Spain trip report: Barcelona, Day 4 museums & a theater

So our last day in Spain, Friday, I had to check out of the hotel, stow my luggage and then lug around my shoulder bag, which was heavy because of the iPad and other stuff in it that I didn’t want stolen. It was really warm too and I wished I had a hotel room to crash in when I got tired. Doug and I agreed to meet up at like 2 or 3 o’clock at Taller de Tapas, so I wouldn’t see him til later. We had a late flight back to Madrid and we were flying home on Saturday morning.

I started out in the morning walking down La Rambla, past performance artists:
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I wandered around through the little windy streets, doing a little more exploring.

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We went past this Plaza in the evening on the way to that Catalan restaurant.
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I made my way over to the Cathedral.
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Near the Cathedral is the Museum of History of the City, which sits above the Roman ruins of the city of Barcino (pronounced BAR-can-o). Part of the Cathedral walls use part of the old Roman walls. The museum was really cool. I’d never seen real Roman ruins before. No pix allowed, unfortunately. Basically, you take an elevator down two floors to the level of the Roman ruins and you can walk on a clear walkway above them. You go past a place where clothes were washed and fabric dyed. And where a fish product was made. A level up is an old Christian church from the 700s.

More info:
http://www.barcelona.com/barcelona_directory/museums/barcelona_city_museum

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The museum also has a large hall and a chapel. After I left, I read in the tour book that nearby to where I was, was the hall where Christopher Columbus was received by Ferdinand and Isabella after his 1492 voyage. It took me ages of walking around in circles in the Placa del Rei to figure out that it was one of the large halls I’d been in. There was a guard by that door and I still had my ticket, so I figure I’d ask if I could get another look. But I had to wait for the lady in front of me to argue about getting in without a ticket. (In Spanish.) The guy kept telling her to go get a ticket at the front of the museum and then he’d let her in. It took a really long time for her to accept that. Sigh. He let me in with no problem.

I didn’t see no photo pics like everywhere else, so I snuck and iphone pic. On the way out, I saw a subtle sign on the glass doors on the front of the room. Oops.

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Here are some pics of the Placa del Rei. One one side of the square is the facade of the former main Royal Palace and its watchtower.

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palau_Reial_Major

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That glass door at the top of the stairs (seen below) is the entrance to that section of the palace that had the chapel and the hall. The hall is the Salón del Tinell, built by King Peter IV in 1359-1362. The chapel is the Chapel of St. Agatha. There’s also the Palau del Lloctinent (1549), built by Charles V.

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sal%C3%B3n_del_Tinell

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Another performance artist:
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Next I went to the Plaza Mayor:
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The fountain shows the Three Graces – and some of the lampposts (er, not sure which ones) were designed by Gaudi. I ate lunch (a not-great sandwich) sitting on the edge of the fountain. Actually, the cheese in the sandwich was good. Should have gotten the just-cheese one.
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The Taxidermist Cafe?
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I checked out that little church:
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John Lennon?!
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Back towards the Cathedral:
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Some Christopher Columbus stuff:
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At some point, possibly next, I needed to cool off and had passed a Starbucks on a side-street near the Cathedral, so I headed there. It was air conditioned and I bought a yogurt, because I was wasn’t real hungry, but needed some food. I read on my iPad and relaxed for a little bit and it was really what I needed.

There was one more Gaudi building just off La Rambla that I wanted to check out, called Palau Guell. It was under construction and not open, which was just as well, because I was SO tired and really dragging by this point.

The street it was on was so narrow it was hard to get a good picture of the front. You can see some Gaudi-like decorations on the roof though.
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Some more performance artists:
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At this point, I decided I still had time so I would try to see one more thing. The Palau de Musica Catalana – a theater in the modernista style. I took 2 subways, which was a pain – and when I got there, I realized I was pretty close to the Cathedral and could have walked. I should have just walked from the Cathedral instead of going back to the Rambla and to the subway. Oh well. Lesson learned.

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The entrance:
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I arrived within 10 minutes of an English tour so I guess that worked out ok. (You had to get on a tour to see the theater.) I even had time for the bathroom.

Of course, you can take pictures inside this amazing building and theater. Fortunately, Wikipedia has pictures.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palau_de_la_M%C3%BAsica_Catalana

Here’s one:
Palau_de_la_Música_-_Interior_general
Picture by Josep Renalias

I only have a few pics of one of the rooms that didn’t seem to have “no photos” signs in it and people were snapping away. That was good because I liked this painting by Joan Brull y Vinyoles

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You could, however, take pics of the outside facade!
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After that I was DONE for the day. Since I could see the Cathedral from where I was practically, and since Taller de Tapas was near it, I decided I’d see if I could find the restaurant.

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Another little square:
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So I wandered down alleys, and viola, popped out of just the right side-street – and there was the cafe!
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There weren’t any tables outside, so after hanging around for a bit, I finally was able to convey to the waitress that I wanted an outside table. She said I could wait at the bar inside and she’d let me know when there was a table. So I went inside and ordered a Clara and shortly, my table was ready!

I started ordering one thing at a time, waiting for Doug, hoping he’d be early. And he was! So we ordered more things! I think we had calamari, more shrimp dishes, can’t remember. Tried a few new things. It was all good again.

After that, we still had some time before we had to catch our flight, and I wanted Doug to see the Roman ruins, so we went back to the museum – they let me in without paying again since I still had my ticket.

Here’s a cool store I saw on the way back to the Cathedral:
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After the museum we looked at the Roman parts of the Cathedral walls again. Here’s the map that shows the outline of the old city walls.
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And part of the old aquaducts:
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For my fellow 18th century fans.
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After that, we walked back to the hotel and got our suitcases and called a cab to the airport. We made good time and were early for our flight. We had time to get some food, which oddly, ended up being Mexican.

And then our flight was delayed. By like an hour.

Adios Barcelona!
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We got to Madrid and were staying in a hotel near the airport. In Amazing Race fashion, the driver didn’t seem to know where the hotel was. He seemed to figure it out, but then we ended up at the wrong hotel. Fortunately the right one was right next door. The hotel was weird – the halls were very dark and little lights outside each room lit up as we walked past.

I think somethink was wrong with the towel rack – it was super cold and wet!
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Not what you want to put your towel on.
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Also, someone knocked on our door in the middle of the table. I wasn’t able to open the door to strangers, but I did call “Quien es?” twice, but no reply. So we went back to sleep.

And adios Madrid!
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We had a window this time, which was great – but my entertainment system on the seat-back was broken so we had to take turns watching movies. I got to see Sex & the City 2, which really was not so bad as feared.

And home!
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That’s all for Spain! Whew. Next up, Death Valley. :-/

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