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Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
I recently earned my Masters in History at NWMSU and am now working as a language assistant in a Spanish elementary school.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is This Spain? (Barcelona: Part Tres)

After I awoke the next morning and had breakfast the next morning I went to the Museu Picasso. Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, but spent many of his formative years (before joining the Parisian art scene) in Barcelona. He produced most of his early artworks here, which were far from the cubist, surrealist, and abstract paintings he would later produce. Picasso returned to Barcelona many times in his life and painted scenes of the city. The museum housed many of his early works as well as his later cubist copy of Velazquez's Las Meninas. The museum itself was housed in a medieval palace. Here is the courtyard:
After the museum, I went down some side streets and came across a restaurant called Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats), which Picasso and Ramon Casas used to frequent:

I ate at a restaurant next door called Set de Gòtic. It had an old-style interior with columns and candelabras on the walls. The owner sat at a table near me and spoke to his employees about their schedules while an old man drank a beer and smoked a cigarette while reading a newspaper. I ordered a fuet sandwich. Fuet is a thin and savory sausage from Catalonia which you can find throughout Spain, but this was the best I've had.

Down Passeig de Gràcia, I took some pictures of the fourth of the great modernisme apartment buildings, Casa Amatller, which is next to Casa Batlló and was built by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in 1900:

I also walked past Fundació Antoni Tàpies, which is dedicated to the contemporary Catalan artist who designed the structure atop this building:

On my way to Sagrada Família I saw this college:

Sagrada Família was probably the most impressive unfinished building I have ever seen.

It was begun in 1882 and could be finished sometime around 2026. Gaudí never planned on seeing the building's completion and the project went through many setbacks following his death, namely the Civil War and the economic turmoil which followed. Today, construction of the church is financed by the tickets visitors buy to tour the interior and Japanese investors. When it is complete, there will be a giant central spire, towering over the others, with a four-armed cross which can be seen in Gaudí's other works. This facade of the church was not designed by Gaudí, but by a later architect and is known as the Passion Facade:

As you can probably tell from the pictures of this side of the church, there are so many details, you are overwhelmed. The other side, designed by Gaudí himself, is even more spectacular. Before visiting it, I took the tour of the unfinished interior:

Here is the amazing Nativity Facade, designed by Gaudí, complete with various creatures:

In an adjacent building, now used as a Sunday school, Gaudí's original office is left as it was when he died in 1926:

After Sagrada Família, I decided to go to a hospital. That may sound strange, but this is a work of modernisme architecture built by Lluís Domènech i Montaner between 1901 and 1930. The hospital is called Hospital de Sant Pau. Domènech i Montaner believed that nature and beauty would expediate the healing process and placed many open spaces on the hospital grounds. The sound of tropical birds sounded from everywhere in the otherwise silent campus:

I left Hospital de Sant Pau and headed to the area of Montjuïc, a hill in the southwest of the city. Atop the hill is the Palau Nacional, which was built for the 1929 World's Fair and now houses the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya:

From the top of the hill, there was this great view of Barcelona:

Behind the Palau Nacional were many structures built for the 1992 Olympics. The most iconic of these structures is the Montjuïc telecommunications tower built by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava:

There was also this lucky cat:

Also on the hill was the Museu de Joan Miró. It was closed and I later learned that Woody Allen was having a private tour of the collection while I was standing outside, looking at the schedule and taking pictures of this Miró sculpture:

I took a funicular back down the hill, then took the metro back to the area of my hostel where I saw this:

This is one of the paintings of Pez (which means "fish") a Barcelonan artist who's graffiti is all over town and is sought by art collectors. Not far from here is the Palau de la Música, built by Domènech i Montaner in 1908. Since it's crowded around other buildings it's difficult to photograph:

The Arc de Triomf was about a ten minute walk from here. It was built in 1888 as the entrance to the Universal Exposition:

The pathway which leads from the Arc de Triomf to the Parc de la Ciutadella offered some great night shots:

On my way to see the skyscraper Torre Agbar's illuminations, I came across this great, but confusing color-shifting window display:

After a long walk:

I finally got to Torre Agbar:
On my return I saw another Pez painting:

and back in the Medieval district, near my hostel, I came across this:

the remains of a Roman wall, among which was later built the Medieval palace of the Catalan king. This statue of Ramon Berenguer III, one of the Counts of Barcelona stood outside:

1 comment:

  1. Great shots, have fun in Greece this weekend. Happy birthday....