Ancient and modern

My children returned from a trip to Egypt raving about it and insisting it be added to the bucket list. When I mentioned this at lunch on Boxing Day, Pepita and Rosa who had both been and loved it, suggested I visit the Museu Egipci in Barcelona. My visit to the Sagrada Familia was booked for 14:30 so what better way to spend the morning? Also it was directly along Calle Valencia a left turn out of the hotel. It proved very rewarding. As all had said, the time zones are astounding. Craft, writing, tools of such complexity 3000 years BCE do blow the mind. Yes some of the names are familiar – Rameses, Ptolemy, Cleopatra, Tutankhamen – but how do they relate? The museum is small, on three floors of a town house, but highly informative with several modern x-rays conducted with Imperial College in London and others to analyse what had been collected over the years, by Howard Carter among others. These showed levels of skill that are mind-blowing given the eras involved. Quite a civilisation! Bucket list duly updated.

I headed off along Calle Valencia in the belief that this would bring Me to, or close to the Sagrada Familia. To my delight I found another local market on the way and decided to have an early lunch as everywhere near the basilica would charge a premium. I’m not entirely a cheapskate but don’t like being ripped off. I had a very fine fish soup with pan con tomate and was equipped to revisit the icon of Barcelona after a good many years. I first came when the children were young and we could roam among the half constructed towers, then later with Dee while they were still hoping for investment to finish it, probably ten years ago. As a deeply religious man, Gaudi would probably appreciate my OMG reaction on stepping inside. The nave is finished – it’s not open to the sky any more. The stained glass is all in place and it looks magnificent. Only once back outside do you see the tell-tale crane and realise that some of the towers are still to be finished. But they say it’s on track for 2025 only 135 years after the foundation stone was laid.

The exterior is equally brilliant with enough religious and natural symbolism to fill several volumes – available in the shop of course. But here are some of my favourite elements.

Having walked all the way there, I took the Metro back to Passeig de Gracia, put my feet up for a while in the hotel and then headed out to the Gastropub Obama – yes really – for a light supper. Claims to be British American but the most prominent beer on offer is Guinness. It was fun but the Cerveseria Catalana gets my vote for the best place in the area.

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