Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona’

A Short Trip to Barcelona: Art, Architechture and Inspired Faux Poster Making

Once we were in London, we wanted to make our way over to Barcelona to visit Bernat and Miriam. We flew over on a Tuesday morning, and had to Leave by Thursday evening, but we made the most of our short trip.


Sitges

Once we got in, we took the train into the city since we were staying near Estacio Franca, and walked over to our hotel, the simple and modern Ciutat Barcelona. We had a leisurely lunch at Santa Caterina Market with Bernat, then headed out of the city to Sitges, a very pretty seaside town. The Sitges Film Festival was in full swing, and we had tickets to see Blindness, but after walking around town, getting food and drinks, and visiting with some friends who were also there, it turned out we had absolutely terrible seats in the enormous theater, so we decided to skip the 10:30 p.m. movie and just head back into town.


Ben Hur — in chocolate

The next day, Evan and I went to the Palau Musica to get tickets to the architectural tour, but they were sold out for the day. We bought tickets for Thursday morning, then relaxed in the beautiful cafe, amid flowery stained glass and ceramic pieces. Then we headed out to the Chocolate Museum, also in the Gothic District. The entry ticket was a chocolate bar (delicious), there were exhibits on how to make chocolate and the history of chocolate, and there were some impressive chocolate sculptures, like the choco Ben Hur. There was also a confectioner’s expo in the building next door, and we were able to snag some more delicious free chocolate.


Miro sculpture — doesn’t it look a bit like Evan?

Then we decided to head up to Mont Juic. We hopped on a bus to the funicular station, then went up the hill. Just a short walk away was the wonderful Fundacio Joan Miro, which had a huge collection of Miro’s work, including drawings from when he was a child, an incredible mercury fountain and enormous room-size pieces made just for the exhibition space. There was also a gallery dedicated to works inspired by Miro.


Mies van de Rohe Pavilion in the rain

After the Miro museum, we walked by the Olympic stadium and the art museum, and took a series of escalators down the mountain to end up at the Mies van de Rohe Pavilion. By this time it was raining, and we had to pay a bit to get into the small pavilion — which took about 3 minutes to get through. It’s a neat structure, characterized by lots of straight lines, and barely-there room designations, and there are two ponds, one of which has a nice statue in it, but other than a single white-upholstered Barcelona Chair, there wasn’t much else to see. It seemed like it should be a free or maybe 1 euro attraction.

From there, we headed across the street to the Caixa Forum. There were two exhibits going on — a small photo exhibit on motherhood around the world, and a much bigger, more interesting and more extensive exhibit of Alphonse Mucha’s work that featured a lot of classic theater posters as well as paintings and other works by the artist. There was also a room set aside for us to make our own Muchas, with poster templates, crayons, markers and cutouts. We chose to make a bit of a satirical poster, bringing Mucha’s feminine ideal into a grittier production, the show Westside Homie: From Goddess to Gangsta, complete with bling, bullets and stripper shoes. Maybe we had a bit too much fun.

The next day we toured the Palau Musica and were wowed by the beautiful concert hall, with its stained-glass sun skylight, tiara-like chandeliers around the palm tree pillars, and mosaic muses surrounding the stage. It was also incredibly bright and airy, with windows all along the sides. It was unlike any other concert hall I’d ever been in. I wish we could have seen a performance.

We spent the rest of our time walking around the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Gothic District. Evan bought ham, we celebrated Bernat’s birthday (happy birthday!) and we hopped on a plane back to London since we were heading back to California the next day.

Barcelona Sunset at Parc de Ciutadella

Our last stop on Monday was Parc de Ciutadella, which we entered through Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf. We also learned that unlike the arches in Paris and London and other European cities, this one isn’t commemorating a war victory, it’s just for show.

We go to the park at sunset and snapped some photos in the remaining light, walked around the little lagoon where people were taking out row boats, and helped retrieve a stray soccer ball (Evan kicked it back).

Barcelona Arc de Triomf, Parc de Ciutadella

Monday Modernism: Parc Guell and Casa Batllo

Monday, we did a mini Modernist tour of Barcelona by checking out some of the Gaudi parks and buildings. We started with Parc Guell, an intriguingly odd park full of palm trees, cacti, colorful mosaics, bridges made of ancient-looking rocks and houses that look like they could be made of gingerbread. The park is also on a hill, so it boasts incredible views of the city. We also had the good fortune of going on a beautiful, sunny spring day, when it was warm enough not to need our jackets.

Parc Guell EntranceParc Guell BridgeParc Guell HousesParc Guell View

Casa Batllo was equally bizarre, but totally different. Remodeled by Gaudi in 1906 with themes from the ocean, it feels like a mermaid’s city hideaway, with undulating walls, elaborate tile work and whale-ribcage-shaped arches. The audio guide was actually quite good, too — I listened to the whole thing, and usually I don’t have the patience for those. Sometimes the script was a bit long-winded and the descriptions a little too inconclusive, but in general, it taught me a lot.

Casa Batllo RoofCasa Batllo Roof

Photos: Barcelona at Night

On the way back from the countryside, we took a route into the city that brought us over some mountains. We stopped at a lookout point, and Evan grabbed these great shots.

Barcelona at NightBarcelona at Night

Photos: A Day in the Spanish Countryside

One of the best parts of the weekend was getting away to the Spanish countryside with Miriam’s family. We cooked over an indoor fire pit, played with dogs, rode horses in view of the Pyrenees, and walked in the mountains. These photos are from Sunday morning.

Country HouseSleeping DogEvan and a dogFrancine and a HorseHorseback RidingHorseback RidingHorseback Riding

Check out many more photos of the Spanish countryside on Evan’s site.

Views From Montserrat

Saturday, on our way up to Miriam’s brother’s house, we stopped by Montserrat to have a look around the monastery on the mountain. The views were great. I only wish we had more time to explore.

The hill Montserrat is on, itself, is actually quite different from the surrounding scenery — it’s much craggier, with rock pillars jutting up like fingers, instead of the smooth ridges found on the nearby mountains.

We also learned that Montserrat is a common Catalonian woman’s name, most often abbreviated as Montse. We’ve met a Montse before, but didn’t make the connection until Miriam told us that it’s also her mother’s name.

Montserrat ViewMontserrat View

Check out more Montserrat photos on Evan’s site.

Barcelona City View: Placa Colon

Placa Colon Barcelona

One of our first Barcelona photos when walking around the city Saturday morning, looking towards Placa Colon (aka Columbus). The first (and only other) time I went to Barcelona, we rode up the elevator in the central column to catch the view from up top, underneath the half-globe. It’s quite a scary, narrow, ride.

Check out more Barcelona photos on Evan’s site.