Friday, 17 March 2017

Postcards for the Weekend: Spain

This weekend at PFTW, Maria asks us to share postcards “from a country you wish to visit”. 

To be honest, I’m not really longing to go anywhere at all these days, unless I can learn to apparate and be allowed to borrow Hermione’s beaded bag. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you need to read Harry Potter! Instant magical transportation, and a tiny little handbag which still magically has room for absolutely everything one might possibly need…)

But if I pretend for a moment that I could do that, and was to go now, I think I might choose Spain. I have been there once, but that was 50 (!) years ago. It was in May 1967, it was our very first family trip abroad, and I was eleven going on twelve. We stayed in the small town of Sitges near Barcelona, and also went on a couple of tourist day trips by bus out of there – one to some small village up in the mountains, and one into the city of Barcelona.

In January (2017) I received this card from Ginny in the US, which brought up memories of the unique Barcelona architecture:

161231-170116_2 from Ginny 1702
Barcelona – Pavelló a l’entrada principal del Park Güell
(Pavillion near the main gate to Park Güell)
Postcard sent from the US, 2017

This park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site under “Works of Antoni Gaudí”.

I’m not sure if we visited that park, but I know we did see the famous cathedral*basilica La Sagrada Familia and some other buildings by Gaudi. The cathedral, started in 1882, is still being built… Checking up on it in Wikipedia now, it seems they estimate completion in 2026-28! (Maybe I’ll go in 2030 or so to check?)

My old postcards from 1967 are all glued into an album together with some very blurry black-and-white photos of my own. It’s a spiral-bound album so it can’t be put on the scanner… But I tried copying some with my camera (digitally cropped and edited after):


▲La Sagrada Familia, postcard image from ~1967 (or earlier).

▼Below, for comparison, an image from Wikipedia 2009.
I do think the cathedral has kept growing…!▼

Sagrada Familia 01.jpg
From Wikipedia


▲ Another Gaudi building (postcard from ~1967).


▲ Postcard images from Sitges ~1967 ▼


To finish off: A postcrossing card from Madrid landed on my doormat this week, reminding me of Spain again. It shows signs with street names painted on tiles, from Madrid.

170313 ES-455912 Calles de Madrid
Calles de Madrid – Postcrossing card (ES-4559912), March 2017

Quite an interesting challenge for me to try and figure out what the names meant. The one that puzzled me the most was “Calle de la montera”. I couldn’t find montera in my dictionary, and didn’t understand what the picture was supposed to be. After a bit of internet research I learned that montera is a bullfighter’s hat:

Montera - Photo from Wikipedia

PS. I see now (Wikipedia) that I made a mistake in calling La Sagrada Familia a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. The proper name is "basilica".

Weekend Linky Party:


  1. Spain is a country I've rarely visited and I've not been to Barcelona. One of the lovely thing about post cards is that you can visit the world in your own home.

    1. Graham, I think most people I know who have been to Spain on holiday have been to Costa del Sol in the south rather than to the northern parts. Personally I feel more attracted to the Barcelona/Sitges area though. But that may be because I have my memories and can travel back there in my head more easily than to a new place :)

  2. What a surprise to see my card! But it truly pales in comparison to these other images. Are all these tourist attractions, or really churches with a congregation and services? I have wanted to go to Barcelona for some time now. A friend of mine went for about a year to teach. Their architecture,balconies and flowers are wonderful. My favorite is the third, it does not even look real, looks made out of steel. Plus, I could become well acquainted with the siestas!

    1. Ginny, your card was very interesting to me because it related to the other buildings that once upon a time I'd seen in real life. I suppose La Sagrada Familia in all its splendor was/is intended to give glory to God (and "the holy family" which is what the name means) - but probably also intended to give some glory to the architect, and to the city... (as has indeed been the case) I see now (in Wikipedia) that I made a mistake in calling it a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. The proper name is "basilica". There are services held (Catholic mass). It is also open to tourists but you have to buy tickets for a specific time slot. I can't actually remember if back in 1967 we also went inside or if we just saw it from outside.

  3. How informative! Thanks so much for this post, postcards, and photos Monica! I also want to go to Spain but didn't have as pretty postcards and photos to feature like what you have! :D Thanks for sharing.

  4. Spain looks like a great place to visit from these cards and so does Ginny's card. cute little whatever it is...

    1. Sandra, I suspect that by comparison, that little pavillion might fit into the "pocket" of the big basicila... :)

  5. Hi Monica, Thanks for sharing these interesting cards. I hear you about not really wanting to go anywhere these days, I’m feeling the same. Despite that, your cards make Spain look pretty inviting. I do think this is my first time to get a good, close look at La Sagrada Familia. What an amazing cathedral! The art on the Calles de Madrid card is very cool! Thanks, as always, for sharing your postcards!

    1. Thanks for visiting, John. And for all of us who don't get to (or want to) actually travel much - the combination of postcard exhange and internet these days certainly helps to widen our views anyway!

  6. I like to see my country through the eyes of visitors; it gives me a different perspective.

    I know Barcelona very well (my birthplace is not that far from there!). I remember the first time I visited the Sagrada Familia, in the eighties, and it looked more or less like in your first postcard (more built, but only 4 towers). The second time, in 2004 or so, it looked more or less like in the second. However, it isn't the most interesting building of the city, in my opinion. But I understand that people gets amazed.

    Thanks for sharing the postcards and your memories!

    1. Eva, I get what you mean. As a visitor one sees things differently than when actually living somewhere. (Not to mention that in this case I was also only 11 years old at the time!)

  7. I have never been to Spain, but "everyone" keeps telling me how wonderful Barcelona is. My late husband used to live and teach in the area for about six years, until the language school where he worked went bust (thanks to a crook for an owner). Steve was fluent in Spanish and Catalan. I can understand some of both, but am nowhere near fluent - it is mostly guess work from my knowledge of Italian and French.

    1. Meike, to become/feel really fluent in a language I dare say one probably has to be more or less "immersed" in it for a period of time...

  8. It's interesting to go back to places but often my thought is "I'm glad I saw it before" however it is nice to have two memories. Love the tiles.


Communication is what makes blogging fun :)
... but all spam or suspected spam will be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...