Barcelona – Last Time Ever?
The train departed for Barcelona at about 08:30. This will be my final trip during this tour, maybe my final trip ever to Barcelona. I have been very fortunate to have made some dozen or so trips.
I was in Barcelona for three days and two nights. Once again, my hotel of choice was the le Meridien on la Rambla. I have not yet decided what I will do after hours. I feel like I have seen and done nearly everything, but I am sure I will think of something.
I actually arrived at the hotel at about 17:00. By 17:30, had already checked in, bought a bottle of wine, some cheese, and some pistachios. That would ultimately be my dinner because I had a fairly large lunch the day I arrived.
When I left the hotel, I grabbed a red apple. I decided to head toward the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MAC BA). I ate the apple as I strolled along. Part of why I chose to go there was because the hotel provided a complimentary ticket.
I am very glad the ticket was gratis. They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Well, this beholder did not see a great deal of beauty. To be fair, several exhibits were closed because they were either being assembled or disassembled.
Regardless, in three floors of exhibit space I did not see one item that really appealed to me. For me, the other “strike” against the museum was the fact that it does not allow photographs. That being said, I was able to take a photograph from a balcony of an abandoned church across the street from the MAC BA.
In front of the museum there was a lot of activity. Since it was in the shade by then, numerous people sat on top of a small wall in front of MAC BA. In front of that was a fairly expansive plaza. The plaza was crowded with people talking, walking and riding skateboards.
After I trekked through the three floors, I stopped at the museum shop. I was able to buy two magnets for Leslie’s collection. They were magnets that will remind us of la Rambla and Plaza Catalunya.
After work on Thursday, I strolled south on la Rambla. My mission was to photograph each of the street performers that were out working. The first one I spotted was a portrait painter. He was completely dressed in white. He had a paint brush and a palette, both also white. He had a small white frame that those posing with him would hold around their face. That made it look as though he was painting their portrait. After that came the alien. He was having the most fun. He also had attracted the largest crowd. A little farther down the road was an Oriental woman with secret drawers sticking out. I could not quite figure her out. Next there were two different guys with the same get-up; riding a bicycle with a skeleton sidekick.
At one point along la Rambla I found myself at an exit/entry of the Metro. All of a sudden, sisters began streaming out of the Metro onto the street. There must have been fifty or sixty. They reminded me of the order that was begun by Mother Teresa. I was not the only one to stop and photograph their exit.
I ultimately found myself in the “art” area of la Rambla. This is the area with caricature artists and painters of nearly every variety. I watched one artist ply his trade with spray paint. It was amazing what he did and how quickly he completed the canvas. He began with a white canvas and in about five minutes he had a finished work. It looked like a beach sunset. Beside him was a box of a dozen or so spray paint cans. He had only one nozzle that he quickly detached from one can and attached to another in a split second. At one point, his cell phone rang. Once he answered the cell phone, he cradled it to his ear and he was right back to painting. I don’t think this was the first day he has done this. Some of the detail work such as the palm trees and birds he did by hand; other than those, it was all done with spray paint.
Shortly after that “booth”, I came across an artist that did oil paintings on canvas. One of the large paintings reminded me of the painting Leslie and I had just seen at the Thyssen Museum, Saint-Honore Street in the Afternoon Effect of Rain, 1897, by Camille Pissarro. The artist wanted 120 Euros for it. After quite a bit of discussion, I was able to talk him down (the first bartering I have done in Spain) to 80 Euros, so I bought it. It may have been too expensive, but oh well.
On my way back north along la Rambla, I spotted a small plaza off to the east about a half-block. I walked to the plaza and took a seat at a table at la Terrassa del DO for a glass of wine and a tapa. I decided to have patatas bravas, one of my favorites. When I asked the waiter the name of the plaza, he said, “Plaza Reial.” Like so many other sidewalk cafes, it was very enjoyable and relaxing to sit there and watch the world go by. To occupy my time besides the wine and tapas, I took photos, and I wrote and drew in my journal.
The patatas bravas had a wonderful white sauce. The waiter explained that it was a specialty of the hotel. It was a mixture of olive oil, garlic and eggs. I had never had a sauce like that. It was decadent. On top of the white sauce was a dollop of the traditional red sauce normally used on patatas bravas.
While I was sitting, enjoying my patatas bravas and wine, a three-piece group came by to entertain anyone in the plaza that would listen. There was an accordion player, a clarinet player and a drummer. After their song, they went table to table with a hat to collect money. I gave them three Euros for their effort. I found out they were from Romania. Ones name was Steven, one was Tosh, and I did not understand the thirds name. After they left I ordered some calamari and another glass of wine. It was very relaxing.
When I was done, I walked back to the hotel and packed in preparation for my departure the next day.