City of The Phallus


This blog entry about the events of Thursday, July 01, 2004 was originally posted on July 10, 2004.

DAY 257:  I don’t know if it was intentional, but I’ve heard that Barcelona seems to be obsessed with phallic symbols.

I was up by seven to wake up before my 24-hour luggage locker at the train station expired.  I think I was still a little out of it because I ended up totally confused in the Metro systems, even getting on a train going the wrong way.  This shouldn’t be the case because Barcelona’s Metro system is usually easy to navigate with easy to read maps, a good signage system and even a digital countdown at the platforms to tell you how long it is before the next train comes.

DOWN LA RAMBLA is the marina and La Rambla de Mar, a man-made island off the coast that harbors not only sailboats, but a huge shopping, dining and nightclub complex.  It was there Jack and I had breakfast at Pans & Company, the chain bocadillo (baguette sandwich) restaurant found all over Spain. 

“I’m surprised how much I don’t hear Spanish,” bilingual Jack said, biting into his sandwich.  Most of what we heard was the American English coming out of the hundreds of tourists around, and most of the written language we saw was in the regional language of Catalan, which looks like a blend of Spanish and French.

Refreshed and ready to go, we started our sightseeing of the day.  First up, the Montjuïc via a modern funicular.  Literally “Hill of the Jews,” Montjuïc is the big hill to the southeast of the city — according to history (and my guidebook), whoever controlled it controlled the city.  Nowadays it holds picturesque parks and historical buildings.

Wandering the Park Montjuïc with its exhilarating views, we visited the Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, hosting a permanent collection of regional Gothic and Roman art, as well as temporary exhibitions of Peruvian and Chinese artifacts.  We wandered the Olympic Stadium, stage of the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics.  Seeing the futuristic spire in the Olympic park, along with other free standing column structures in the area, I started to notice the trend of Barcelona’s phallic symbols — even the flowers looked a bit phallic.  Surrounded by them everywhere we went, sophomoric Jack and I started singing “Penis Time” to the melody of Semisonic’s “Closing Time.”

After wandering around the Miro Foundation, a museum in the Montjuïc dedicated to Barcelona-born Modernist artistic luminary Joan Miro and other Modern and contemporary artists, we took the funicular back down the Hill of The Jews and the Metro to La Sagrada Familia, legendary architect Anton Gaudi’s famous unfinished cathedral, “the world’s most visited construction site” according to Let’s Go.  A permanent work-in-progress, the cathedral attracts millions to witness its completely unfinished splendor with its unique Gaudi architectural style and its sculpted depiction of the Passion of Christ by Cubist sculptor Josep Subirach.  Above all they come for the view from one of its eight phallic towers (eighteen were initially planned). 

Jack and I waited about forty minutes on line to ride up the tower’s elevator with other American tourists and four teenage Spanish girls who had no idea what they were on line for — after thirty minutes of waiting they discovered they were on line for the elevator at an additional cost of two Euros and left.  Despite Jack’s acrophobia, he came up with me on the one of the last lifts of the day to the observation platforms where we enjoyed the view of Barcelona, including the sights of yet another phallic tower(picture above).

FIVE ITALIAN GUYS WERE IN OUR HOSTEL DORM ROOM when we arrived back in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) where we lived temporarily.  They were in town for a bachelor party, only to find accommodations in a youth hostel dorm of all places, and I hoped the stripper would make an appearance.  However, they went out to take out their groom, leaving Jack and I to explore nightlife in the City of The Phallus on our own — although not really because Jack had a friend living in Barcelona who could lead us.  After a delicious paella dinner at the Time Out Barcelona-recommended Taxidermista restaurant in the lively Plaza Real across the street, we met up with Jack’s friend Nicolas who led us beyond the American tourists of bars and clubs in the Gothic Quarter and onto the Port Olympic, a big complex of club after club after club, each inviting a casually-dressed clientele of a few tourists and many locals — which was welcome news to Jack; up until that time, Jack was saying “I think I speak more Spanish in Miami and then I come to Spain and only speak English.”

Amongst the locals in the club scene of Port Olympic were the sexy, voluptuous Spanish pole dancers wearing next to nothing, prompting everyone to gawk and take photos, like Nicolas and his digital camera on his cell phone.  The pole dancers were a perfect fit to the Barcelonan scene as they sprouted up at least one more phallus — in my pants.

Next entry: My First Celebrity Sighting

Previous entry: Second Time, Second Nature

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Comments for “City of The Phallus”

  • well the phallic architecture seem very appropriate in the country with the testosterone-filled “running with the bulls”. it’s all about who has the bigger shoe size. yeah, that’s it… =)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/10  at  06:46 PM

  • haha… nice ending….lmgyp

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/10  at  07:44 PM

  • pole dancers!  yes!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  07/10  at  08:49 PM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

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Next entry:
My First Celebrity Sighting

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Second Time, Second Nature


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