The city is riddled with fellows selling cheap knock-offs on blankets. The clever ones have rope threaded through the corners so they can scarper as soon as they see the law about to strike. They are particularly rampant around Catalunya.
It must have been a real problem down on Mare Magnum because the buyer is also fined.
It must be working because there were none there today.
The signs are all along the famed Wooden Bridge which spans the inner harbour entrance and opens occasionally to let tall boats in. And would you believe it? We were there to see it happen today.
The guy at the end of the video is completely essential to the entire operation. Obviously.
In fact, we spent the day down at Barcelona Harbour, starting off at the Maritime Museum which has the flattest ever submarine on display outside. It’s a full size replica of the Ictineo, built in 1859 from designs by the now, largely forgotten Narcis Monturil. Also outside the Maritime Museum is a bunch of deep sea divers. Here’s a couple of them.
The thing about the Maritime Museum is the wonderful welcome you receive when you enter. You are immediately surrounded by containers. They are dotted around being used to house the displays and tell the story of Maritime Barcelona. I reckon it’s a brilliant idea.
The other thing about the Maritime Museum is the amount of full sized boats in the collection. This includes the amazing replica galley from the Battle of Lepanto. Apparently you used to be able to clamber over it but this seems to have been discontinued. Still, you can wander all around it and be amazed at the size.
There is another thing about the Maritime Museum and that is the fact that the gift shop wasn’t open so I couldn’t buy a guide book. This is the second time this has happened to me. The Paris Naval Museum was the other one. It’s very annoying when it comes to writing up my experiences in these places. So, I guess you’ll just have to be satisfied with the barest of details – the ones I managed to photograph from the labels at any rate.
Oh and, of course, there’s another thing about the Maritime Museum, isn’t there. Included in the cost of entrance is the opportunity to board the Santa Eulalia, a schooner docked in the inner harbour. She is one of the oldest sailing ships in the Mediterranean having been built in 1918 at Alicante by Pascual Flores who named her after his daughter, Carmen Flores. She has, since then, had a few names and even a nickname – El Chulo, because of her speed and all-round good performance on her many transatlantic voyages.
The Maritime Museum undertook restoration work on her in 1998 and she is now shipworthy and actually goes out once a week taking boatloads of eager tourists into the Med. Sadly she only does this on Saturdays so it’s one for when I return with Mirinda. By the way, her name is in honour of the patron saint of the city of Barcelona, a fact I mentioned in yesterday’s post.
Anyway, I boarded her and had a jolly good wander (mum stayed ashore, waving whenever I appeared from below decks and taking photos of me) thinking back over my years as a salty old sea dog…
But enough dreaming of great days gone by…we had to move on to another museum, this time commemorating the history of Catalonia. A museum, I hasten to add, that had a well stocked and fully staffed gift shop but, sadly, no guide book. They did, however, have a lovely glossy book on the actual history which features items from the collection. Fair enough, I thought, and bought it.
The museum is lovely. It’s over two floors of a four floor building – the first floor has temporary exhibits and the top floor is a restaurant – with lifts and escalators for the less than mobile. Unfortunately, we started on floor three then went down to floor two. It’s better to start at two and go up if you’d rather follow the story of Catalonia in a chronological way. Even so, with chronology all over the place, we still enjoyed learning all about the happy, friendly folk of this area from as far back as the Palaeolithic, right up to today.
Having filled ourselves to the historical brim (and a little beyond I’m afraid) we headed up to level four to sample the delights of the restaurant up there called 1881 per Sagardi. It specialises in Basque country cooking…or so their website claims. We thought the food was nice and very filling. In fact, the brims that were full of history were soon emptied and refilled with food. Also, our waitress was excellent and the entertainment worth the price of admission.
The entertainment consisted of the entire waiting staff re-distributing the furniture in the two main rooms of the restaurant for three big bookings tonight. One of them was for 25 and consisted of six full length tables each with individual table cloths and around eight thousand glasses of varying sizes, shapes and volume. We know this because we watched and, before we left, mum asked the helpful waitress who proved even more helpful by answering her. We are having a jolly time.
Having eaten too much, we decided to walk back to the hotel via the Ramblas given we’d only managed three quarters of it the other night. Well, we certainly fixed that by walking the entire length tonight before collapsing into our rooms back at the hotel.
I almost forgot…we returned to our favourite cafe for breakfast this morning and everything was right with the world. Phew. No more omelette sandwiches.