Our second day was drizzly again, but we weren't going to let that stop us. After having our hotel breakfast, we headed out and caught the metro in the general direction of Park Güell. Remember that Gaudí guy I mentioned in the last post? Yeah, he was at work again, this time on a giant public park with large gingerbread-looking houses at the main gates, big staircases with mosaic tiled sides, a large mosaic lizard, a large terrace with mosaic tile seating, and underneath a large shelter with columns and mosaic tiled ceilings. Seriously, this place was full of wonders. Outside of this specific area, there was several sheltered walkways with built with arched supports that, well, I find really hard to describe. They're just cool!
So Diane and I spent a few hours walking around in the rain, discovering many of the little details of this amazing art and architectural installation. The park is quite extensive, and we wandered a lot taking pictures. Despite the weather, tourists were out in droves, but everyone waited their turn for a picture with the lizard, and it was a pretty nice atmosphere. I wonder what the park was like in good weather! On our way back out, we climbed to the top of a 3-cross monument, which also offered a nice view of the surrounding cityscape.
The next destination we had was back to La Sagrada Família, which we got to by the metro. This time we were going to take the tour, so we got ourselves the audio guide and headed inside. I was very glad we did get the audio guide, because it spent a bunch of time walking us through the various features of the church and some of the symbolism that Gaudí was going for in the incredibly ornate artwork. The church has been under construction for over a hundred years, and the audio guide claimed that they projected it to be done in another two decades. I don't know about that ... despite its already impressive appearance and structure, the final plans still call for something like 7 additional towers to be built. Maybe they know how long it'll take, but I suspect they've got a long ways to go.
Still, it is a fascinating place. Inside the church, giant columns push vaulted ceilings extremely high, and then branch out resembling trees. The ceiling itself looks like large leaves to these trees, which gives you the unsettling feeling of being in some sort of stone forest. The columns themselves start as 8 pointed stars at the bottom and gradually double the number of points until they become almost circles at the top. It is going to be one crazy awesome place to go see when it is all done. I think we'll have to make a point of going back when it is all done just to see it all. Hopefully it doesn't take another hundred years!
After finishing the tour, the cold damp was starting to get to us, so we headed back to our hotel where we warmed up and washed up and once again took up the hunt for a place for dinner. We ended up choosing a place called Carmelitas, which we found on wikitravel. For anyone interested in checking out a city and who need some advice, wikitravel is a really good default place to look. It really hasn't let us down so far, and we used it a lot on this trip.
At any rate, we waited around until 8:00 which was when the restaurant opened (the restaurants open late in Barcelona, and the clubs stay open real late, from what I understand). The restaurant was quiet, but the waiters were friendly so we sat down and enjoyed quite an enjoyable meal. At this dinner, I learned that Entrecôte is a particular cut of beef ... which in this case was quite delicious. Diane's duck confit was also entirely too delicious. As was our wine, and dessert! Let's just say we ate well.
Up next, our first day trip out of Barcelona ... which was perhaps not the greatest idea, but cool nonetheless.