I had admission to four more musems with my Articket.
On Day 2, we walked past the Arc de Triomf
and the Castle of the Three Dragons
through the park
to the Picasso Museum.
The collection began with some precocious landscapes by the twelve year old artist, through the darkly coloured and sober paintings as prescribed at the Madrid arts school, through his Blue and Rose periods, Harlequin and finally full blown cubism. It was a bit of a whirlwind tour, with large chronological chunks missing, but it was well worth seeing and the building is absolutely magnificent.
After Picasso, we explored the nearby Gothic quarter, with its shops and narrows streets.
We found the Barcelona Cathedral
with its attendant street market
The next day we went to see MACBA – the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. It wasn’t very good! There was only one other group there, a bunch of Chinese tourists, who were more interested in photographing the amazing building than in looking at the three baffling installations within, so I decided to join them.
Round the corner there was the much better CCCB – Contemporània de Barcelona.
Its current exhibition is called Metamorphosis and draws from many different artists, with the common theme of paintings and sculptures composed of unusual objects, or presented unusually.
The last gallery included was the Tapies Foundation. I’d not heard of Antoni Tapies (1923 – 2012) before, but apparently he was one of the most famous modern European artists. I really liked the different textures and 3D effects that he used in his work.
And the building was rather beautiful too
It wasn’t all art and culture though!
There were also Mojitos in street cafes
Cakes at Escriba, watching the pastry chefs hard at work creating their sculptures in the kitchens
Watching the world go by from our perfectly placed apartment on the main Gran Via, just two blocks from the Passeig de Gracia
Barceloneta Beach – I wouldn’t do this again though! It was a fair trek from the Metro and when we got there, it was crowded and full of hawkers. It’s also man made, so the sand is quite coarse – LD#2 poked it and said, “You can go to the garden centre and buy sand for your sandpit that’s better than this!”
Street markets along Las Ramblas
The best day though was the one when we went on our first ever escape room adventure at Roomin Escape. You have to go into a room and search for objects and solve puzzles, which will help you to solve a crime and then get out of the locked room. It was quite difficult, but the girls came up with some inspired answers. The people who were running the game were brilliant at explaining it and providing useful clues as and when necessary. Even LD#1 enjoyed it. When I asked whether she would like a birthday party at a similar place in London, she said, “Maybe.”
The great thing about the Barcelona Escape room is what good value for money it is. A similar experience in London would be about 4 times the price.
After that, we went across to the Sagrada Familia, the cathedral conceived by Antoni Gaudi. We stopped off at Aitor for paella (me), vegetarian tapas (LD#1) and (sigh) burger and chips for LD#2, who doesn’t like rice, mussels or prawns.
I wasn’t sure about the Sagrada Familia when I was planning, to be honest, as it was nearly 40 Euros for the three of us to get in. I also wasn’t that taken with the outside. I thought it looked rather over elaborate.
However, it’s the sort of thing you have to visit when in Barcelona, because everyone does. In real life, from some angles it’s not quite so over complicated.
Also, up close, you can see the amazing detail
Once I got inside, I realised why it was such an attraction. It’s unlike any other church I’ve ever seen, in terms of scale and detail.
There is so much colour against whiteness.
For all that, it didn’t feel much like a church with all the tourists wandering around. I also find it a very strange concept to pour so much money into a building. It’s so huge and detailed that I can’t imagine any other religious building comparing with it. Part of me thinks that all that money spent on one building is a spectacular, secular waste. However, it’s so truly beautiful and amazing, pulling in so many people, that it just about convinced me of its purpose.