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.
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.
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!