It’s 11:38PM. I just got back from a nice dinner at an upscale restaurant in Girona and am now back in my upscale (contemporary, business oriented, nothing special) Melina Hotel in that same town. My television, in four languages, says welcome “Perkowitz, Rober” while softly playing an instrumental of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. We/I are thinking terrorists because a) Bush the “insert derogatory or complementary word of your choice” is about attack Iraq, and b) an al Queada (sp?) terrorist cell was discovered and busted in this same town a few weeks ago. Also, as far as I know, it’s not Christmastime.
The day started back in Sitges. Here’s the view from my hotel room.
Having zigzagged way out of our way yesterday, impressed by the heavy traffic heading toward Barcelona (make that Barthelona), we decided to take the train 40km into the city on Monday morning. On the way to the train, Charlie wanted cash and Bryan and Bob wanted some produce, so we rode around the older part of Sitges and found these. Here’s Charlie and Bryan on one of the narrow streets.
We exited the main train station and hit the sights. First the Royal Palace in Barcelona.
An exceptionally impressive structure today, it must have been other-worldly when it was built in the 15th century. There are layers of escalators (look left and right at the picture above) to get to the building. Here’s Bryan and Bob at the top.
We didn’t go inside the palace, and are not clear what’s in there. Our objective, actually, was to get around this to the medieval fortress on the other side of the hill, perhaps the most impressive of our trip. After exploring some impressive stairs and gardens, we never made it there, but here’s the statue of Christopher Columbus in the middle of the harbor area.
Then it was inland to the Barcelona Cathedral. It had an outdoor courtyard with maybe 25 chapels around the edge, and some plants and ducks in the middle.
The indoor church had another 20 or 30 chapels, built between 1300 and 1900 (really), plus the main church, choir area, etc. It’s impossible to get a good picture of this unless you have professional equipment, but here’s Jesus from one of the chapels and a rotunda.
We then looked for and found a bike shop for Bryan to get a triple crank front gear set for the Pyrenees, but they didn’t have it in stock. (This is more complicated than I’m making it sound.) Then went to Spain’s version of the Arch de Triumph – who knows what for.
So we went to Goudi’s (sp?) cathedral. Goudi is famous for modernistic architecture. I don’t have a guide book, so all this needs to be verified, but he died 100+ years ago when they were well into the construction of this. They’re working on it now, and will still be way after all of us are dust. Following is a) a distance view of the cathedral, b) a view of Charlie in the park east of the cathedral (he was looking impressively upwards, but had turned toward me by the time I took this, and c) a closer up of some of the sculptural detail above the back entrance of the cathedral.
By the time we got through with all this sightseeing, it was already after 3:00PM. We made an effort to make it out of town before rush hour, riding 40km northeast along the coast out of town. Frustrated by the traffic and time, we decided to pick up another train 60km/36km to Girona – see first paragraph.
Since we didn’t ride much today, tomorrow should be a good riding day!
N.B. It is very different riding with two other people vs. riding alone. Their considerations, in terms of timing and duration of breaks and pacing at different times, externalize my considerations much more. Either way seems to work fine for me.