.::this must be my blue period::.

22 10 2009
'la seu'... the cathedral of barcelona, in the barri gotic

'la seu'... the cathedral of barcelona, in the barri gotic

ahhh, wednesday. what a day you were. i woke and it was raining. blahhhh! what a way to ruin my day from the start. i got up, though, and even though i had my hoodie on, it was raining harder than that, so i gave in and bought an umbrella. it definitely came in handy… i went to the cathedral (which is practically right across the street from my hostel) and took a lot of pictures. you know me. i headed toward the picasso museum after that, and went to a church very close by there called santa maria del mar. that was another beautiful, simple church! it apparently has columns that are the farthest apart than any other gothic church in the world.

self-portrait. in a church. irreverant? maybe...

self-portrait. in a church. irreverant? maybe...

 

 

santa maria del mar

santa maria del mar

then i made my way to the picasso museum, which i’ve been really excited about, and they weren’t kidding when they said it’s the most visited museum in barcelona…wow. i stood in line– outside– in the rain– for almost half an hour before getting to the ticket window. and this was all at 11am. 🙂 well worth it though! such a great artist, picasso. i wish i had a tenth of the talent. it was neat walking through there, because the rooms are arranged chronologically, and like a biography, every room had a few paragraphs on picasso’s life at the time and why he was painting in a certain way… i especially love the *bue period* paintings, thus the title of this post. i think they said he was using a lot of blue because of t the reading took up a lot of time, but i definitely learned a lot. my favorite piece of info? picasso was definitely a player. he had 4 kids by 3 different women, and was married twice, with many mistresses. gotta love that!! 😉 i still think he was mentally disturbed, what with all the contorted faces & figures and all. i especially like his “remake” (if you will) of las meninas…pablo-picasso-las-meninas

after picasso, the rain had pretty much stopped… i decided to go to la rambla again and pick up where i left off, making my way down toward the sea. i inched closer and closer to the columbus monument, and stopped at centre d’art santa monica, a contemporary gallery that has regularly changing exhibitions that can be “a bit edgy,” according to my guidebook. edgy was right… mostly photography by an artist named mireia sentís. one of her exhibits was purely closeups of jewelry-clad genetalia. another was a series of closeups on a television set from the 60’s maybe and a naked woman posing with it. the coolest one was a set of “corners,” mostly in NYC, that were just plain photos of the corner, but for each one she wrote and explanation. each one had to do with famous immigrants and certain things that happened to these people at those corners. kind of hard to explain, but i thought it was really neat. there was also a room that was one giant collage of black history, if you will… called “black suite” and had pictures, album covers, newspaper cut-outs, etc. from the 60’s and 70’s. glad i stopped in there… small, but free, and very interesting.

'black suite'

'black suite'

i made it to the columbus monument and finally saw the beautiful mediterranean. yay! since the sun was finally out, i decided the time was right for a hike up montjuïc… ‘the mountain of the jews.’ apparently, on this mountain, there used to be a prominent synagogue and there’s still a huge jewish cemetery there, but the synagogue was “covered” by the castell montjuïc, some sort of military fortress, some years ago. montjuïc is a place where, they say, whoever ruled the peak of it, ruled barcelona. thus the fortress. anyway, i started my climb. most people take the metro to the base and then take a funicular train to the top, or take a bus, or a taxi, or even a cable car. but me? yep. i decided to hike. it wasn’t that bad, really, just not many people take the walking route. i got to see a lot, that’s for sure. the views from montjuïc are absolutely breathtaking… i’m just glad the sun was out by this time. it’s unfortunate that pictures can’t do it justice. or anyway, i’ll never be happy with my pictures of it 🙂 i spent a lot of time just gazing out over barcelona, and the mediterranean sea, and then continued up the mountain to find my museums. (is it just me? i love museums… i wish there were more to see at home.)

