Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Picasso Dogs

Barcelona, Spain

Perhaps the strangest sight in Barcelona is the cathedral designed by Gaudi. The work began in 1891 and, by the time of Gaudi's death in 1926, only one bell tower had been completed. The church is covered with massive scaffolds and towering cranes as work progresses 24/7 at a feverish pace. Eventually there will be 18 bell towers. Maybe we'll find a way to get back this evening and see it when they light it up.

Like all the cities we've visited in Spain, Barcelona has an old section full of twisting alleys. We wander down the Ramblas at night. It's packed with pedestrians, street artists, immigrants hawking flowers and beer and beggars. We pick a restaurant which promises Basque cooking. One of the things I get is squid cooked in something very black.

We decide to buy two day passes on the double-decker tour busses for the two days we have to visit Barcelona. Today we rode the bus for several hours and then find and visit the Picasso art museum. I'm struck by the Picasso dogs (white blobs with four legs, a tail and a head with two eyes on the same side like a flounder) in many of his paintings and also the many different abstract representations of a little girl called Margarita Maria in his Las Minenas series. As I understand it, Picasso became slightly obsessed with a 17th century painting of a royal family by Velasquez and did 57 interpretations of it, including many different abstract faces of the little girl...looking at them change was psychotropic...

The tour bus tape described this building as "torpedo-shaped". Mrs. Phred had another word for it. It's supposed to be spectacular at night when lit up.

But back to the Gaudi cathedral: this is a closeup shot of the strange asparagus stuff on the top of some of the lower steeples....

Our train from Valencia to Barcelona...A fast train, but it made a lot of stops along the way.

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