Last week, I asked: Where is Catalonia?
In northeastern Spain.
The Catalonia region is known for the lively beach resorts of Costa Brava as well as the Pyrenees Mountains.
Before my recent trip to Barcelona, the regional capital, people warned me about the protests.
Catalonia would like independence, their language is slightly different, and they feel Madrid, the capital of Spain, is spending too much of Catalonia’s tax money on other parts of the country.
Catalonia is quite well-off and has had some of its independence taken away recently.
It’s another case of too much news.
I was there five days and saw no demonstrations.
I did go by a street near the university where a street was blocked off, tents were set up, but no one was around.
I have an IHG (think Holiday Inn family) credit card so I booked their boutique hotel, The Indigo.
The location was great.
I have traveled extensively but can always learn something.
I should have checked the week before my arrival because the prices were lower.
I should have cancelled and rebooked.
Will always check now.
The hotel was great as was their restaurant.
It was only two blocks, or so, along tree-lined streets with plenty of benches to the main plaza where all the tours buses start.
There are three routes and only one goes by the Basílica de la Sagrada Família.
The church is ornate beyond belief and the inside with towering pillars has brilliant stained glass windows.
It will be years before it is finished.
When Gaudi was asked if he realized he would never see it finished he replied, “There is no hurry. My Master can wait.”
The church is scheduled to be completed in 2026, the hundred year anniversary of Antoni Gauds’ death – 144 years after the first stone was laid.
It is already a UNESCO World Heritage Sites and funds to complete it come from donations and entry fees.
If you want to visit you should buy tickets on line that designate the entrance time.
There was a long line when I was there.
Gaudi’s work is so unique it got so I could recognize the other buildings he designed.
You can’t say you have been to Spain without going to a flamenco show.
There are several places to see flamenco.
I picked the Palacio del Flamenco because it is a refurbished 1920s theater dedicated to the art of flamenco.
The show was flashy and energetic.
There are a choice of tickets: dinner and show (I never like to mix the two), show and tapas, and, my choice, show and a libation.
I would have liked it better if there was a brochure that explained the individual dances and where they originated.
The violin player was incredible.
Afterwards I couldn’t find a cab and people kept pointing to a place down the road where taxis stop.
I walked back to the theater and the receptionist said just hail one with a green light New York style.
Most cabs in Europe take credit cards; there is little need for local currency.
I spent one day at Poble Espanyol, a Spanish village where each geographic area of Spain is represented by architecture and culture.
It was great but… it was the Day of the Dead.
I thought the USA had high dibs on Halloween costumes.
How ethnocentric of me.
The place was packed, glad I had a pass, with families all in costumes.
It was fun but I wanted to see the crafts and, while they were there, it was not the focus of the day.
There were too many family activities.
There is also the Fran Daurel Art Museum which I really enjoyed because I didn’t have time to go to any other art museums.
Travel Trivia Tease™: Where is the Lorelei?
Look for the answer next week.
Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!