Ugh. It was tough getting up this morning. Today marks the first (and hopefully last) day where we almost missed breakfast. Jeff was moving at a glacial pace this morning after our late arrive to the hotel and his tossing and turning most of the night. Hey jet lag, bugger off!
In the end, we got a bit of good news–a fully charged chair! Yep, the charger is still operation, so for the record, Air Canada didn’t smash the charger, just the fuse that connects the charger port to the battery. Bill is in the mail, jerks.
Today’s plan was to drop off the borrowed charger, try and hit the Sagrada again and then venture off to some other Gaudi masterpieces. The line wasn’t quite as bad for the Sagrada this morning, but still over an hour, and Jeff doesn’t wait in line for NOBODY. First lesson of travel to Barcelona–Learn Catalin! Through Clara’s amazing catalin abilities, we managed to jump the line, get Jeff in free and somehow only pay 6 euro for Clara and Melody combined. We know, the math doesn’t make sense to us either, but who are we to complain? The Sagrada was absolutely overwhelming and picture don’t even begin to do the structure justice. Think of it this way, this massive structure was first designed in the early 1900s with construction beginning shortly there after: as of right now, they’re probably not even 75% finished construction. It’s just that big and that elaborate. Despite the absurdly long waits, this was a definite “must see” of the trip, if only for the sheer enormity of the experience. Westminster Abbey, eat your heart out.
After a lot of jaw dropping and several necessary picture takings, we decided to head over to another Gaudi mainstay in Barcelona, the Parc Guell. Although a bit of a trek from where we were staying (about an hour by bus), this giant park was definitely worth the trip. Much like the Sagrada, the park was filled with intricate and beautiful structures that pictures simply cannot do justice. The fusion of modern architecture and natural design was absolutely astonishing to look at. A quick note though, throughout the park were a series of street vendors, offering both cool souvenir and absolute trash, all for a nominal fee. Several of these vendors have perfected the art of chirping like birds…really, really annoying birds. Some of them even talk using these ridiculously high-pitched tones, urging people to come see their wares. After walking around the park and being passed by a police car, one of these vendors was gone. We can only hope he’s in a Barcelona prison right now being tortured mercilessly. They do that here, right? If you’re not in America, you’re in the third world. U-S-A! U-S-A!
This was, unfortunately, were we began to have our first accessibility problems. Although there were parts of the Park and the Sagrada that Jeff could visit, most of these attractions were unaccessible, with either stairs at the entrance or doorways that were simply too small to access.
After dinner, we tried to visit Casa Batllo, only to find Jeff’s chair wouldn’t fit in the elevator. If your wheelchair is any wider than 26″ and is a standard North American adult electric wheelchair, you will not get very far in many of these Gaudi venues, despite them being listed as “adapted.” Having said that, Jeff had a great time sipping a pint outside and marveling at the exterior of the buildings while Clara ventured inside for a closer look.
Finally, we stopped in RIGHT before closing time to see the museum of a local artist named Tapies and the exhibit was very, very cool. Everyone seems really helpful and willing to do everything they can to make the locations accessible, sometimes there’s just nothing they can do without massive renovation.
Hopefully we’ll have better luck in the next few days, as we begin hitting some of the bigger museums and art galleries.
Also, we’ve become great friends with a local cafe owner, who claimed his english was “perfecto” in catalan. Why say your english is good in a different language? Because your english is actually really weak. Oh well, he’s great fun and makes delicious coissants–what more could we want?
– Jeff and Clara