Domingo 27 febrero 2011
Today we discovered some new parts of Barcelona. We realized that we had spent the majority of our time on the eastern side of La Rambla, so today we went in the opposite direction: West.
Following our street all the way to its end, we discovered the Parc Monjuïc. I’m not exactly sure what the story behind this park is, but Montjuïc is a reoccurring name around here. I think it may have something to do with the park being on a huge hill.
|Roof top paradise|
Sara and I wandered our way up through the park, zig zagging along and stopping every so (very) often for a photo op.
We walked and walked, and walked, consulted the maps along the way that really were of no assistance and even asked an elderly woman for directions (even though she knew no English) all the while en route to the MNAC. EVENTUALLY, we got there.
|I spy the Sagrada Familia, |
and a bird.
The MNAC is the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Pretty self explanatory. The museum is found in the Palau Nacional, which really does not look much like a palace.
There were a number of collections, and we only (semi-unknowingly) skipped one; the Romanesque.
|On the swing|
We started off with the Renaissance and Baroque art, dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The Renaissance and Baroque collection featured a large taste of the Catalan civil society. Moving back in time, we then looked at the Gothic art. Although the Renaissance and Baroque art was more to my taste, I found the Gothic art to be more interesting. Mainly because of all the different styles they had in the collection: mural paintings, panel paintings, stone and wood sculptures, as well as metal work. Apart from Catalonia, there were pieces from Aragon and Valencia. Between these two collections, some artists you may recognize are El Greco, Diego Velaquez, Rubens, Pere Serra and James Huget. When I first came across the panel paintings, I found them to be quite interesting because well, the piece was painted straight onto the wood. At first I thought that the paint had just leaked through the canvas and onto backing, but after a closer inspection, I realized that there was no canvas to begin with. I had never seen that before.
|Sat on stone steps and to my surprise...|
they fell in!
On the upper floor, Sara and I looked at the modern art. This was apparently the most significant collection of Catalan art. I can see why. From the 19th century to the 1940s (or so), the artists in Catalonia really made their mark with all the stylistic changes: Neoclassicism, avant-garde movements, Modernisme and Noucentisme. Some of the artists were: Fortuny, Gaudi and Casars. There were also a couple pieces by Picasso, but not many. I believe I liked this collection the most, perhaps due to the larger number of landscape paintings.
|sqwatting on trees|
|Climbin trees.. gracefully|
Sara and I each got an ice cream treat to help us cope with the gorgeous weather, and went down the many, many steps (as you can see) from the Palace to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. Now, I am not sure why the fountain is “magic”, but here you can make a wish and it will undoubtedly come true. I highly doubt that they throw pennies in, so I can almost guarantee a lower satisfaction rate than that of the Market Mall’s Mini Golf. In the evening/night time, there are water and light shows at the fountain. I really wanted to see one, but it just didn’t happen. That’s how things worked out.
|HUGE organ in the MNAC|
After out rest, we took the OUTDOOR ESCALATORS to get back up and beyond the palace. While wandering back through the park, we came across the Teleferic again, and give in for the ride.
|The Fountain from the Palau Nacional|
It was pretty cool; just like a cable car. We went all the way to the top of Montjuïc and got to see all across Barcelona. I spotted the beaches and the Sagrada Familia (it is really tall!!) and I think I also Parc Guell, but I’m not sure.
|Looking (almost) ALL the way across Barcelona|
At the end of the Tele ferric, we were at the Castell, which I believe was the old fortress of Barcelona to protect against pirates (we could see well out to the port). The Castell houses the Military Museum, but we did not go in. Instead we opted to walk/melt our way back to the hostel and have another cool down inside.
The original plan was for us to go to the Museu Picasso on Saturday, but well, like I said that was the Original Plan. On Sunday it was free, and we did not have much else to do (in mind at the time), so we went for it.
|Sara & I infront of the fountain|
|The Magic Fountain of Montjuic|
The line up was absolutely ridiculous. The line up was so long that I had time to run out for a coffee run to the place that one of our guides, Tom, guaranteed us we could get the Best Cappuccino in Barcelona, yet I came back with two coffees.
|You have no idea how hard it is to take a panoramic while gaining altitude|
Unfortunately, the museum has a strict no photo rule (and I saw what they did to the guy who got caught) so I took no photos of the interior. They had cameras (multiple) in every room as well a curator (I think that is what they are called) to watch and make you feel uncomfortable.
|Sun is shining on the Sagrada Familia today..|
Upstairs, on the first floor, 16 rooms make up the museum. Not being an overly large museum, the main concentration is on Picasso’s earlier life when he spent most of his time in Barcelona. Apart from Barcelona, his featured locations were Malaga, La Coruna, Paris and Madrid. Of course his Blue Period and Rose Period were shown as well.
|Corner of the Castell|
Getting into his later life, Picasso started working with ceramics and photography. This should not have surprised me, seeing as artistic people usually branch out between mediums, but it did.
Another thing that surprised me was how the “typical Picasso style”, you know; a nose up here, an ear down there and maybe a mouth a bit too far to the left, did not really start until later in his life. Meaning that he did not always paint like that. If you think that you really are not much of a fan of Picasso, try some of his early work, it is quite eye pleasing in my opinion and drastically different from the latter.
|View of some of the port (that we never actually visited..) from the Castell|
Also, there never seemed to be anything wrong with him; no sickness of any sort, mental or physical, no dependencies. You would think that something happened to him to make him paint in such a way as he did later in life, but I guess it is all just being creative.
|My suspicions that the Castell once|
protected Barcelona from pirates
All through the museum Picasso’s biography progresses and I read it ALL. At first with some interest, but seeing as nothing really bad or “interesting” seemed to happen to him ever, I read it mostly out of the guilt I’d have if I did not. Like Most artists, he moved around a lot and dealt with many people; making teams, business partners and companions. Artists always seem to have a very interesting social life. BUT. There were two things that I missed while reading (and left HUGE GAPING holes in my knowledge):
|Entrance to the Castell/|
1) What happened to his wife/wives? I am more than certain that some where along the line Her name changed, and then she just dropped (dead?) out of the picture.
|Just one of those meals where you get |
your sardines all over
2) When did he die? There were works from 1890, and I NEVER read about Picasso’s death. There is no way that he is still alive.
|How much do I love Barcelona?|
Getting to the end and finding that I am missing this key information frustrated me, but with all the people there (Free Entry on a Sunday, just imagine), there was no way I was going back in.
For supper, Sara and I got some take out. It was absolutely delicious. Tired from walking all day (really should have rented a bike for Montjuïc), we chilled out in our room and watched the Black Swan. It was an absolutely ridiculous movie, but you’ve all probably seen it by now, plus it’s exactly part of the Spanish experience here.
|Line up for the Picasso Museum;|
can't even see the entrance,
and people went on
coffee/take out runs
Our roomies came back just as it was ending and were quite obviously going to bed, so we went down to the commons area to hang out, maybe watch some comedy sketches, but came across Leeah and Erik, and some other people, who were playing cards. We got invited to join in so we did, and played for quite a while. Definitely a good way to end our last night in Barcelona.