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.
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.
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).