Originally published 4 January 2018
On the plaza, Olympic Stadium, Barcelona
It’s our last day in Barcelona. We spent a fair amount of the night packing our things and preparing to begin our move westward. Before we do that, we have to make a move north, and tomorrow we fly to London. We’re there around 24 hours and fly out mid-day on Saturday for home. We’re winding down now and sad that we’re headed home soon.
As for today, Laurie has had enough of our diner across the street. Apparently toasted ham and cheese sandwiches every day were starting to wear on her. We instead ate at a restaurant in the train station and she had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. She was still able to get fresh squeezed orange juice which is a mainstay around here. They grow oranges here as Spain is basically like Europe’s Florida. Without the gators, airboats, and rednecks. Lots of fresh produce, especially citrus, and incredibly cheap prices. We’ll miss that.
After breakfast (and coffee of course), we head towards Montjuic, which actually means “Jew Mountain”. At some point there was a Jewish cemetery there, thus the name. We take the subway and transfer to a funicular, which is part of the mass transit system here in Barcelona.
The funicular that takes us up the mountain
What is a funicular? Well, they’re not common in the states. They’re basically a train that runs up a very steep slope. We’ve seen them several times in Europe and they basically run right up a wall. They traverse very steep slopes and the cars are usually built on an angle. The floors in the car basically “stairstep” up.
This particular funicular is powered by cable. A cable pulls one up the mountain while one goes down. There is only a single track at each station so half way, the track splits into two parallel tracks and the cars pass each other. Both cars MUST run at the same time for the system to work as one car basically counterweights the other.
When we reach the top, Laurie decides she wants to go to the Joan Miro museum. I decide I’m going to wander and tell Laurie to take her time and enjoy it. I won’t be far. She buys her ticket and head into the museum. I start walking.
I’ll comment on Miro, but Laurie is infinitely more qualified than I. I’m an engineer and not the artistic type. Laurie has studied art her entire life, has worked as an artist, and her mother was a fairly well known artist as well. Consequently, my comments are my own. They are probably wildly inaccurate or at least offensive to real art folks. So…..here we go.
Miro is actually a guy. Joan is kind of like the Spanish “john”. He was kind of a strange guy. Surrealism was the melty clocks/weird shape stuff was his forte. It doesn’t really look like what it’s supposed to be, and that was the artist’s intent. Anyways…….he was one of those. I will let Laurie answer any questions and such as she knows much more about this than me.
That aside, Laurie was amazed and impressed with the museum, saying it was in incredibly impressive body of his work. It also was home of a very famous fountain that someone made and instead of water, it used mercury. Yes…..mercury. I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea. They put it in a sealed glass room a few years ago so it can be watched without exposing everyone to heavy metals poisoning. Good times.
A famous Miro Statue
While Laurie was in the museum, I walked down the street to the site of the 1992 Olympic games. The stadium is still used for sporting events, concerts, and things of that nature. It’s huge and you can walk in to take a look, which I did. I took a few photos then started outside to wander about.
I walked up to one area on the hill across from it. It was kind of scruffy, in disrepair, and had a bit of graffiti on things. One has to remember that the 1992 Olympics were 25 years ago. I’m not sure exactly how that happened, but it seems I’ve gotten a bit older. I wandered back down the hill and started to walk around to the other side of the stadium.
You walk around and it doesn’t look like much. But as you get further around, you find yourself in a huge plaza. It’s pretty visually impressive and has a great view of the city. It’s highlighted by a huge telephone tower that mimics the Olympic flame and large light standards that run the several hundred yard length of the plaza. There are also several waterfalls and such mixed in as well. It’s a pretty impressive sight.
I decided to head back towards the museum so I could meet Laurie and show her. A young Spanish guy started asking me questions and I really couldn’t help him. Turns out he was a tourist just like me. While we were walking up the sidewalk, one of those damn parrots that are wild here took a massive crap on me. I was covered. The thing must have dropped a pint of crap on me.
The Spanish guy tried to help me clean up as he had tissues and some water. There were no open bathrooms nearby. It was damn nasty….and I wanted that parrot dead. I was covered, all down my front, my back, on the strap of my bag, it was a hell of a mess.
Laurie texted me and I told her to come to me. When she arrived she informed me that my back was covered up in bird crap. At this point I had enough. I went into the gift shop, bought a cheezy Barcelona T-shirt, put it on in the changing room and chucked my shirt in the trash. That’s why I’m wearing a shirt from the place I’m visiting and looking like a dork. I was finally able to find some running water so I could wash my hands. It was NASTY. If this happened in the states I would have been out there popping them with a shotgun. Death to the parrots.
The ancient synagogue. This was completed in the 3rd or 4th century, making this building over 1600 years old.
We walked back down to town. Laurie wanted to see the synagogue and we made it back in time for her to check it out. It was small and didn’t take a huge amount of time. It turns out that they discovered this old synagogue which was used from the year 300 to 1300. Laurie repeated what she has said in previous trips…..”stuff here is REALLY old!” Which is true….we in the United States are in a young country compared to places like this.
We wander around looking for leather shops, of which there are many. Leather is a big deal here and they have a lot of fantastic handmade items. I want a handmade Spanish leather case for my Surface and we’ve been looking. After a bunch of shops, sadly, we’re still looking. If the bag was what I wanted it had cheap buckles on it. If it was a nice one it was too big. I found exactly what I wanted but it wasn’t leather. Maybe next time.
We had a wonderful steak dinner for our last night in Spain. We walked a bit more and took the subway back to our hotel. We rise early tomorrow and head to the airport, flying to London. More from there.
Barcelona slide show day five