We started our second day bright and early (9 am is early in Barcelona) by jumping on the bus and proceeding to the stop for the tram ride to the top of Mt. Juic. We were in line when it opened and hopped into a car for the ride to the top. I must confess here – I thought we were boarding the tram which went across the harbor and back which I discovered later was the bus stop just before this one. Oh well, something for our next visit to Barcelona.
This lent an aura of surprise to the trip – where were we headed and what would be there?
The views on the ride up were terrific.
Mt. Juic was so named because it was location of an early Jewish cemetery on the side of the hill. When we reached the top we discovered a huge, well-preserved fort complete with gun emplacements.
These cannons look a little newer than the ones we have seen at various forts around the world – perhaps World War I vintage?
While this fort, officially named Montjuic Castle, is impressive and extremely well maintained, it is apparently not very well attended by locals or regional tourists. Barcelona is the principal city of the State of Catalonia, which during the Spanish Civil War in the 1936 was part of the leftist Republican establishment which was eventually defeated by the Nationalist rebels led by General Francisco Franco, who became King and ruled until 1975. At the conclusion of the war, this castle was used as a prison and held many of the Republican leaders including the head of the Catalan faction who was executed here. Because of the still strong emotions surrounding the Catalonian this castle is viewed as “enemy” territory and a place of many bad occurrences.
The Catalonian “movement” today is strong among youth in the region, with Catalan flags being displayed throughout Barcelona – mostly hanging from apartment balconies.
I am not sure whether this is similar to the displaying of the Texas flag all over our state, or the displays of the hammer & sickle in India, or exactly what it represents – but it is definitely on the increase since last time we were here, and seems to be tied to some sort of regional independence movement. At any rate, it is a good looking flag, don’t you think?
We took the cable car back down to the bus stop and rejoined the Hop On for transport to our next stop, The Picasso Museum.
En route, we passed this statue in the Olympic area, which represents an athlete bending to receive a medal.
After reaching the stop for the museum and starting to walk that direction, we came across this anthropology dig. Since all of the information was in Spanish we couldn’t tell about the age of the ruins, other than the fact they were from the “original: city (Phoenician, Greek, Roman, or ??).
The exhibit is covered in a permanent structure and is very well attended – mostly by school students.
A few more blocks brought us to the Picasso Museum, with a pretty long line to get in.
The Museum is housed in a former nobleman’s palace in the middle of Barcelona. Unfortunately, no photos allowed. In addition to the regular exhibit of Picasso’s works from the early days (age 12) to his death, at the moment there is an exhibit comparing the works of Picasso with those of Salvador Dali. I won’t bore you with the narrative, as it loses something with no pictures, but it was fascinating.
The Hop A Bus has two routes, west & east, and since we had made the circuit of the west route we decided rather than going back to our last stop, we would find a stop for the east route, which we did after a little (maybe not so little) walk.
We found the stop for the east route bus, the bus showed up and we boarded. The first stop was the Sagrada Familia, the huge cathedral built but never completed, by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s most famous architect. Gaudi died (hit by a trolley) before he was able to finish the church, and the construction goes on with an anticipated completion in 2026. It is truly one of the most unusual man-made structures in the world.
Barcelona is filled with unusual architecture, and not all of it is Gaudi’s.
Our fears of finding nothing new in Barcelona were unfounded – 4 or 5 trips here, and we still find something new and interesting each time, and blend it with the familiar and fun. It is truly a great destination!
And now, on to Cadiz.