Seeing the streets

Today we managed to travel the full length of both the Hop on Hop off open topped bus routes. We even managed to hop off, see a museum then hop back on for the rest of the route. But first up, there was breakfast.

We had decided to just walk towards Placa Catalunya and stop somewhere that had food that mum would eat.

I should mention that I wasn’t that bothered about coffee because, odd as it may sound, the hotel we’re in does supply a kettle. We bought tea, coffee, sugar and milk last night at the supermarket across the road. I’m always happier if I’ve had my first morning coffee free from conversation or light entertainment.

So, we were looking for a cafe that did something resembling breakfast. And, just a street away, we found the perfect place. Of course, we didn’t know it was the perfect place at first but not long after receiving a lovely cup of tea and scrambled eggs, mum was claiming it was. Hugging the waitress on the way out, mum assured her we’d be back tomorrow.

Suitably nourished, we headed for the tourist bus hatch where we bought our day tickets then joined the next bus leaving for the Green route. Fortunately we didn’t have to tussle with any lying ticket sellers or bus people. It was all as it should be. I did discover (rather late in the day) that there are two companies but there was no hard sell by either of them. Which saved me an argument but ruined a better blog post.

Actually, if I had to have a moan it would be about the narration. The timings could be better. Sometimes you searched in vain for the thing you were supposed to be able see and others, it was gone before you realised it had been there at all.

However…we hopped on the bus and spent a couple of hours in heavy traffic, listening to the same piece of music played between various interesting bits of information regarding the wonderful city of Barcelona. And I really think that. It could be the weather or the smiling happy people or the amazing architecture but, whatever it is, I really like Barcelona. (It couldn’t be more different to Madrid!)

The two routes cover just about everything in the city and I’m not going to bother writing it all out (even if I could remember) so here’s some snippets.

The Sagrada Familia is the most amazing place I think I’ve ever seen. We are (hopefully) going there tomorrow but, for now, here’s the photo I took from the top deck of the bus.

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The Columbus monument down at the harbour (also from the top deck of the bus).

columbus

And the view looking over the city from the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (after we’d left the bus).

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Obviously there was heaps more stuff but I think it preferable to leave my reader wanting more rather than so bored she stops reading…forever.

The one site we really did see today was the, aforementioned Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. This is an art gallery and contains some amazing stuff. Not least, the frescos from various old churches, expertly stripped and re-erected in specially created gallery spaces that resemble church spaces. It’s a bit hard to imagine but is an amazing way to look at medieval art. I rather like the fact that the devil gets quite a look in, along with some martyred saints and a duck angel. Yes, that’s right, there’s a duck angel.

duck

The building was originally built in 1929 as the Palau Nacional and since 1934 has housed the collection. It sits atop Parc de Montjuic, a wonderful spot full of trees and surrounded by the most amazing views of Barcelona. The collection, on the other hand started life in 1880 at the Chapel of St Agatha and was called the Museu d’Antiguitats de Barcelona. Then, in 1891 it moved to the Palau de Belles Arts in what was originally a palace built for the Universal Exhibition of 1888. Then, as I said, it moved to its present home in 1934 and was subsequently renamed.

The building is tremendous and the collection expansive and a delight. And, clearly, in an art gallery with so much brilliant art, I managed to discover quite a few favourites I’d never seen before (let alone knew were favourites). This one, for instance, had an odd appeal.

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As did the wall of advertising posters.

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It was here, in the gallery, that we had a pre-arranged lunch/dinner/big meal of the day. I say pre-arranged because we’d decided to eat late in the afternoon rather than go wandering the city at night looking for something vaguely familiar for mum’s discerning taste buds. Anyway, we timed it very well because we had 20 minutes which, as it turned out, was perfect for two big bowls of soup (for mum) and a slab of lasagne and salad (for me). We even had time for some dessert.

Actually, mum really enjoyed the soup though it’s rather a good job there was no label. It was after she’d finished and we were paying that she asked the waitress what it was made of. She told her it was corn. Mum pulled a face but then realised she’d really enjoyed it, thinking it was, maybe, pumpkin. All good though and it warmed her through, a necessary result of the brisk, chill wind that appeared as the day wore on.

We then finished up the day with the last of the Orange route before walking back to the hotel for a much needed cuppa and a planning session for the next three days…now that we know where everything is.

Then to bed. I think mum enjoyed the day. I certainly did!

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