Casa Mila, Barcelona

Matthew Galina Barcelona

We ended our travel day a stones throw from our hotel on a quiet leafy backstreet in Barcelona, sampling the local beer, sangria and tapas under the stars. Funny to think that we’d started our day in Marseille 🙂

In the morning we decided that getting around to the sights that we wanted to see was best done by hop on/hop off bus so we headed down to Barcelona Sants to pick up some tickets. We ended up buying two days on the City Tour service and took the west loop route first.

Casa Lleó Morera (Illa de la Discordia)

Compare and contrast, one of the things you notice is the amount of art in public spaces versus home. In Oz, there’d be a monument to the 1914 war erected by Diggers, not a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein…
Barcelona Head, Roy Lichtenstein 1992

Waaay off in the distance is Columbus pointing to the New World, although if you take a compass bearing he’s actually pointing to somewhere in Algeria. This may explain why he discovered America while looking for the Spice islands. 🙂
ColumbusOf course there’s the usual amount of large and imposing neo-classical buildings, of the style much beloved by city fathers everywhere. Nothing says self indulgent prosperity quite like a good set of Corinthian columns.
Placa de Cabonera

The City Tours west loop eventually takes you up on top of Montjuic for a view back across the city. There’s a whole bunch of stuff up there left over from the 1929 great exhibition and the 1992 Olympics, plus a castle. And a pleasant breeze that was a relief from the humidity.

View from MonjuicYes it’s a sculpture, but it’s also a telecommunications tower.

The Montjuïc Tower

Looking up the grand staircase towards the Palau Nacional or Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC).

The National Art Museum of CataloniaOf course Barcelona has a bull ring, and a monumental one at that. The ‘Monumental’ was designed in Neomudejar and Byzantine style by Ignasi Mas i Martorell. If you look at the base you’ll see the whole building has been raised up to allow the metro to go underneath, now that’s confidence for you.

The Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona

“It would be pleasant of course for those who do like it if those who do not would not feel that they had to go to war against it or give money to try to suppress it, since it offends them or does not please them, but that is too much to expect and anything capable of arousing passion in its favor will surely raise as much passion against it.”

Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway called bull fighting, “Death in the Afternoon”, where else could you pay money and be guaranteed to see a violent death of one sort or another.. But in Catalonia the world has moved on and bull fighting has been banned since 2011. The public sentiment no longer seem so interested in death as art as in the days of Hemingway.

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