Saturday, May 02, 2009

Barcelona Day 4:

Another sunny day demanded more outdoors stuff so we headed off to La Boqueria, the huge daily market off the Ramblas, where we stocked up on some fruit segment boxes and took to the hills... well Montjuic actually.

We walked down Carre l'Hospital and unsurprisingly found ourselves outside the Hospital de la Santa Creu which was the city hospital for a staggering 500+ years until 1930. The buildings are now used as an art school and libraries and made for a diverting few minutes rest - will have to explore there again. We walked through The Raval which is an area I have avoided in the past but it seemed ok in daylight - and I made the acquaintance of a big cat too! We reached the Paral-lel Station which has a funicular train up to Montjuic and on the other side of the road was the Theatre Apollo with a production of SWEENEY TODD playing - if we had a couple more days I would love to have heard Sondheim in Spanish or Catalan!Soon we were up on Montjuic and started a slow amble down the winding road which leads to the Olympic Stadium, stopping off to enjoy the lovely terraced gardens and have our fruit picnic! We continued onto the Stadium and the strange Thunderbirds-like landscape which is home to Santiago Calatrava's fantastic construction which served as the communications tower for the Games in 1992. It was great wandering around this area, it reminded me of my first visit to Barcelona that made me eager to get to come back.And the day wasn't over yet! We still had the massive Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya to explore in the Palau Nacional. A massive space with large galleries covering Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Modern Catalan art movements. We had a look at most of the galleries and probably there are works there which might reward you if you were willing to put the effort in but we both felt that although there was ample proof of Catalan artistry there was very little that was truly unique.

The gallery I found most interesting was the Modern Art section although again, it appeared that the influence of French impressionist and post-impressionist work was too obvious. Odd too that they only had two Dali painting - and both from his early portrature years. It did make me very interested in finding out more about Ramon Casas and Santiago Rusinol but frustratingly the bookshop had no books on either of them - bizarre when Casas' painting of him and Pere Romeu is illustrated on everything else in the shop!
We wandered back through the rush hour passengers on the Metro back to the hotel and for our last night meal in Barcelona it had to be Citrus! It was quieter than on Sunday so it was a nice way to celebrate our stay.

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