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A couple of weeks ago, LD#1 announced that she didn’t want to go to Barcelona because she doesn’t like hot weather.

I suggested that it might be an idea for her to wear some clothes that weren’t black.  Also to take her hoodie off occasionally.

Having said that, I don’t possess all that many clothes that aren’t black.  I do have one pair of pale jeans, which I donned on the morning of our departure, together with my one white vest top, only to come downstairs, see the puncture in Car’s front wheel and think, “Oh yes, I could change a wheel without getting mud or grease on my clothes.”

Much heaving and hefting, plus a change of clothes later, and I was the one sallying forth into thirty degree heat wearing a pair of black jeans.

Fortunately, we arrived in Barcelona in the evening, when there was a nice cool breeze.  I was too busy going “Wow!! Look at those palm trees!” (a reaction I haven’t had since I visited Devon for the first time as a teenager), to worry about heat.

Taking pictures of the airport!  How sad!

Taking pictures of the airport! How sad!

The next day, it was hot.  I’d planned quite a lot for Day 1 and 2, as there was rain forecast for the weekend.  We took the metro to Espanya, and from there it’s a pretty walk down the Avenue Maria Cristina to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, in the Palau Nacional.


The Palau was one of the most remarkable things that I saw on the bus journey in and when we got up close to it, LD#2 and I got really excited and started running around all over the place taking pictures.  (LD#1 was mostly still complaining about it being hot.)




The lovely cooling fountain is called the Magic Fountain and in the evenings, there is a show with coloured lights around it (although we didn’t stay long enough to see it.)

You can get almost from the bottom to the top of the ascent using the escalators provided.  This is the view from the top.


LD#1 won’t have her photo taken any more, but I wondered if she would take a photo of me and LD#2.  LD#2 said, “But you don’t need to do that, you can just take it yourself.  Look.”


and I said “How did you do that when you can’t see the picture you’re taking?”  And then I thought, “Oh yeah, you’re thirteen years old, of course you can do that, no problem.”

Unfortunately, one floor of the museum, the Modern Art floor, was closed, but that still left plenty of Mediaeval, Gothic/Renaissance and Baroque.  History to me has always seemed pretty much relentless episodes of people a) killing each other quickly b) killing each other slowly c) being hungry d) being cold so it was an eye opener to see a more civilised side to it.  Much of the mediaeval art was painstakingly transferred from the site of discovery to new, specially built arches.


I was surprised at how bright the Gothic/Renaissance pictures were, with bright golds and reds very vivid under the bright lights.


LD#2 said, “I thought Gothic was just people wearing black who don’t like taking their hoodies off,” (honestly, she wasn’t referring to LD#1) and I didn’t really know enough about the movement to be very informative.

In the afternoon, we walked through very intense heat to the Miro Foundation up the hill.


We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, so this is a picture of an alien that we found outside.


The Miro Foundation was my favourite of the six museums I got as part of the
Articket deal.  Thirty Euros for entry to six museums.  Worth it for the savings, but equally good on a hot day was the fact that it takes you past all the queues 🙂

The museum in the Palau was my second favourite, due to its scope, but I enjoyed Miro the most because there was a fifteen minute film telling the story of his life, the methods behind his work, and the passion he and his whole family felt for setting up a foundation where his work and that of others could be shared with the public.  It was beautifully shot, and merged and overlaid photographs of the things that he was depicting with the painted image itself.  This helped me understand the picture of the black wing on the blue sky and the red poppy in the green field.

The LDs remained unimpressed and wanted to know why he couldn’t just paint things to look like the actual objects.

Before I am too hard on them, I have to remember that I thought that way too at their age.  Now I think the complete opposite – what’s the point of making something look exactly like it does in real life?  It made me wonder whether we become more receptive to artistic representations as we get older because we have a much richer bank of images and experiences to draw on.  So if I see an upended wooden crate, on which stands an egg, the whole thing lacquer painted black, it makes me think about functionality, and about people’s attempts to mimic functionality, and natural forms being made to look unnatural, and all sorts of other things, while the LDs are saying they are bored and can we go now?

It has to be said that LD#2 did perk up when we passed through the shop.  I said, “Why is it that you show no interest in the actual work of these artists, but as soon as you see merchandise with these images plastered all over them, it’s – Ooooh! and – Wow!”  LD#2 always did like a shop.

Therefore after we left the museums and went back to Espanya, we visited the Las Arenas shopping centre.




This used to be the bullring, but bullfighting has been banned in Catalonia, and since then, it was converted to a much better use.  The centre has a platform at the top from which you can take in views of the city.

city Inside, even better, it has a promotional statue of Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, next to which your delighted daughter can have her photo taken.


After that, we were totally exhausted and went back to our apartment.  I was however intrigued by the fact that there is no bullfighting in Catalonia, at how organised the city is, with its grids of streets and every-five-minutes-on-the-dot Metro, its manic signposting, and the fact that everyone seems so efficient.  Not how I’d imagined Spain to be at all!  So I did some Googling when we got home and read up about all the different regions of Spain, and how different they are from each other.  The Catalans are the organised, hard working ones.

Just don’t mention independence!




