Barcelona (part 2)

November 26, 2007 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

Last night I watched the second Cheetah Girls movie (yes, I’m almost 29 and love the Disney channel – don’t start with me lol), which was set in Barcelona.  This reminded me that I never finished talking about my trip to Barcelona.  The Cheetahs covered a lot in their first day in that amazing city!  They started out at Montjuic, talking about going shopping along Las Ramblas.  I shrieked (in my mind), “I’VE BEEN THERE!”  Montjuic is a big hill that’s home to a 17th century fortress and the grounds for the 1992 Olympics.  Interestingly, a lot of the buildings for the Olympic campus were build in 1929 for a World’s Fair and in anticipation of hosting an anti-fascist alternative Olympics in 1936 (cancelled due to the Spanish Civil War).  My friend Megan and I made the trek to Montjuic via the sky buckets from Barceloneta and came down the grand stairs to the fountain area (if you’re in the city, you HAVE to see the show at night!).

The Cheetahs apparently did go shopping along Las Ramblas, the most famous street in the city.  Then they met a random guitar playing guy, who showed them “his” Barcelona.  They  danced through some of the city’s main attractions, including Park Guell (designed by the famous artist, Gaudi) and Barri Gotic (the gothic quarter).  I loooved those places.  The park is amazing – more so for Gaudi’s design elements  (including the famous lizard fountain) than the flora.  Barri Gotic is one of the main areas for nightlife.  There’s also an amazing ceramics store there, Art Escudellers.  I dream of ordering tiles from there for a kitchen backsplash.

Sadly, the Cheetahs only mentioned La Sagrada Familia and it was never shown.  Construction on this cathedral began in 1882 – AND IT’S STILL NOT FINISHED!  Gaudi played a huge role in designing the cathedral, but his plans will never be completed exactly as he imagined.  During the civil war, part of the building and Gaudi’s models and workshop were destroyed.  When Megan and I visited, we climbed the ~350 steps to explore one of the towers.  It was quite an experience – and not one for the claustrophobic or those afraid of heights.  I was definitely nervous at times, but it was worth it.  Construction is expected to end in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death.  We’ll see.

The Cheetahs also didn’t make the trek to Montserrat, a beautiful Benedictine abbey carved into the mountains about an hour northwest of Barcelona.  Thank goodness one of our classmates recommended it to us – it was amazing!  The trip there is fairly exciting in itself; you have to take trains specially designed for mountain climbing to get there.  Once you’re there, they have trains (funiculars) designed to make even steeper climbs to take you to a couple of the peaks nearby.  It’s important to time your trip to Montserrat – you’d hate to miss the boys’ choir.  We only heard the tail end of their performance from just outside the basilica, but it was wonderful.  While you’re there, the must-see things are the Shrine of Our Lady Montserrat, the Black Virgin of Montserrat, and the teeny art museum.  I absolutely adored the museum.  I was so surprised to find works by many French Impressionists, including Monet, Degas, Pissarro, Sisley, etc.  The works from Catalan artists were amazing, and the collection of contemporary artists (Chagall, Miro, Dali, Picasso) was terrif as well.  I think it’s the museum I’d most like to carry around in my pocket.  😉

The Cheetahs also missed out on some other important places – art museums!  Even though I’m not a big Picasso fan, I couldn’t miss paying homage to this famous one-time Barcelona resident by visiting the Museu Picasso.  It was an amazingly comprehensive collection, and I feel like I learned just what kind of person he truly was.  The building was also interesting to me (I love architecture).  You could also check out the Miro museum, the Museu National d’Art Catalunya, and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.  The Dali museum is a little over an hour away in Figueres.

Barcelona is an amazing city, and I loved the week I spent there with my best friend.  I think one could probably get a taste of the city in 2-3 days, but spending an entire week there was really nice – it allowed us to relax and properly enjoy each experience, including the beach, the balcony of our apartment, and dancing the nights away in Barceloneta.  If you love to eat, I just hope you love seafood!

P.S. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!  You can see what mine looked like here.

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Entry filed under: CenturyClub, Europe.

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