Barcelona: The Adventure Begins

Written by Harold McNeill on November 18th, 2013. Posted in Travelogue


Gruel Park Barcelona

Gruel Park Entrance:  The marble pillars above, give way to rock structures that support much of
hillside.  Photos in the attached album provide a better feel for the area.

Link Here for Full Set of Photos

With the population rapidly pushing toward 1.75 million, a history that traces back several hundred years, a football team that commands world attention and an architect whose works continues to define many aspects of the city, Barcelona has plenty to offer. Since gaining their freedom barely 35 years ago, Barcelona and Catalan Province have become top tourist destinations of the Eurozone.

Situated in the north-east part of Spain, the port of Barcelona hosts more cruise ships and cargo tonnage than any other single Mediterranean destination. When wandering around this carefree city it is hard to believe that it was only 1976 when the Catalonian people emerged from 40 years of brutal repression under the iron fist of the Franco regime.

civiwarmainDuring that dictatorship, the Catalonian people were not allowed to use their language or practice many of their cultural traditions. Each day, summary execution was a fact of life. Today, you can feel the sense of freedom as millions of tourists fill the streets, shops and resturants, or wait for their turn to view the classic works of art and architecture that fill the city.

Photo (Web): Catalonian rebels fight Franco’s troops.  For decades, the whereabouts of thousands executed in Spain under Franco’s rule have remained a mystery. Now the exhumation of mass graves is reuniting relatives with their loved ones’ remains – and revealing the country’s dark history.

As had only a limited time to savour the sights and sounds, we purchased two-day “Hop On, Hop Off” bus passes for $34E (you can take one day at $26E and update the next for $8E if you wish).  The Red (Central), Green (Waterfront) and, Blue (North and West) routes provide easy access to almost every major tourist attraction in the city.

Each of the city owned double decker uses with open top, has a quality sound system that provides an excellent running commentary in a dozen languages. It was lucky for us that we were travelling outside the peak tourist season, as there was plenty of room on the top deck and wait times at every attraction, even the most popular, was no more than a 10-15 minutes.

Almost every area in Barcelona boasts examples of the work of Antonio Gaudi, the most stunning of which is the Sagadra Familia monument, a towering structure designed in the form of a Basilica. This amazing work of architectural art has been under construction for over one hundred years and is not likely to be completed for another fifty.  As for the few photographs posted, it was extremely hard to capture the splendour.

The second example of the amazing work that flowed from the mind of Gaudi’s was the buildings and walls in Guell Park. In addition to the flowing mosaic of the walls and rooftops, large areas of the hillside park is supported on pillars of either marble or rock in the style of that build in ancient Rome.

Antonio Gaudi was clearly a man who loved to design his works of art as places in which people could work, play, pray and love in a setting that helped them to break the bonds of the more mundane aspects of their lives.

Perhaps one day we will again have an opportunity to return to this wonderful City and Province.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    July 25, 2021 |

    Glad you enjoyed Craig. It was fun researching and writing that particular post. It seems I was in school many years before you, the 1950s to be more precise. Cheers, Harold

  • Craig Patterson

    July 18, 2021 |

    Thank you for sharing this. I grew up in Cold Lake (former town of Grand Centre) and we’d heard many stories over the years. Today I was talking to my Mom about the Kinosoo and I came to this article when I was searching images of the fish — I recall when I was in school in the 80s where was a photo supposedly taken (I think it’s the one of the ice fisherman above).

  • Harold McNeill

    January 15, 2021 |

    Wow, Graham, I was taken by surprise (but then again that’s not too hard). Having all you fine folks (my children by other fathers and mothers) would have been great. I’m hopeful that sometime in the not too distant future, we can reprise that trip. Perhaps we’ll just set aside a time for someone else’s landmark day, and we can surprise them. Love to you two. Harold

  • Graham and Nazanin

    January 15, 2021 |

    How could we miss this historic event my friend!!!
    Nazy and I were booked for that cruise Harold, we were looking so forward to it.
    We will be together soon! We both wish that continued unconditional love you receive from everyone to continue as you are that special someone that makes a difference in this world.
    Happy birthday sir, cheers!

  • Harold McNeill

    January 7, 2021 |

    Glad you found the site and that Dorthy enjoyed. I’ve added a lot of school photos in other locations linked to the High School Years stories. Cheers, Harold

  • Shelley Hamaliuk

    January 2, 2021 |

    Hi there, I am Dorothy Marshall’s (nee Hartman) daughter. Mom was quite excited when she discovered this site while surfing the net yesterday, so excited that she told me to have a look! She quite enjoyed taking a trip down memory and seeing old pictures of herself.Keep up the great work!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.