Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Atlanta Airport

A long flight over the Atlantic (in front of a couple of unsupervised children), a long lay-over in Atlanta (real, and real expensive, lattes). Napped on the flight to Portland, to find my luggage waiting for me (It had taken an earlier flight). Found the bus stop before I found the taxi rank, so came home the slow way. Got home at midnight, er, breakfast time, er, I don't know when.

Monday, August 23, 1999


Parc Guell. Weird, wavy organic rock formations. Like a medieval church with a bad hangover.
Parc Guell

This was another of Eusepi Guell's commissions. It was meant to be a gated community for the city's wealthy, but the only house that was ever built in it was the one that Gaudi lived in while working on the site.

Sunday, August 22, 1999


I had a choice of three museums to visit, and chose the Museu-Monestir de Mare de Déu de Pedralbes, because it was supposed to be peaceful, and I was still weak from the night before. It was peaceful, though I was a bit disappointed in the restorations, which seemed undecided about which century they were restoring to (and which never got close to the 14th century, when the monastery was founded.) But then, the monastery was in use until 1983, so multitudinous improvements had been made. (The nuns are still on the grounds, but have been moved to a more secluded part).

I walked down to Parc Reial, and sat down to rest.

Parc del Palu Reial di Pedralbes

This once was the Guell family's private estate, then became a royal residence, and now is a public park, with museums housed in the buildings.
Ran out of ink in my favorite pen.

Saturday, August 21, 1999


Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

Domenech i Montaner

This is still a working hospital, consisting of 48 separate and unique pavilions. The bright colors were meant to cheer the patients.

Friday, August 20, 1999


Hiked out under Los Delsodos before breakfast. Hardly any people, but the trail was entirely within earshot of the road to the entrance. Many shrines to various Virgin Maries. Many more impressive rocks.
On the way back to the hotel I stopped in the church to visit with the Black Madona.

Thursday, August 19, 1999


Got up early, dressed in the dark and walked partway down the trail to Monistrol to sketch.

The view of the flatlands was not impressive, possibly because of the haze. The view down to the monestir was heart-stopping however. And the rocks were simply awesome.
We wrestled Ina back down to monastery level, then I bought a 'vegetable' sandwich (mostly eggs and tunafish) and hiked to Santa Cova. Numerous shrines, depicting the life of Mary form the Annunciation to the Assumption, with a tiny recently restored church at the end, built over the holy cave (The Madonna used to be here, before they moved her to the basilica.)

Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Poblet

Woke up with the Matins bells.

Got up an hour later, dressed in the dark and walked down to the monastery for Laudes. Walked back up for breakfast, bused back down for a tour, hung around and sketched until I had used up the sketchbook, then walked back up to the hotel.

Poblet is a "real" monastery. Here monks dress the part (in white, being Cistercians). There are a few men in civilian dress, but they're secular priests, who have come on retreat. The monks serve in multiple services each day, from matins, at 5:15am, through lauds, mass, and vespers, to compline, at 9:30, and if their voices are not perfect, well, then, God calls men to the monastic life for other reasons than for music. The church bells ring shortly before each service, to wake the monks or to bring them home from their chores, and so the country round can use the church as a rough clock.

At one point, this monastery was the preferred final resting place for the kings of Aragon. (Catalunya and Aragon were joined through a political marriage way back in the 12th century. Catalunya/Aragon didn't get linked to Castille until the marriage of the Catholic kings, Ferdinand and Isabella, in the 15th century.) The crypts in the church never contained whole bodies, however, but only bones. One of the towers of the monastery is a turris pudoris, a tower of corruption, where the body would be stored until the flesh decayed.

When the monasteries were nationalized, all of the bones were taken up and translated to a cathedral for safekeeping. They were restored when Poblet was rehabilitated, but had gotten jumbled in the meantime, and so each bone probably didn't end up back in the crypt from which it started.

Monday, August 16, 1999

Monasterio de Leyre

As with the other Spanish monasteries, it was abandoned in 1834. When it was revived in this century it was heavily remodeled, with the monks moving into seclusion in a new cloister to the south of the church, while the old cloister to the north was partially dismantled, and the remaining buildings were turned into a hotel.

Sunday, August 15, 1999


First concert, in the church. The kitchen ladies showed up, along with the priest and one of the gift shop ladies. The rest seemed to be tourists or picnickers who had serentipitously stumbled upon a concert. Standing ovation. Champagne.

Friday, August 13, 1999

Sunday, August 8, 1999


There's a 17-18th century citadel, turned into a city park, fountains, public art, lots of churches (and church bells on Sunday morning), mudegur architecture, modern buildings, and a medieval quarter. And, oh yes, a bullfighting ring.

Saturday, August 7, 1999


Cooler (Thank God!)

From the façade of the cathedral --->

<---- from the 'apple of discord'

Friday, August 6, 1999

Thursday, August 5, 1999


Sunny and hot.

Headed for the waterfront, to the Monument a Colon (OK, he was in Barcelona once), through the Maremègnum, down to La Barceloneta. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the Museu d'Historia de Catalunya. They had a temporary exhibit on Montserrat, which included a small space for the Llibre Vermell, showing a few pages of facsimile and playing Polorum Regina and Stella Splendens over and over again.
Mere de Deu de Montserrat

When I come out it was still 35 degrees, but the the was getting low, so there was shade available.

Barcelona Cathredal