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More Barcelona

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

"Hmm, what shall I choose?"

“Hmm, what shall I choose?”

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.


window1For 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.




  1. Jennifer

    So much money spent on a location to worship and hardly any at all showing how to worship ………… I felt the same way about Notre Dame in Paris. A big old dark building with scary bits all over it. Sacre Cour was my favorite and I even sat through mass there one Sunday afternoon – with about 300 other tourists ……………

    • When you see the video of the construction and how big just one ornamental fruit on a tower is compared to the man who is decorating it, it seems like painting the Forth Bridge.

      In the end though I reasoned that if it got people into a church and maybe wondering about spirituality, then at least part of the purpose of the church was fulfilled by the building.

      • Chris Sullivan

        Though now with the specially designed paint that has been recently applied to the Forth Bridge it won’t need repainting for at least twenty years. 😉

  2. A very good selection of places to visit. Had you not visited LSF it would have been a shame. It is magnificent in so many respects but for me the way the light worked inside was the ultimate. There were small chapels inside where you could get way from the tourists to be quiet or pray. We are off to Madrid next month. I shall be interested to compare the two cities.

    • I’ve read comparisons between Madrid and Barcelona, in my quest to understand what different regions of Spain are like. I’ll be really interested to see more of you pictures and what you thought. I’ve heard that Barcelona more immediate, but Madrid something that is maybe a bit deeper. It would be great to see the Prado one day, as it seems to be a much more complete collection of Art than the ones in Barcelona. Of course Guernica is in Madrid too.

      Yes you are right, the light inside LSF is quite special, although it’s only now you’ve pointed that out, with your photographer’s eye, that I appreciate that.

    • I did those four galleries over two days but it was still tiring! I think your mind get saturated as well as body trekking around the hot town.

      I imagine it would be a bit hot for you!

      • One of my painting teachers told me that in order to not get tired at an art gallery/museum, look at only what interests you. Don’t go around and look at each painting side by side in a systematic way.

  3. Wow, what amazing pictures! I love the cakes and the art and the photo of the Gothic quarter is gorgeous. It sounds wonderful but also rather tiring. City pavements can be hard on the feet after a while! You certainly managed to fit masses into your stay – good for you!

    • The amazing thing about Barcelona was how close everything was to the centre, or to a Metro stop.

      The most trying thing was probably walking around the maze of the Metro when changing lines. Unlike our London underground, it was very sparsely populated. Probably because it is like a sauna and it is easier to walk!

    • Thanks! I was very busy! Do you get to go far on holiday, or do you like to go to places you can easily take Bob and Ellie with you?

      • I would love to bring them with me but Husband objects and says I spend enough time with them. So we travel but usually to out of the way places within Europe. This years venture was to Budapest. I highly recommend it. It was a great holiday, people are very friendly, transport system is great and loads to see and do.
        Can’t wait to see more pictures from Barcelona.

      • That’s very adventurous – I would never have thought about Budapest. I’ve been wondering how to top this year’s trip. How do you find out which places are good to go to? I’ve only recently got into travelling.

      • Mainly by word of mouth and if you are interested in art or literature it helps to find galleries or places of interest within a particular city.

  4. How wonderful! I love that about Europe, how you can travel to so many different countries. Is Barcelona fairly easy to get around for a tourist? We would love to go to Spain someday.

    • Barcelona is such a great city for tourists in so many ways I hadn’t even realised! The Metro is very punctual, with trains every 5 minutes or so (as a timetabler, I’m thinking, “How do they do that??”). It’s also accessible with wheelchair lift access down to and throughout most stations. The streets are based on a grid system, so that even people as bad at map reading as I am can get round – you just count the blocks. The traffic follows all the rules it is supposed to. And there are so many facilities available in a very small physical area. It’s very beautiful and the weather is good.

      I can imagine it would be even more fascinating to see more of Spain. I wish I’d done Spanish at school instead of German! I think there are areas of Spain where you need to be able to speak Spanish to get the most out of it. However practically everyone speaks some English in Barcelona!

  5. Thanks for sharing your trip with us! I’ve never been to Barcelona but have been to other parts of Spain like Madrid, Salamanca, Seville etc on one of those Spain and Portugal tours in university. Hopefully one day I can make it to Barcelona.

  6. Wow, you had European tours at University? I remember seeing a student-organised tour advertised at Uni for Amsterdam, but you had to get on a coach, drive (and sleep) overnight, spend a day there and then come back really late. It was a bit of a budget option, economising out on the accommodation bit! I remember thinking that I would never be able to appreciate a city if I’d only slept overnight on a coach before I got there.

    Did you do all those cities in one go, as that is a large area to cover. I bet it was beautiful though!

  7. Chris Sullivan

    Barcelona is one of those cities on my bucket list. Here’s hoping I get there. Great pictures and prose.

  8. Barcelona really is a city of culture isn’t it? And the Sagrada Familia really does have to be seen to be believed! I went there with three girlfriends when I was young and single and we had fun visiting all the Gaudi buildings and Parc Guell and eating Paella and drinking beers outside bars and cafes! My 14 & 15 year old nieces recently with their school to sing with their choir in one of the cathedrals but 14 year old in particular came back decidedly unimpressed with the whole experience!!

  9. What a wonderful way to spend time with your LDs. Both are lovely! And you as well! I enjoyed also the photographs so much! The locked room with the clues kind of creeped me out though. Like Geometry. The theory has been proven. Let’s go get coffee and take them at their word.

    As usual, I do not see how you manage to do so many things. And not scan. But absorb! x H

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