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Monday, 17th October 2016
We did the Gaudi tour in Barcelona and it was by far the most enjoyable port visit. Barcelona is a well-laid out cultural city, the city blocks are called 'apples' and have octogonalish shapes which our guide praised. The tour started by the guide showing some Gaudi architected buildings in the main area, like castles out of fairyland magically transplanted into the staid repetitiveness of conventional modernity. The guide stressed how organic Gaudi's work was, and how he avoided repetition. We walked a fair bit - at one point amused by a crocodile of small children apparently roped together.

We then went to the Park Güell, intended as a rich man's garden city but now publically owned as it was too far out in the 1900s to be successful. A cross between a film set and a theme park - artificial grottoes, tree-like pillars, witches's houses, salamander water system. A lot of tourists there, and a lot of dubious tack being sold too.
As wonderful as that was the highlight was the beautiful unfinished Sagrada Família cathedral. There were crowds outside gaping at and shooting it. But inside it was transcendent, the light coming in through stained glass, trees of stone supporting the roof, the past and the future merging.