Port Vell Marina, Barcelona
4th November, 2009.
We have spent the last few days exploring Barcelona either by foot or bike. Sunday, we strolled through the side streets to the Cathedral which is a magnificent 14th century building in the heart of the Barri Gotic or Gothic Quarter. It has 28 side chapels, which encircle the nave and contain some splendid Baroque altar pieces. The Capella de Sant Benet chapel is dedicated to the founder of the Benedictine Order and patron saint of Europe. This chapel boosts a magnificent altar piece showing The Transfiguration by Bernat Martorell (1452).
The top tier of the beautifully carved 15th century choir stalls contains the coats of arms of the 12 knights of the Order of Toison del Oro dating back to 1512. The white geese in the cloisters are a centuries old tradition. The fountain set in a corner of the Gothic cloisters and decorated with a statue of St. George provided the fresh water.
Christopher Columbus surveys the waterfront from the top of 200 feet column in the heart of Port Vell harbour. He brought back from one of his trips to America six Indians who were baptised in the Cathedral and a plaque on the wall is dedicated to this. On the walls are many medieval Catalan paintings.
Around 12.00 a brass band took their seats outside the Cathedral and started to play for the people gathered in the square in front of the Cathedral. Very soon a group of dancers wearing soft pumps and laced up the leg formed a circle and danced to the music being played. We were very lucky to be able to sit and watch everything which was going on.
Next door to the Cathedral is the Palau de la Generalitat which is home to the Catalonia’s governor. The building has superb Gothic features which include a chapel and a stone staircase rising to an open air arcaded gallery. Joining the Cathedral to the Palau de la Generalitat is a beautiful bridge.
After a spot of Tapas we wandered through the streets passing the town hall built in the 14th and 15th centuries, the roman city wall, the Casa de l’Ardiaca which is the archdeacon’s residence and houses Barcelona’s historical archives and many beautiful rows of apartments with balconies housing their own gardens.
Monday and Tuesday we rode along the beach area to read our books. Many people were sitting on the beach, a number of people were swimming in the sea and children playing and everyone enjoying the beautiful weather in November.