My film is finally processed and the results are in. Except for the roll that’s still in the camera. And I think I lost one somewhere. And some of them I shot with my phone and turned B&W later. Let’s get going.
Yes, here we are in Barcelona at the entrance of the world-famous Sagrada Familia. Yes, I see a man murdering a baby, immortalised in stone and an underdressed chap about to enter this house of God. But that’s OK, it’s Tuesday so he needn’t need his Sunday best.
As you can see, it’s ludicrously overdetailed. You’ve got to hand it to the Catholic Church for the predication for decoration in the teeth of taste but my personal theory is that the stonemasons must have been paid by the hour.
See? This is on the other side and there’s a cubist motif. Clearly these masons were paid by the job.
To visit the big Gaudi church, the beating heart of Barcelona, one should book ahead. You need to book a slot on a particular time and date and not be late. I recommend paying the extra money to go up a tower as it’s the only place to escape the Instagram creators who are hogging the ground floor. We paid EUR36. Each.
The view is pretty good though.
But, how did we get here? How do Sachie and I find ourselves overlooking the city of Barcelona, on a Tuesday? The thing is, we’d already got a good look at Barcelona’s premier tourist attraction.
Kind of pretty, isn’t it? Here’s another look.
One can book a two-hour block at a hotel rooftop bar with this excellent view of the Sagrada Familiar. They’ll let you stay longer as long as you keep buying drinks. We had a wonderful sunny afternoon.
You have to book and I can’t tell you how as our friends did it for us but the hotel is the Sercotel Rosellón. Definitely worth a visit as the view is fabulous. We could have spent hours up there, in fact, we did.
Our first view of Gaudi’s magnificent erection was from our hotel room window, not to brag, but here’s a much better view.
If you’ve been there before you may know we are at Turó de la Rovira which Mr Google informs me translates from the Catalan for Rovira Hill. It’s otherwise known as Battery Hill because there was an anti-aircraft emplacement sited here during the civil war. A good spot as it gives commanding views of the whole city.
It’s typical for the locals to venture up with a bottle of wine to enjoy the sunset. That sounded like a terribly romantic way to enjoy our first evening in the city so we bought a bottle of cava, some plastic champagne flutes and got a taxi up the hill. First warning was a lady in a vest wouldn’t let the car go more than halfway up.
It was a long weekend and the first nice Saturday for a month and the peak was packed with hip young people, not entirely unlike ourselves. The trouble is the fuzz turned up before we could even pop the cork on our first bottle of cava for the trip. About five rozzers turned up to tell everyone the party was over and to “Vamoose!” I thought it was pretty cool that we’d only been in the country about five hours before getting in trouble with the jacks but the old man in me thought it was a good idea as it was very crowded and only a matter of time before somebody fell over and hurt themselves.
The next morning I was up at 6am for an excursion we had arranged with Mrs Sachie’s local friends. Turns out he slept in so we went to Parc del Laberint d’Horta instead, on the subway.
The gardens, in the English style, used to be part of the estate for a rich fellow and there’s a big house on the site that was once grand and is now a shell. It’s being restored but the gardens are in much better nick.
The highlight was and honest-to-god hedge maze. I have never had a go at one myself and was eagerly anticipating freezing to death in it like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, even though I’m a Danny. I was crap at the maze and it looks like I wasn’t the first as there was evidence that some people had just pushed through the hedge at some points. The photograph above is at the end. Mrs Sachie was kind enough to lead us out.
While I thought I was pretty old school for capturing the scene on classic black and white celluloid this lass was using oils. Here’s a better view of the maze.
It’s after the park that we went to the rooftop bar. The next day, a Monday and Catalonian independence day we went on our excursion to Girona. Now, if there’s one way I could describe Girona it would be ‘Fucking Awesome!’, pardon my
Spanish Catalan. The walk from the train station takes one through the newer parts of town.
Yep, pretty much all gross 20th-century consumerism. Tourist trash. Actually this part of town is quite charming and beloved of cyclists. Lance Armstrong used to live here and left a testicle, apparently. It has a river.
The river has otters living in it, in town, where this photo was taken. It was very cool. Incidentally, this photograph was taken from a bridge.
It’s just a little footbridge but it was designed by our old friend Gustave Eiffel, of Budapest railway station fame. However, the real gold is in the old part of town. And when I say old, I mean medieval, or even older.
When I say old I mean Roman times. I expect there was a settlement before that but history starts with the Roman Empire for many people so that’s good for me. There is a church that used to be a Roman temple.
A lot of people make a fuss about the stairs.
They are impressive but apparently they played a leading role in a Game of Thrones episode. Later, walking about, I did get the feeling that I was in some kind of fantasy film of history flic. That’s because this is where they film them.
The basilica was very impressive but its museum was the real winner, we invested heavily in gift-shop merch of the Creation Tapestry, but more on that another day. We notice that the ticket also got us entry to the town cathedral.
It’s pretty nice too.
This post is about shooting on B&W film and I have a bunch of other shots, mostly of stone stairs and walls but, by Christ, my camera is heavy. It’s made of magnesium but you could hammer nails with it because in the 60s they made things properly. But it’s time for a beer and a feed.
Not Gothic vaults but they’ll have to do for lunch. At 4pm.
That’s it for this entry. There are more photos to come but I’ll have to get them processed. Stay tuned and I’ll link a gallery of my colour shots here once I get it done.