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Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and a Spanish Shoe Shine



I looked  for a place to get my shoes shined, or for the shine boxes, but so far, I’ve yet to see any shoe shine service in Barcelona. I think perhaps Spaniards are more practical and shine their own shoes, or refuse to wear shoes that cannot be used for football. We will see though. Yesterday, instead of finding a shoe shine I found a locotoria, after a sort of wild quest through back alleys and dark streets. It turns out that the cell phone I got is cheap, but is usually only sold in immigrant shops and the locotoria, which is essentially, a discount calling center. Remember those? When I asked one man where there was a locotoria, he tried to send me to a porn shop, but it turns out that he misunderstood. Maybe I looked like I needed porn.

After this I rushed to the Cathedral of Barcelona to meet up with three of the Romans from the Roman invasion who had just arrived and then back to Cafe Zurich to meet with Laura. From there we walked up to Casa Batllo and Dino, Mauro, and I went in for the tour. The tour was interesting, but perhaps looking at a book would reveal the same interior features while seeing the outside is possible from outside. It was an expensive tour, and this perhaps makes me appreciate it less as a result of higher expectations.

The present Casa Batllo, is the result of a total refurbishment of an old previous conventional house built in 1877. Gaudi­ was commissioned by the owner Josep Batlló i Casanovas to totally renew the old building. On that base, Gaudi­ projected this astonishing house, one of the most fancy and “special” of Barcelona.


While we toured, Laura and Valerio went to meet some U.S. sailor she had met on couchsurfing whose ship was ‘secretly’ in town. The guy said he was on the ship but not in the military, but when we met later, there was no doubt he was…or had been.


Coming out of the tour, there was just time to meet up again and head to Cafe Zurich again to meet up with Julian and Juan and then to go to the bus station to get the Roman’s bags where we met up with Anna and then back to Julian’s to drop off the bags, then out to a sausage house that was completely packed at 11 pm and then to a match of ‘miniature football’ between Julian’s colleagues, then to the bus station again to get Daniella and Maria, then to drop off Maria at another couch surf host and then back here. Exhausting. I’m amazed at how much work the couch surfing community does. I’m glad to get the chance to see an invasion like this and everything that goes on with it, but I think it might be too much work. We will see though, the weekend will certainly be exhausting.

And of course if you want to see the rest of my photos go to here.

Originally published 23 January 2009.

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Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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