Monday dawned and after some domestic chores we finally got away from the campground about 11:00. Cars lined up along the route close to the beach made us suspicious that this was a holiday Monday, and sure enough when we arrived at the Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) we found that it was on holiday hours and closed at 2:00 p.m. Considering that this would not be nearly enough time to justify the cost of admission, we decided to walk a little and came to Sant Pau del Camp. Ellen decided to attempt a sketch and Jim walked around the outside of the church.
Sant Pau del Camp (però no hi ha cap camp!) is one of the best preserved Romanesque buildings in Barcelona. It has a single nave and is in the form of a Greek cross. The outside of the church is decorated in the traditional Lombarian style and is very attractive. The esplanade bell tower you see in the picture was crumbling in places but still mostly intact, with lovely curved lines of stone and brick. Ellen liked the plants that had taken up residence in the walls, and the beautiful trees, linden (?), cedar and palms–what a combination!
The tympanum of the west portal has Christ in Majesty with Saints Peter and Paul on either side. The tetramorph is represented: Saint Matthew (the man) and Saint John (the eagle) are above the tympanum while Saint Mark (the lion) and Saint Luke (the bull) are to each side. I have not seen anything like it–usually the Evangelists are in the tympanum around Christ who is in a mandorla. Above them all is a hand with two fingers blessing in the traditional manner. The lintel is also unusual in that it has an inscription to honour the donors to the church. I tried to read it but was unable to. The facade gives the impression of an artist trying to formulate a sculptural program, someone with ideas about what he wants to say in the symbols, but struggling with their representation. I believe that it has been dated to the visigoth era. I don’t know of anything similar from the same time to compare this with.
We were not able to enter the church until the woman returned, around 4:00. The cloister is very interesting–the arches between the columns show a muslim influence. It dates from the XII century and has many wonderfully sculpted capitals. I found the dome over the transepts in church itself particularly interesting; there is also a Virgin with Child which was carved in wood (I think that it was XII century).
We walked from the Church back toward Plaça d’Espanya where we were going to meet Daniel and Andrea for supper. We found a pedestrians only street with lots of cafes and restaurants and sat down to have an ice cream. We’d just started when there was a loud bang and Ellen saw sparks on the street around the corner. Noone seemed unduly alarmed, and we awaited developments. There were a lot of people in pink t-shirts walking around, and very soon some ‘music’ started, about 10 drums and 5 trumpets, people of all ages, in the band.
After watching for a while, we saw that all their shirts had a man’s picture and the caption “Remember Jordi forever”. The music went on for about 10 or 15 minutes. We continued on our way and easily met up with Daniel and Andrea. After a detour to a restaurant they knew which also had a gluten-free menu for Andrea which turned out to be closed, we decided to go back to the pedestrian street mentioned above (which we had all been walking up and down that afternoon, although we hadn’t seen each other) and chose a restaurant with Canary Islands cuisine. It was delicious!! On the way home, we passed another band, green t-shirted this time, but with basically the same composition of drums and trumpets. A third gang, dressed in red, some as devils, paraded along the street, lighting firecrackers and carrying huge sparkler-type fireworks. The Catalans certainly celebrate in style. When we asked later what celebration this was, we were told it was “second Easter”. When we asked, why second Easter, we were told “because it’s Spain!”