Tag Archives: Barcelona

It is inexhaustible

From Jim…


We took the morning bus from Finesterre to Santiago and got a room close to the train station. I hung up our clothes and looked at the rain from our window.

The next day, we took the train to Barcelona. We went to the cathedral and saw the 13 geese who live within the cathedral walls. I heard that no one knows how the geese arrived and that it was miraculous that there were 13 of them. This may be incorrect. We overheard a tour guide say that there were originally 13 doves but the doves flew away.The number 13 corresponds with the age at martyrdom of the patron Saint Eulalia. The Romans put her in a knife studded barrel and rolled her down the street. Apparently this was one of 13 tortures that she experienced for refusing to reject Christianity in the year 303.We went into the cathedral, moving…

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Sunday in Barcelona

10/19 – a beautiful Sunday, and we’re back in summer, with warm, balmy breezes and temperature in the 80s. Here in Barcelona, the people speak Catalan, so it’s Buen Dia, instead of Buenes Dias.

After a coffee and pastry breakfast (we have to find less caloric food now that we’re not hiking every day, but around here, breakfast means pastry), we walked to the gorgeous Cathedral of the Cross and Santa Eulalia, and participated the high, sung mass. The priests and the choir had such beautiful voices that I was left speechless and (of course) teary. Even the sermon, of which I did not understand a word, was a joy to listen to.







The Cathedral is home to a flock of 13 white geese that have their own pond within the church walls. It is said that the number of geese reflects the age at which Santa Eulalia, patron saint of Barcelona, was martyred.



We emerged from the mass into a crush of people enjoying the Sunday street markets.IMG_2836.JPG

There were also many demonstrators speaking out for the independence of Catalan.


All day, we encountered demonstrators, young and old, wearing red or yellow shirts and buildings draped in Catalan flags. They would like to secede from Spain and form their own country.image

This city is all about the famous organic architect, Antoni Gaudi. After a delicious tapas lunch, we walked to la Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s most famous work in progress. This cathedral, started in the 1880s, isn’t due to be completed for many years. The outside is covered in scaffolding, and there was a long line of folks waiting to buy tickets to see the interior. I balked at the $25. entrance fee, so here are our pix of the outside, and some internet pix of the inside.

After looking at these pix, we probably should have coughed up the $50., but oh well. There’s another Gaudi site on our list of things to do tomorrow!

Santiago to Barcelona

10/17 – we took the bus back to Santiago, bidding farewell to grey and rainy Finesterre. We are no longer pilgrims, now we are just backpackers.

With our (slightly wrinkled) EuRail Pass in hand, we went right to the train station in Santiago to book our first train ride. The Pass allows us 10 travel days anywhere in Europe within the next two months. We only have 30 days left in the European Union (you can only remain in the Euro Zone for 90 days), so will see several places within the next month, then use the rest of the travel days to get through Eastern Europe and into Turkey. It’s a tentative plan, subject to change.

So, our first travel day will take us from Santiago in the northwestern corner of Spain, to Barcelona in the southeast. We can’t just show up at a train station, we must prebook our seats and pay a reservation fee for each ticket. Very complicated!

Our sleek and modern train left at 9am for Madrid, and then we take a second train to Barcelona. There is a snack car, and a refreshment cart offering coffee and pastry. An American movie is showing, but it is both dubbed into Spanish and has Spanish subtitles. Even so, I still cried at the end of Saving Mr Banks. I managed to take a few pics out the window, verifying once again that the rain in Spain stays mainly in Galicia.



At 14:50 we arrived in Madrid, and had an hour to get to our connecting train, which leaves from another station 5 miles away. We negotiated the Metro between the two stations, and arrived with time to spare. The train to Barcelona was a high speed train, and got us there in under three hours.image

Our pension was a mile and a half from the train station, and we considered taking a cab, but once we left the train station we could see that this was a walking city. The streets are well lit, and everyone was out strolling, eating in sidewalk cafes, riding bikes and kids riding scooters or on roller skates. image


What a groovy city! Tomorrow we will explore!