We arrived at our AirBnb in a shared cab with our Norwegian flight-mate, and our host greeted us and led us through a maze of stairs, doors, and patios up to our place.
Our plan was to do just a bit of sightseeing the first day, and spend the bulk of the time planning our Africa travels. The whirlwind tour of the city started with some explorations of the Born neighborhood around our apartment, which was different in almost every way from our neighborhood in Oslo: narrow, windy streets; sun; and an amazing variety of cheap food options.
We took a stroll down the iconic Rambla, and then caught the metro from the sea up to Sagrada Familia, which is without a doubt the most fantastical Catholic church we’ve ever seen. The building is perhaps the most ambitious project of architect Antoni Gaudí, whose unique architectural style can be found all over Barcelona.
The profile of the church (which was started in 1882, and will still not be finished for another decade) is unique, but what really sets it apart is the stunning variety of detail work outside and in.
The columns inside are reminiscent of a forest, and the stained glass throughout added a unique colorful touch.
From Sagrada Familia, we walked to another of Gaudi’s great works: Park Güell, a beautiful, Dr. Seuss-like park set at the top of the hill above Barcelona.
Midway up the park, there’s a huge plaza with panoramic views of the city, surrounded by organic tile and columns.
As the day was nearly over, we headed up to the very top of the park to catch a fantastic sunset.
Our day of sightseeing over, we were now geared up to do some Africa research! As it turned out, however, that wasn’t in the cards. Sarah ended up with a deadline to submit revisions on a research paper describing her work on the Augmented Reality Sandbox. And to top it off, the sad news had come to light that Prismatic News, the product that Jason had worked on for more than four years, was shutting down. With this news came a potential silver lining — a very attractive job offer — but he would have to accept within a week, and it seemed likely that taking the job would mean cutting the trip short (by about six months!).
So, Sarah spent the next few days writing, and Jason spent it on Skype interviewing and talking to people about the job offer. Sarah managed to get her paper submitted, and had a fantastic time at a Flamenco show in a castle called Palau Dalmases just minutes from our apartment.
Given the time difference, Jason’s calls often went until midnight (or later); finally, at about 1am on the last night in Barcelona, he managed to sneak away with Sarah to catch a drink. The destination was Bar Marsella, an absinthe bar that was frequented by the likes of Picasso and Hemingway (and looks like it hasn’t changed much in the nearly 200 years it’s been open).
We relaxed over a couple drinks, and tried to catch a few hours of shut-eye before heading to the airport for our next destination: Zurich!
Hello you two!! What an amazing experience you are having!! Left the story with a cliff hanger!! Job?!
Hope you guys are having fun. We have enjoyed looking at the pictures.. Very educational for the girls!!
We most definitely are, thanks! We’re in Africa now (we’re a bit behind on the blog) and it’s been a real new adventure for both of us. Say hi to the girls, Luke and Bruce for us please!