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Montjuic, a long walk and another party

Home -> City trips -> Barcelona -> Travelogue Barcelona -> 25 September 2004

Saturday 25 September, Montjuic, a long walk and another party

Drum band at the RamblasAfter having breakfast at a restaurant at the end of the Ramblas we walk to a subway station, but we spend some time watching a very enthousiastic drum band. They all have really fun doing it and they sound professional.
View from Montjuic View from MontjuicThen we ascend the Montjuic, by cable railway. Three years ago the funicular didn't work since we were too late in the season, in November. It is a great ride and we have a nice view over the city, much better than from the Columbus monument (well, I almost didn't see anything from there)!
View from MontjuicOn the hill we have a look at the castle and walk around a bit. An ideal place to watch at the harbour and the Mediterranean. The harbour is big, but not much happens today, it can't be compared with the harbour of Rotterdam (one of the largest in the world). After spending here an hour we fly back through the air (it is higher than I expected...) to the town.
Miro Museum, Mercury fountain Miro MuseumTo end in a long line of people who also wait for the Miro Museum, the Fundacio Joan Miro with the biggest collection of his work in the world. It takes us more than an hour to get in, but we are allowed to take pictures, even with flash. We find the temporary exhibitions very interesting, but we are not impressed by the works of Miro himself. It is just not our style.
Suburb SarriaAfter a long walk back to the bottom of Montjuic we take a train to the suburb Sarria, which used to be an independant village but now has been swallowed by the big city. Teije sees a nice building in the distance and obviously, we want to take a closer look.
Suburb SarriaI make this mistake often, believing him when he says it is only a 'short' walk. We always end up walking for hours and this time it is the same story. The building is much farther away than we think and when we are there we still don't have a clue what kind of building it is. It looks like a kind of boarding school.
Then Teije notices on the map that not 'far' from here is a building, designed by Gaudi, which we haven't seen three years ago (since it was so far out of the centre). It is only a 10-minute walk, he claims. I am already tired of all the walking (and standing in line) we have done, but I don't want to miss a building of Gaudi when I get the chance to see it. So we start walking and when we arrive at the place after half an hour there is nothing on the spot that is marked on the map... Teije walk around a few blocks and I just walk a bit further, looking for a bus stop. Suddenly, I see a very distinctive tower in the style of Gaudi and I know I have found it.
BellesguardAnd we are lucky, the gates of Bellesguard (Casa Figueres) are open. We enter the premises and pretend to be ordinary tourists who want to take pictures... well, of course we are! It is a privately owned house, but now we have the chance to make some pictures from a close distance.
Bellesguard BellesguardAnd again, there are lots of typical Gaudi-designs link this bench bend around a tree. Het house stands here for more than a 100 years, so we wonder how much the tree has grown and what has happened to the bench. Probably Gaudi had taken into account the fact that the tree would grow bigger, but how he solved this problem, we have no idea.
Taking a break... Taking a break...The bus is not going today... and we are already exhausted from all the walks. Sometimes I have really had it and now is such a moment. And still we have to walk another kilometer before we are back to a bus or subway station. Fortunately, the road is going downhill and we don't have to climb. And I really feel glad when I see a pub!
It takes us an hour to recover and our feet are still burning. But we are glad we can sit and relax. The prices we have to pay tell us that we are far from the center of town: we only pay € 2.70 for a large beer and a soft drink. On the Ramblas we probably would pay about € 10!
La RotondaBefore we get into the train we see a few more nice buildings, like one with this tower on top. It says it is La Rotonda. Yes, there is more to see than Gaudi alone!
Three times we have to change subways before we are back at our hotel where we take some time to rest. Now that we tell this story it doesn't seem so bad, but in reality we walked long ends for hours and our feet and backs are sour. After an hour we are reasonably rested and go back on the streets, first to the Ramblas again where there is always a lot to see and happening.
Living statue Living statueWe run into some new people who are trying to earn some money by becoming a living statue. There are a lot of elfs and other fairy characters this year.
Street performanceTraffic is allowed again on the Ramblas today, but when we want to cross the street a very high motor comes by with two people on stilts. They stop the motorcycle, just before our nose and start to perform a show with heavy rockmusic. The whole crowd on the Ramblas is swinging and dancing and all traffic behind the motorcycle has to wait for fifteen minutes before they go on. Another fantastic show!
It is busyIn all steets and on all squares where we come we see masses of people and I am very surprised that the atmosphere is very pleasant everywhere: no drunks, no disturbing incidents which would be almost impossible in Holland with such crowds. And we can see that a lot of people sitting at the restaurants are taking large beers or other alcoholic consumptions.
SweetsIn this heat (25 to 27 degrees Celsius, about 80 Fahrenheit) a drink is very nice, of course, but there are even more fastfood shops in Barcelona than there are pubs. No chance to starve at Barcelona, at least, when you can afford it, since it isn't always cheap to buy some food in the centre of town. But not much chance to loose weight...
Living statueEven after dark it is still busy on the streets and still there is a lot to see and listen to. This festival is much bigger than we had expected; on many places there are concerts again and we see more artists than ever. We have not enough eyes to see it all!
Placa Reial ParadeThat is also true for Placa Reial, the square where we at least spend a few hours every night; several bands are preparing for the stage, but this time it is more Spanish dance music which we don't like too much, but it is still nice to see how other people dance and enjoy it, even a lot of children. Other music groups travel through town (to the right) and entertain this way even more people.
Fire works Fire worksAround 9'o clock we walk to the harbour, since there are fireworks again, for the last time this week. It is lighted on the beaches of Barcoleneta and a huge crowd has assembled to see this spectacle. Everyone seeks a place to sit and watches the fireworks, everyone is quiet and applauds when it is over. Then we all walk back. In Holland there probably would have been riots... Spanish people may be more energetic than Northern Europeans but we are amazed at how they behave at festivals like this, so peacefully. But we have to admit, there is a lot of policemen around.
And after that: more performances, music and dance, too much to mention it all. We walk around, have a break, watch the happenings and we are glad when we can go 'home' about two in the morning when all the music has stooped. It has been a very intensive and exhausting day. Fortunately, we have a few more days to stay!


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