03 December 2011


The weather when we left for Barcelona.

The weather when we arrived in Barcelona.

View from the balcony off our room.

Kris and I at Thanksgiving dinner.

Flamenco dance show for Thanksgiving.

Antoni Gaudi - Catalan architect known for his highly distinctive style. His best-known work is La Sagrada Familia - a yet unfinished Roman Catholic church started in 1882.



La Sagrada Familia - from a distance at night.

La Sagrada Familia from the hill-side near the Olympic Stadium.

La Sagrada Familia as seen from Guell Park.

There are no views without the cranes and evidence of construction.

It's much brighter inside than I would have thought.

The "Nativity" face.

The "Passion" facade.

The Mila House. One of the Gaudi-designed houses in Barcelona.

The house where Gaudi lived in what became Guell Park.

Gaudi created countless mosaics.

The serpentine bench in Guell Park. It's the focal-point of a large terrace. It is covered by mosaics on both sides.

Churros and chocolate. According to the guide book this is what most Barcelonians eat for breakfast. But we didn't find them until the last day and even then they didn't seem all that common.

Toes in the Mediterranean.

At the Christmas Market. -

The “Tió de Nadal” Christmas log is a small log with a happy face painted on it and wearing the typical Catalan barretina red hat. You can also see giant Tió de Nadal at children's Christmas events. The Christmas log is also called “Caga Tió.” which means "the pooing log". It works like this. The Christmas log is pampered and looked after by children from the 8th December ( the day of Immaculate Conception called “Dia de la Immaculada Concepció,”) until Christmas Eve 24th December. The Caga Tió even gets a blanket to keep it warm at night. Then on Christmas Eve children sing the “Caga Tió” song to get the log to “poo” some presents. While they are singing they hit the log with a stick. When the song is finished with a final load cry of “Caga Tió!” ( = the imperative tense of the the verb "to defacate" so it means "Shit log!") and someone puts a hand under the blanket covering the Christmas log and takes out a present which the log has pooed! Great fun and the kids love it! Another old tradition is that if you have a fireplace you burn the “Tió" log, but many choose to keep it for next year.

When looking up things to do in Barcelona, I found out the Christmas Market opened while we would be there. One description said, "Also on sale are the Christmas crappers ..." I assumed this was a typo or a bad Google translation. I was wrong!

"El Caganer" is the naughty figure of Catalan navitivy scenes as “El Caganer” literally means “The crapper” or "the shitter." It is a an elf or gnome-like figure wearing the traditional Catalan red cap, the "barretina" and with his trousers down, his backside bare, defecating!. He or she can usually be found somewhere in the nativity scene if you look closely. The origins are a bit murky, but apparently "El Caganer" has been dropping his britches to "fertilize the earth" since the middle of the 19th century at least. He is a very popular fellow in Catalunya and thought to bring good luck. "El Caganer" can be seen in in many forms and public figures have the honour of being portrayed with their pants down at Christmas. Among the new 2011 Caganer figures are Shakira, Víctor Valdés, Cesc Fàbregas, Alexis Sánchez, Sarah Palin, Prince William and Kate Middleton

Christmas Crappers

La Boqueria Market

The weather upon our return :(

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