The first time my husband and I went to Barcelona in 2011 we arrived on a Saturday night, just like we did this time, and we left for Madrid on Wednesday. This time when we reached Wednesday still had five full days left in Barcelona. What was interesting about staying at the same hotel for a full week was seeing the faces at the breakfast buffet change. That morning was the last time we saw plague boy but it also marked the first appearance of a new sick person. This time it was a woman in her late forties or early fifties. She was sneezing and coughing all over the place. She was French and looked a lot like Edna Modes from the 2004 movie “The Incredibles”. I didn’t remember seeing so many sick people at the breakfast buffet in 2011. Then again I think I’ve become much more aware of how much people don’t cover their mouths when they are sick over the last few years. Anyway, the breakfast was fantastic, as always. And after showering we were once again off for another great day of adventures.
Our first stop that day was in the Les Eixamples district of Barcelona and another masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi. In 2011 one of our favorite stops was at a house he built called Casa Batllo.
This time the house was called Casa Mila or La Pedrera.
In 2011 La Pedrera had the bigger line, which was a big reason we picked Casa Batllo to visit. In 2015 it seems the tide has turned in our favor. Now Casa Batllo has the larger lines and we got into La Pedrera pretty quickly.
Having now visited both Casa Batllo and La Padrera I think that it’s better to see them in the reverse order that we did. While I really enjoyed La Padrera and was impressed, as always, with Gaudi’s work I think it’s a little more standard (with the exception of the roof) than Casa Batllo and as a result it’s less memorable.
That isn’t to say that La Padrera isn’t worth seeing, it is. By far the most impressive part of it is the roof.
The chimneys have a lot of personality. The way the Gaudi set them up was to make sure they looked interesting as well as serving a functional purpose. One of my favorite aspects of the roof were two different archways that were set up to frame different parts of the city. Through one archway you can see the mountain above Barcelona called Tibidabo (which we visited the next day).
Through the other archway you can see La Sagrada Familia. Since La Sagrada Familia is closer than Tibidabo the visual effect of that archway is much more greater.
Unfortunately, I was not able to get the clean picture of La Sagrada Familia through the archway because there were so many other tourists with us up on the roof of La Padrera but I did the best I could. After spending a good half hour up on the roof we headed into the building itself and the attic of La Padrera. This part of the house gave us some interesting information about Gaudi’s life as well as how he was able to design things.
The tour then led us down onto a floor that has be decorated to look like the house did a hundred years ago when it was first built. I felt like I was enjoying a walk though of a Spanish Downton Abbey.
In reality the most special part about this part of the house was all of the old time furniture that had been use to recreate the look. Although impressive it just wasn’t as good as Casa Batllo.
As we exited La Padrera we walked by Casa Batllo and were surprised to see how much longer the line was. Before making our way to the metro we went inside of a bookstore so my husband good look for a gift for my sister-in-law. She had asked for Harry Potter book but translated into Catalan.
My husband was able to find one and the cashier thought he spoke Catalan because he purchased a book in the language. When she spoke to him in Catalan he gave her a blank look. I thought it was amusing but also kind of cool. We have a dream of moving to Barcelona someday so the fact of the matter is we would both need to learn Catalan if that was to happen.
After my husband bought his book we hoped on the metro and made our way towards our next destination, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art or MACBA. Before reaching the museum we went by my favorite Europeans Men’s clothing store called Celio.
I first discovered this store when we were in Paris in 2012. I had planned on buying 100 Euros worth of regular clothes while in Spain. When we went by Celio I wanted to go in and do my clothes shopping that day. I figured I didn’t need to because we had over a week left in our trip. Looking back I should have listened to my inner voice and done my clothes shopping that day. Oh well, it was just another small little mistake.
Overall, I liked MACBA. I thought the design of the building itself was really cool.
I like modern art. However, as much as I like abstract stuff there are time when I just can’t understand how some modern “art” can really be considered art at all. For example. the first floor we visited in museum was actually the highest floor and it was about 95% a waste of time. The first room we went to was a screening room. At first I thought the “art” was a projected countdown clock.
It turns out that it was actually downtown to some kind of actual film. I don’t remember what it was and that in itself speaks to how uninteresting it was to me. The next exhibit was showing words as art. Being a writer myself I 100% believe that writing is an art. However, this exhibit was not about writing. It was presenting highlighted text and random words as art.
I’m sorry I just can’t believe that my old phone bills could ever be considered art. The next floor was much more to our liking.
The first half focused on various type of political propaganda from around the world.
I found this exhibit truly fascinating. Since my husband is from Nicaragua the items from that Central American country were of special interest to us.
I also really liked the stuff that was related to Israel.
I didn’t necessarily agree or disagree with any of the propaganda shown in the exhibit I just found it fascinating. In United States we are given such a limited view of other countries it was nice to have this glimpse in the late 20th century history from other parts of the world.
The next exhibit was of Argentine writer Osvaldo Lamborghini’s writing and porn collection.
It was insane the amount of pornography this man had. I’m no prude but he had tons and tons of porn.
Our next exhibit included various imagines.
Some were imagines that took iconic catholic images and twisted them. Others just varied in topic.
I really enjoyed these because they were just a mix of different things. I feel that the variety that comes with modern art is it’s strength.
The final stop in the museum was a room dedicated to the music scene in Spain in the year immediately following Francisco Franco’s death. I wish there had been an opportunity to buy some of the music that was part of the exhibit. It was a great glimpse in the punk and new wave scene in Spain. I would like to incorporate some of this music into my personal collection.
At the end of the day we liked MACBA despite the fact that the first floor we visited was a bust.
After we were done with the museum we were tired an hungry so we got on the metro and headed back to our hotel. We ended up having dinner at the same restaurant by our hotel that we had had lunch at on our first day. We enjoyed it so much that our second meal there wasn’t even our last.
It has been another great day and our trip hadn’t even reached it half way point yet.
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