  1. kateatthekeyboard

    Ah glad you had such a lovely time! Barcelona looks lovely, I would love to visit. A lot of people have recommended it to me, all the art and architecture seems right up my street.

    A few years ago I would have agreed with your daughters – it”s funny how we learn to appreciate these things as time goes by. My parents dragged me round many a museum where the most exciting thing was definitely the gift shop!

    The shopping centre that used to be a bullring looks amazing from the outside!

    • I added a picture of the inside of the bullring, LD#2 thought a curved shopping centre was an excellent idea.

      I think you would really enjoy Barcelona! There was more architecture that I didn’t even get round to seeing, and the climate is great for relaxing with a drink or a pastry. Despite the complaints, it really could have been a lot hotter.

  2. Jennifer

    I want to go. It’s beautiful and sounds like fun. I’m with LD#2 – take me shopping.

  3. I’m tempted to envy you because you live in Europe. But I know that envy is futile. So, instead, I’ll be thrilled for you. What a wonderful experience to have with you LD’s.!

    • I’m only just beginning to discover the wonders of Europe and how lucky I am to be so close to all these places – a lot of the cities don’t hold great amusement for very small children.

      I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to make one of these visits with someone who’s able to say more than “I’m bored. Can we go now?” to a museum display.

      • You’ll be amazed when those people who are able to offer interest and insights turn out to be your daughters. Coming sooner than you can imagine…

  4. Sounds like you had a really good time in Barcelona – what a great place to take your LD’s! The Miro sounds wonderful. I loved your explanation of the girls lack of interest in modern art – so funny and so true. What a pretty girl LD2 is – just like her Mum (but don’t tell her!).

    • I wasn’t even expecting Barcelona to be so good – it wasn’t just the variety of arts and cultures and architecture, but the fact that so many places were a short walk away, and there were so few people about. It’ll be hard to top that as a family holiday.

  5. Gwen Stephens

    Barcelona is lovely. Having two daughters of a similar age, I can feel your pain in traveling with teenagers. I think generally speaking their age range is about conforming. Nothing that’s viewed as “different” in their eyes is appealing, and every adventure must be wildly entertaining or deemed boring. Appreciation comes with age. I had to chuckle at your instruction in taking a “selfie.” We will never be on par with them when it comes to gadgets. 🙂

    • I think they were just about old enough to appreciate bits of the journey and hope that they will look back on the experience with some appreciation of what they saw.

      I am trying to get them to appreciate “different” and “why” a bit more – mostly because I wish that I had had someone to tell me at that age about those concepts, and how to “relax into” those concepts. It would have saved a lot of immaturity!

      Perhaps it is not something that we can tell others and it has to be something we discover for ourselves.

  6. Sounds like a fab trip Denise! I’ve never made it to Barcelona, but have only heard good things about it. Is it buggy friendly or are there steps everywhere?

    Love the photo of you and your daughter, you both look so happy 🙂

    • It’s such a well designed place. The streets are on a grid system so it’s easy to find your way round. Amazingly, it seemed that there was a lift into and then around all the Metro stations we saw.

      The only thing that we experienced when dragging suitcases is that the pavements are covered with bumpy square paving stones! Buggy with big wheels might be all right.

      There is an alternative way up to the Palau by road (bus) – which we couldn’t locate hence walking instead!

  7. You are so resilient, changing a tyre before EVEN starting! I would have burst into tears. These are such wonderful photos and memories. I can still recall the days when the museum shop was my favourite part (and sometimes it still is). But I have a great story that you can save up for your daughters when they appeal for representational art. Picasso was on a train when he got buttonholed by a critic who asked him why he wouldn’t draw things the way they looked. He took a photo out of his pocket to show him of his wife, saying ‘This is how things really look – look at my wife! That’s exactly how she is.’ And Picasso took the photo from him, studied it for a moment and said: ‘She is very small. And flat.’ That always makes me laugh.

    • The familiarity with tyre changing stems from being deeply rubbish at steering and always knocking my wheels against kerbs and getting punctures 😦

      I told the story to my daughters and they were amused, and I think they might even have got the point. Or maybe they were just nodding so that I would go away and stop going on.

  8. Oops, I am reading your posts backwards 😉 Lovely photos! And gosh, my son always makes a beeline for the museum gift shops…I always end up so frustrated and worried that he doesn’t care about the museum works themselves, but I guess this is common….I hope you and your daughter had a wonderful time!

    • I really thought that they would get something out of it, because they are easily able to discuss other areas of art and culture, other things.  Looking back at myself, I was definitely not ready even in my early twenties to work out what art was for or about.  My school did not introduce me to the idea, and neither did my parents.  Everything pushed me to grades and achievement.  So I guess there is time for my daughters to develop yet.


    • You couldn’t ignore either one of them – they’d let you know about it!


  9. What a wonderful time spent with your LD’s in Barcelona despite the heat and the boredom… 😉 Ahh, the memories! Love the selfie of you 🙂

  10. equinoxio21

    A lovely family. A nice trip. Thanks for the follow and y’all have a lovely week!

  11. equinoxio21

    What’s LD stand for? Loved Daughter? Our two girls are nicknamed Matata mkubwa (Big trouble. Remember Hakuna matata?) and Matata kidogo (Small trouble!) 🙂

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