Barcelona – Buskers Of La Rambla

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When you first approach La Rambla in Barcelona you are immediately struck by the throngs of people walking to and fro. It’s almost too intimidating to even consider entering into the flow of this human river.

But everyone says it’s something to see so you take a deep breath and you wade in…

It’s not so bad when you get going. This time of year there’s elbow room and you can move about pretty easily.

After you pass the booths selling birds and other small animals you start to notice the human statues. If you’ve travelled to any big city, you’ve seen them. Usually someone who paints themselves silver and stands perfectly still until someone gives them money. When that happens they spring to life, usually moving in a robotic manner.

Here in Barcelona they have taken it to a whole new level. It’s not uncommon to see three or four human statues setup side by side. The amount of competition has raised the bar, so to speak, for the human statue. They have to compete with each other for the attention of the masses and some of them have gotten VERY creative.

First of all, they don’t all paint themselves silver.

And they’ve added props…

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I’m not sure what Mr. Blue Sleeping Smurf does when you give him a euro, but I bet I find out at someone else’s expense before I leave.

I’ve collected a few shots of some of the more interesting characters. Just click on any thumbnail to see a larger version.

Barcelona – Montjuïc Castle

For me, the journey was more fun than the destination. The castle is interesting enough, but it’s mostly a hulk that now houses a military museum.

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It was odd to see a Mercedes pull into the driveway and cross the drawbridge

The garden outside the wall was nice…

And there was some cool old artillery equipment scattered around the grounds.

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Mostly it was just a beautiful day and a wonderful view that ended up being the compelling reason for being there.

Cable Cars

We woke up this morning and decided that we would catch the #17 bus from Plaça de Catalunya out to catch the aerial tramway (cable-car) from Torre Sant Sebastia to Montjuïc.

This is Torre Sant Sebastia

255+ feet of steel latticework form the starting point of the cable car ride up to Montjuïc. It passes via Torre Jaume I which is 351 feet high.

While we were waiting in line to purchase our tickets I looked up and noticed this sign

I wonder what the service schedule is for this thing…for that matter, I wonder what the service LIFE is for something like this.

After we purchased our tickets we were whisked in a coffin like elevator up to the observation platform where we waited to board our cable car, along with about 15 other passengers.

It truly an amazing device. Like the one at the now defunct Astroworld back in the day, but obviously on a much larger scale.

Cynthia was a bit apprehensive but was brave. We boarded our gondola and were soon on our way. The view from up there was absolutely breathtaking

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Once you reach Montjuïc there are places you can easily walk to that have amazing panoramic views of Barcelona. There is also a much more modern cable car system called the Teleferic de Montjuic which takes you on up to Montjuïc Castle

Cynthia seemed much more confident with the Teleferic

It’s pretty cool. You buy a ticket and just board an empty car and ride up. I would guess it’s sort of like an enclosed ski lift if I had ever actually been on one in my life, which I haven’t.

The views from this one were equally spectacular

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Before long we were strolling along the walls of the old castle, enjoying 360 degrees of fantastic views of Barcelona.

He was only 5’3″ but girls could not resist his stare

Today we took it easy. We took a stroll down La Rambla and headed over to La Boqueria as we had heard it more interesting and lively in the morning. It’s true. All the booths are open.

The big difference is the fish market which was not open when we were there yesterday. Everything from squid, octopus, fresh tuna, sea cucumbers, sea snails, lobsters…you name it. Some if it still wriggling around!

They also have the cute cafes here and there. They look affordable and tasty. We plan on having breakfast there in the morning. It should be fun!

We decided to head over to the The Barri Gòtic which is the city center of old Barcelona.

It is a huge change from the area where our hotel is located and La Rambla. Very peaceful and charming. We stumbled upon the Picasso Museum. Actually, stumble is a misnomer. We were semi-looking for it, but not sure if we would save it for a rainy day or not. Today was really nice but kept threatening to rain and then not.

When we came across the museum it was such a cool space and the line was non-existent so we decided to go on it.

I’ve seen a lot of art in my travels, both contemporary and from the masters and I have to say that Picasso is probably one of my favorites. He could do it all. When you look at the body of his work as a whole it’s just astonishing.

Someone had mentioned to me that there was a display where it showed how he de-constructed the painting Las Meninas, the famous painting by Spanish artist Diego Velazquez into varieties of his own style. He painted some 58 interpretations of Las Meninas between August and December 1957.

We found it pretty easily. At the back of one of the galleries there was multimedia display showing the original Vasquez painting and then they would overlay the various interpretations, some which were of the whole painting and some which were only a portion of the painting.

After you watched this you then went into the part of the museum that displayed them and it was literally mind blowing.

My favorite was this one:

Something about the monochromatic really gets to me.

After the museum we found a nice little place to have lunch and then wandered on back to the hotel for siesta time.

Barcelona – Art Nouveau

The facades and doorways are striking as you wander down these timeless boulevards….

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Even though it’s closed and being restored, I shot a pic through the door of Casa Amatller

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Which lead to just a random shot into an apartment lobby

It’s so amazing that these old building have been preserved and cared for and are actually still being used. I can only imagine what they must look like beyond the amazing facades and entry-ways….

Barcelona – Wild Parrots

We were walking toward the Sagrada Familia doing some sightseeing when I heard a VERY familiar bird squawk.

It was the squawk of the Quaker Parrot (aka Monk Parrot) which is the type of bird Cynthia owns, the one that hates me.

We walked into the park and sure enough, up in the tree was a Quaker Parrot

As we looked around we saw more and more of them in the park.

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They were EVERYWHERE! All up in the trees and waddling along the ground competing with the pigeons for food.

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And I am sure they all hated me, just like Mr. Zippers. Just look at them…

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Apparently there’s a very large colony of them in that park. I saw at least 4 or 5 dozen birds and one giant communal nest.

*pictures 1, 2 & 3 courtesy of Cynthia and her excellent telephoto lens.