Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Amid the Beauty of Barcelona

It's both the first and the last - first blog of 2014 and last blog on Spain. This time, it's about fabulous Barcelona.

As you may recall, I was not really interested in departing out of Barcelona. A big city was not where I wanted to be. Barcelona seduced me with art.

 Before I explain how, let's pick up the trip in Granada where I said, "Good-bye to Al Andalucia and the time of the Moors" and boarded the plane that would take me to Barcelona.

Once again, my hosts provided me with info, maps, suggestions and recommendations. Other than Gaudi's architecture, I didn't have a firm plan of what to do or see. As it happens, the hosts' home was perfectly located. In the next block was CaixaForum, a short walk led to Plaza Espanya (the old bullfighting ring - now a mall), and the Metro to the Beach and the Boqueria.

Plaza Espanya (old bullfighting ring doesn't show in top photo - photo of ring in lower picture)

The CaixaForum is an art and social projects museum. The outside reflects the architecture of the factory, but the inside is very modern. On the first floor was a fascinating (and free) exhibit of award-winning inventions to improve the lives of people in 3rd-world areas. The inventions considered everything from clean water filtration to keeping a premature baby warm.These inventions used little to no electricity. Very interesting exhibit. Then, with my paid ticket in hand, I headed upstairs to the art and the major exhibit.

If ever I was given a welcome by Barcelona, it was found in the major exhibit - 67 paintings by one of my favorite impressionists.Imagine 67 paintings by Camille Pissarro! It was heaven for me. He was considered the Father of the Impressionists (see Archives, May, 2011 on the right of this blog.) 

This exhibit was so large and I was  grateful for the seating available in some of the rooms. So many galleries don't provide a place to sit. It's such a good idea in a large exhibit.

There was also something else I'd never experienced in a museum - a separate area divided by a temporary wall. As you walked around the wall, you entered an area with a complete chronology of Pissarro's life, residences and paintingl. In the area, there was a long table and chairs. On the table were published books about Pissarro in a variety of languages. The books were affixed so you couldn't take them, but you were welcome to sit and read. Double heaven - if there is such a thing!

The next day, I took the Metro to Las Ramblas - a street about 3/4 mile in length reaching from the seaport to the city center. It's a street that's always in motion with tourists, locals, floral stands, visual and performing artists and a huge indoor market - La Bouqueria. What a busy and exciting world! Here are a few images that portray the feeling of being there.

Las Ramblas:

La Boqueria:

It was on a side street off the main drag that I saw Güell Palace designed by Antoni Gaudí in the late 1800s as a mansion for wealthy industrialist. It is the only building Gaudi' ever fully finished. The exterior was a beautifully wrought and well-crafted Art Nouveau style. Below are images of the exterior, interior and the whimsical chimneys on the roof.

In Barcelona art abounds. Art exists naturally in the culture. I was so impressed with some of the visual art I saw on Las Ramblas and other places, my regard for Barcelona shifted from a way to depart for home to one of wanting to come back and take art classes. And so I left Spain with a backward glance and a desire to strong desire to return for a longer stay.


  1. I've known people who came back from Barcelona full of enthusiasm. Looks like you're due for a return trip. Great! Len

  2. Barcelona is on my list of adventures. I have a couple of friends who've spent time there and the two focuses I've heard them speak of is the amazing art and the warm feeling of community. Thanks for sharing, Atencio! Roka

  3. Really enjoyed the blog on Barcelona...a fabulous city I'd be willing to visit again and again.
    Anyway I wish you a wonderful year filled with health, happiness and wonder.
    Love jx

  4. What beautiful place, and a wonderful surprise for you. I especially like the "whimsical" chimneys. I think Mr. Gaudi had quite a sense of humor. sz

  5. It's true. Gaudi' had a very whimsical side. So glad you noticed, SZ.

  6. I wanted to let you know this is marvelous! I loved it and those chimneys!! :) Someday I will go here! EP

    1. I hope you do, EP. I know you'll enjoy it. R.

  7. I have so very much enjoyed your photo-journal trip to Spain. I look forward to more adventures.

    1. There were so many folks who wanted to know about the trip, the blog seemed like the best way to share. Thanks for confirming my notion, R