Sunday, February 24, 2013

Barcelona, Spain--Cycling Tour (Part 1)

The start of a real adventure. Christine has chosen her bike and has been fitted. All we are waiting for now is the tour guide's command of  "Saddle up".
Better to be said up front so as not to distract from the sights of the tour. The "real adventure" was dodging traffic, crowded streets, pedestrians, tourists (more dangerous than pedestrians), narrow streets, impatient motorists, loosing sight of the guide, and street lights separating us from the group. Which way did they go?
 This, and the next few shots are part of the staging area. In the situation as described above, there was absolutely no way to "point and shoot" as we rode. All pictures were from a group stopping area.

 Barcelona has a population of 4.6 million, of which half were downtown that day.
Placa Ramon Berenguer El Gran
Not far from our staging area was the statue of Ramon Berenguer III, a prominent Catalan ruler. Background: A ruined section of the medieval Royal Palace and the remains from the ancient Roman walls.
 Part of the Palau Reial (Royal Palace)
It is widely believed that it was on the steps fanning out from the corner of the square that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella greeted Columbus when he arrived home from his first voyage to the New World. Some dispute the story, noting that the royal couple was probably at their summer residence when Columbus returned. But the locals like the story, so we'll stick to it.

If you don't want to buy into the above story, then these are the steps leading to the Salo del Tinell and the Chapel of St. Agatha. The Salo del Tinell occupies the interior of the 11th century edifice and the Chapel of St. Agatha was designed to act as the royal chapel.
Octagonal tower of the Chapel of St. Agatha.
Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. Sometimes just called "La Catedral", the Gothic church, begun in 1298 is built on the site of a Roman temple and houses the tomb of Saint Eulalia, the first patron saint of
Torre Mirador del Rei Marti--a "medieval skyscraper" which people may climb and enjoy views of the entire Barri Gothic. Built as a watchtower, it is also called King Martin's Watchtower.

The constant contrast of old and new makes Barcelona a great tourist place. If one has not guessed by now, this is part of the Picasso Museum.  
 Wish I had aimed a little lower with the camera. The narrow streets were VERY interesting on a bicycle.
 We stopped briefly at the Baroque church built in the 18th century. Sant Felip Neri was built on the site of an ancient Jewish cemetery.
Of interest also, the facade still has many bullet holes from the time of the Spanish Civil War. A bomb fell and killed 20 children who were seeking shelter inside it.
On a more pleasant note, we stopped at Placa Reial (Royal Square) in the Barri Gothic Quarter. Many tourists walk here since there are many shops, street artists, and galleries. Of note in the square and streets is one of the first commissioned works of the famous Barcelonian, Gaudi--the lamp posts.
The Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of Barcelona, and we will leave Christine soaking up the culture and resting up for the remainder of the bike tour.


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  3. @ELLISS. Thanks. We really enjoyed Barcelona. Hope to return one day.

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