Today in Barcelona I went on a tour which took us to view the Cathedral Sagrada Familia which was designed by Gaudi. It is still under construction (has been for a hundred years) but we walked around it for a view of the side dedicated to Christ’s birth and the opposite side which depicts his death and the stations of the cross. The side depicting the birth is so ornately overdone it is a mish-mosh. The opposite side is stark. The various spires around the church have fruit on top which made it seem rather like Carmen Miranda’s tootie fruity hat. All in all, in may be a grand edifice, but it did nothing for me.
After viewing the Cathedral, we got back on the bus and drove to an area where we were to see a flamenco show. Apparently architects drove throughout Spain to get an idea of the different building styles and then came back to Madrid and built this small walled enclave with different buildings and shops designed to look like the various regions. We went into a restaurant where we were greeted with glasses of sangria and seated at tables around the small stage. We were told there would be tapas for us and it turned out to be potato chips, a Spanish version of goldfish crackers, and green olives. After we were settled in the guitarist and singer started the music. After a few numbers the male and female flamenco dancers came out and started to dance. At first they danced together. They then both sat down and we had more music from the other two. The woman then got up and did her numbers and then the man did his. The dancing was amazing. I took general shots of them at first but we were told the dancers faces would be very revealing as the dancing is intense so I focused on the faces after that.
We had some free time to wander about the complex and check out the shops and then we got back on the buses and drove to Madrid Hill for some great views of the city. We walked around a little bit and checked out the views of the port as well. Our guide was saying they can accommodate 10 cruise ships at a time now, but are adding another terminal to expand their capabilities since last summer they had 17 in at one time. A large part of the economy in Madrid is tourism so they are doing all they can to promote it.