Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Off on Barcelona

We have been to Barcelona before (in 2000), so has everyone else, with stories to tell, too. On top of that I did much research. Turns out my idea of Barcelona was a little, a lot, off!

1. Barcelona has beautiful modernist architecture
I LOVED all the modernist architecture the last time we were in Barcelona, so much that I thought we would stay in the neighborhood the next time. We didn't end up doing that only because of the Saint Eulalia festival. We did lots of walking around looking at architecture. I was not at all impressed as I expected to be; probably I have gone seen too much great architecture in the intervening years.

2. Barcelona is Disney-esque
Coming here in February helped, festival weekend neutral (more tourists, but also more locals). We got some sage advice from friends to stay in El Born. Because of the festival, we ended up staying in the far corner of El Born, which meant every coming and going we got to wind through the labyrinth of back alleys free of tourists and tourist shops.

3. Barcelona is sketchy
Given the weather (compared to the rest of the continent) and number of tourists, were I a petty criminal, I'd choose to work in Barcelona this time of the year. So I was on high alert. Alas, I failed to spot anything remotely suspicious.

4. Barcelona gouges tourists on admission. Partly due to the festival, we didn't end up paying for anything.

  • National Museum of Catalonia Art (the special Picasso+Romanesque Art exhibit forever changed my perception of both) 
  • Modernist Hospital Sant Pau (Orwell referred to it as"the sanitarium")
  • Barcelona City History Museum (fascinating multilevel underground excavations)
  • Maritime Museum (old shipyard)
  • El Born market (not so interesting)
  • City Hall Mirador - on Saturdays, one gets to march right through Mayor Ada's office

I have to admit Barcelona has very nice museums; interesting and up to date.

If there is one thing, Barcelona did feel as progressive as I expected, lots of city services, many city employees, cafes and restaurants more egalitarian than trendy; and community participation as evidenced by the festival. We are talking about how we will return to Barcelona.

Casa Mila
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Eixample Architecture.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Progressive Barcelona has free loaner bikes and bike lanes.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

The peaceful night streets of the El Born district.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

View of the city from atop City Hall (more or less).
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spainc

The City Hall was open to the public on Saturday.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spainc

Brunch at Vegetalia.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spainc

View from the steps of the National Museum of Catalonia Art.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spainc

At National Museum of Catalonia Art, in the Picasso+Romanesque Art exhibit, one could photograph the Romanesque art (part of the permanent collection, but not the Picasso (on loan). Ha! This very large exhibit vividly showed how Picasso was influenced by Romanesque art.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spainc

The museum also featured some splendid works by Catalan artist Joaquín Mir - a new fav.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spainc

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spainc

We were awoken Sunday morning by the Barcelona Marathon - a gentle wake up call outside our small balcony.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

The Modernist Hospital Sant Pau was amazing. Thanks Kathy for the tip!
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Born Market Hall.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Maritime Museum.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

The Roman City under the Barcelona City History Museum.
Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

And finally playing some tunes in the vegan Cat Bar after enjoying a hemp burger, fries, and IPA.
Playing some tunes in the Cat Bar - Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain

Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain














3 comments:

Kathy said...

Glad you enjoyed the hospital! Looks a lot more crowded than when I was there. Did you make it to the Palace of Music?

I thought the Eixample was a good area to stay, but maybe not during the festival?

Liz said...

I love the architecture!

Sun-Ling said...

They are still working on the Hospital. It is still supposed to be an up and coming attraction. We only walked by the Palace of Music, but prioritized Eulalia over a performance. The next time in Barcelona, we'll make our address in Eixample and go to at lease one performance at the Palace of Music.