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.
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.