I traveled to a month’s stay in Barcelona with a single carry-on bag, and so I neglected to pack any guide books, a decision which made me an explorer.
I had spent a New Year’s Eve in Barcelona with friends a few years ago when we stayed in an apartment on Placa de Sant Miguel in the heart of Barri Gotic. This area became “home” to me, the center of my explorations. Of course, I gradually expanded my wanderings to include other neighborhoods, but I mainly avoided the Rambla — precisely because so many other people do not.
I wandered around Barcelona Cathedral on an almost daily basis and became appreciative of this young woman puppeteer who charmed the socks off her audience.
Often what pleased me most were accidental things. I happened upon this small traditional orchestra on the steps of the Cathedral by following the colorful ribbons of one of the performers, an innocent form of stalking. The performance was excellent.
Another neighborhood I made it a habit of strolling through was El Born, the area around Santa Maria del Mar. The church, built in the 14th century, was built through the labor of those who would worship there, and men of the parish carried stone from the quarry: their efforts are depicted on the doors of the church. I heard an amazing a capella group, Singer Pur, perform here. The pews were nearly full.
This peculiar structure on the back of the church’s door allowed people to communicate through the door when it was closed and locked.
And entry and exit signs from a one-way street. Yes, clearly these signs were more useful when the street traffic was much slower and the travelers more alert than they tend to be today!
POST SCRIPT — I am working on my drawing-a-day. More about that soon.