I am typing this aboard a Renfe high speed train to Madrid. The cabin is like first class on an airplane and the ride is neatly as smooth, just much quieter. There are attendants serving snacks and drinks, and a movie will be playing shortly. We will cover the nearly 400 miles (about the distance from Kansas City to Chicago as the crow flies) in 3 hours of comfort.
Yesterday we spent 2 hours touring another of Gaudi’s signature accomplishments, La Pedrera. Like the Sagrada Familia it is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed in 1906 as a combination of first level shops, an opulent private residence on the 2nd and 3rd levels, and apartments on the remaining 5 floors, it retains today much of that same utility except that the second and eighth levels, along with the roof and “attic” are now exhibition and museum space. This building, along with the Sagrada Familia were prominently and accurately featured in the best selling novel by Dan Brown, “Origin”. The roof undulates like sand dunes and the structure beneath reminds one of a snake’s skeleton. Atop the roof the ventilation shafts and chimneys are reminiscent of Star Wars, just created a century earlier.
After a lunch, that for me featured Octopus Paella cooked in its own ink, we visited the Barcelona Museu D’Historia. This incredible facility is an underground excavation beneath the bustling Plaza del Rei. This subterranean museum wanders through excavations dating to 10 BCE when “Barcino”, as it was known by the Romans, was a teeming fortified city and retirement community for Legionnaires. We wandered (entirely underground) through streets, along the fortified city wall, in the rooms of a villa, visited a laundry, a Garum (fish sauce) factory, and winery. The Laundry very effectively utilized lime, alum, and urine to create an ammonia based bleach. Clothing was dried and scented with lavender, and a variety of dies were also employed. The Roman town also had advanced fresh water and waste water delivery systems. The winery had a storage capacity of over 10,000 liters.
The evening was capped off with a nice dinner and then packing for this mornings departure to Madrid.
Peace Everyone. Pete