Originally, we had the cheapest hotel we could find planned for Barcelona, a Travelodge. I mapped out the post office to mail extra luggage home and printed subway maps to get us to all 3 tourist sites. We found out that mailing luggage costs about $150 and can take weeks...more than the contents would cost new. Also, the drive the next day through the mountains would be a killer. We were scheduled to arrive 2 hours before the baths at Lourdes closed. If there was a line, a car problem, or we stopped to eat, that wouldn't be enough time. To compound this, we could get a spa with a swimming pool, two miles from the beach, just over the border in France for half the price. Sold.
This changed the plan. It meant that fresh off the boat, we picked up the rental car first to store our bags in while we saw the sights. I cut off one of the extra cathedrals to compensate. We'd be seeing enough of those in three weeks of touring. We drove to Guell Park to see the Gaudi designs. Wow. 90 minutes was not enough; the place was huge, and we enjoyed a little picnic there. Parking was only 2 hours, so we couldn't take the subway to the next destination. We had to drive to Sagrada Familia. Although we arrived 15 minutes late, after a brief scolding, they let us in. It's the only Catholic basilica that charges admission. Tammy said we should've picked up a Pope Pass or something.
Before I complain (next post) , I'll show you more photos of the Cathedral of Harmonious Light, as Gaudi called it. The outside is a melted sand sculpture, still under construction. The louvers on the many bell towers are to redirect the sound waves down to the people. Inside, I almost cried from the beauty. I was a forest of trees studded with glowing gems and hyperbolic vaults to enhance the choir's voices.
If you only see one place in Spain, go here. For me, it was the pinnacle of our European trip.
PS. I got to pick the family shirt today -- iguanas!