view of barcelona from montjuic

view of barcelona from montjuic

first stop was the foundation of joan miró, one of my new favorite artists. this museum housed mainly his own works, but had a tribute room where his friends and colleagues donated art after his death for the museum. miró is one of those artists that, once you see his work, it’s very recognizable. he uses a lot of geometric shapes and bright, brilliant, primary colors. i realized, halfway through, that i must have been inspired (knowingly or unknowingly) by him when i was in italy that summer… my venice watercolor, the one i love so much, is very much in the style of miró. hard explain. but kind of like a more flow-y cubism. loved it! here are some examples. the second one is from his “constellation period,” as i’ll call it, where he uses a lot of celestial imagery, and all the paintings are either untitled, or titled with some combination of the words: woman, star, moon, sun, bird, etc.miro-gardenmiro7

i continued up montjuïc to MNAC — Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. this is supposed to be THE prominent art museum in barcelona with lots and lots of catalan art. the place is certainly huge… and right out front was a lovely terrace where there was a cafe/bar. i had to stop for a drink, a little cava, and gaze out over the city. again. such a pretty view from up high! i spent a couple hours in there… sticking mainly to the modern art floor as i think i’ve had my fill of classics for a while 🙂 saw a bit more picasso here as well.

lovers' view of bcn, from the MNAC terrace

lovers' view of bcn, from the MNAC terrace

the pl. de espana of barcelona is just below MNAC and there is a metro stop there, so i took the train back to pl. catalunya. would’ve been a long walk back, and it was getting dark… i’d decided to make it a completely picasso kind of day, and have dinner at El 4 Gats, one of his favorite hangouts with his avantgarde friends and the place he had his first exhibition of paintings. i got there early enough (8pm is early for a dinner in spain) that it wasn’t crowded. the place is pretty big, but it filled up rather quickly. for some reason i couldn’t shake the feeling i was in france, being in there. perhaps all the decoration, or all the picasso 🙂 he did spend a bit of time in paris, and i think a lot of his art takes me back there. this place was very much french in decor, though. they brought bread & little baby olives out first, and then i had some house wine, some sea bass with roasted vegetables, and a cafe con leche. very, very good dinner. also, there was a piano player. but lots of tourists. there was a particularly loud group of asians who kept toasting to “estonia!!” weird.

aceitunas! at els 4 gats!

aceitunas! at els 4 gats!

els 4 gats

els 4 gats

by the time i left, i’d hoped to wander through some stores and shops, but they were all closing. so i just wandered through the streets by the cathedral, got some gelato (they have a ferro rocher flavor! you know, those little crunchy chocolate things in the gold wrappers?! it was awesome!!), and headed in. i thought i might call it an early night, but one of the girls in my hostel room started talking to me and said she and another girl were going to go out, because it was their last night, and did i want to come. what the hell, why not. i sure didn’t bring clothes for going out… i kind of looked silly in my sandals and jeans, when they had on heels… but no matter. one of the girls was from montreal, and spoke mainly french but ok english, and the other girl was from the phillipines. we left close to midnight and took the metro down to the barcelonetta beach area, where there are a strip of lounge-like clubs. they’d heard about this area from some friends and it was supposed to be pretty great… to sum it up: we went to 2 places. at the first, called opium, the cover was expensive, drinks were expensive, and there weren’t a lot of people there, really. and the music SUCKED. it was like disco remixes of semi-popular songs. it was pretty though… nice, long white couches on the terrace. pretty pink lights.

loooove the pink lights

loooove the pink lights

the other place, shoko, was a free cover, and the place was packed. the phillipines girl really wanted to dance and meet a guy, so she loved it here, but me and the french girl were just not really that into it. it was packed with a lot of eastern european guys with unibrows, one in particular with a red turtleneck, a huge diamond cross, and the most massive unibrow i’ve ever seen in person, who really were into the music (techno, at this place) and really didn’t have much rhythm. weird. so, glad i went so i could report back, but overall, would probably be better in the summer, or on a weekend, with a lot more people. the hostel closes from 4-7 so we had to be back by 4. we made it in with 15 minutes to spare 😉 made me realize the lounge thing really isn’t my style anymore. so ten years ago 🙂 woulda been much happier in a bar, sitting at a table, enjoying a few drinks. but yeah! i was a part of the myth… people really do party til 4 here…

next up? well, this morning it’s overcast, with more rain to come, so i think i will be putting off parc guell one more day, as tomorrow (friday) is supposed to be sunny and warmer. for today, i think i wanna get some sushi (they have those conveyor belt places here! but it’s an all-you-can-eat for one price. interesting.) and then perhaps do some shopping. i’ve been putting that off till barcelona, so now’s the time! i guess we deserve a day of rest. then tomorrow, parc guell and a last stroll around the city — around spain — before my early flight back to the US. see you soon, peeps!

peace,
james

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