Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sunday Lucky Sunday

You would think that the first thing we would do in Barcelona would be to go see La Sagrada Familia, but nope, we don't roll that way.  We like to do things backwards.

Nah, just kidding.  We're pretty normal a weird sort of way.

The truth is, the weather was so nice that we wanted to do all the outdoor stuff first, just in case.  But, it turns out it didn't really matter, since we only got one day that was a little chilly (I guess you can tell how important the weather is to this rainy Pamplona girl).

I think our Sunday in Barcelona was our luckiest day, since we had absolutely gorgeous weather, and we ended up stumbling upon a couple of interesting events that just happened to be going on that day.  Plus, many of the museums were free after lunch (which means after 3 in Spain), and what could be better than free stuff?

We decided to see the Montjuic area, since the weather was so good, and we wanted to wander around the gardens a bit.  So, we took the subway to Plaça d'Espanya, and as we arrived, we heard jazz music and saw a crowd milling about, so we couldn't help but have a look.  I turns out that an old-time bus and coach rally was being held that morning, so we checked that out, took our pictures with the buses....and we got a free tulip.  I don't really know what tulips have to do with buses, but we didn't care, as long as we got one.  It may have been to celebrate Spring, but I can't say for sure.

We didn't have a ticket to ride, so when the rally was about to start, we headed towards a nearby square, where we'd heard there would be a exhibition of Castellers, or human tower builders.  I'd only seen this on TV before, and I was curious to see it in person.  And let me tell you, it's much more impressive in real life.  Photos and videos don't really the convey the height of these towers, and you also can't really see the massive base, or pinya, that is formed at the bottom.  And surprisingly, it's all very well-planned out.  We had a coffee in a bar on the square while we were waiting for them to start, and at a nearby table we could see a group of Castellers busily studying some complex diagrams, that showed exactly where each person should be.  From the looks of things, it takes quite a bit of strategy to keep the towers from toppling.

This is way more impressive in real life.
But the thing that amazes me most are the small children that are on top.  Most didn't look older than five or six, but they were very skillful at getting to the top, and then sliding down the backs of the people below to get down again.  You can see them in this video:

It looks pretty scary, especially considering the height of some of these towers.  At one point, one of the towers fell before it was finished, and all I can say is that it's a good thing there's such a large base to cushion the fall.  And they do wear helmets.  But I would seriously freak out if my kids tried something like that.

Mini-castellers being entertained by the older ones while they wait for their turn to climb to the top.
To top it all off (never better said), they were selling sandwitches with botifarra, which is a typical catalonian sausage...3.50€ for a sandwich and a beer.  The perfect lunch.  So we found a spot in the shade and ate while we enjoyed the show.  Not a bad way to start the day.

With our stomachs full and our spirits high (but feet still firmly on the ground), we left the Castellers to their acrobatics, and we walked around the gardens of Monjuic for a while, and finally ended up in the Olympic stadium.

It was pretty impressive, although some people were more into taking a nap than admiring their surroundings.

Just outside they had a sort of Olympic Walk of Fame, with shoe prints of many famous athletes.  I put together just a few into a sort of mosaic (very Gaudish of me, isn't it?).  Just look at all those famous feet!  It's funny to compare Nadia Comaneci's tiny foot to the likes of feet like Pau Gasol's or Steve Ballestero's.  And Lance Armstrong has freakishly tiny feet for a guy.

Once we were done being duly impressed by all those incredibly talented athletes, we took the funicular down the mountain, because we wanted to see the Maritime Museum.  It was one of the free ones, so how could we pass that up?  But we were a bit disappointed, since we expected to find a real boat.  But if there was one, we sure didn't see it.  I found out later that they are renovating the museum, and their permanent collection is temporarily closed, so I'm assuming that's where they're hiding the boats.  We did get picture of this cool-looking submarine, though.

We all live in a wooden submarine, a wooden submarine, a wooden submarine....
And we also saw a very, um, interesting textile exhibit with some pretty weird outfits....and aphrodisiac underwear and sheets!  Fascinating.

Just plain weird.

A dress made out  Creepy!
Why does this remind me of Rocky the Flying Squirrel?

The closest thing to being a firefly.

This I like.

The aphrodisiac underwear.  Curiously enough, not all that sexy-looking.

And with that underwear, I guess you'll need a bit of privacy.

After that, we walked over to the Gothic Quarter and saw the Roman ruins in The City History Museum (Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat), which is also free on Sunday afternoons.  It was really pretty neat.

Wine vats.  What else would I take a picture of?
Not too shabby, eh?  All in all, it turned out to be an excellent day.

Ah, and we finished it off with a margarita and a mojito...but I can't quite remember where...

Oh well, at least we managed to find our way back to the hotel.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Very interesting pictures! The dress made of hair reminded of one character from the Addams Family cartoon named cousin, It. I don't think I would ever want to wear a dress made out of real hair. You're right it's creepy but I'll give credit to the one who patiently made it though. LOL! Nice blog! I will keep on reading. I hope you'll follow mine as well. BTW, I was the one who commented earlier. I had to delete my comment since I just remembered that I was using my other google account when I commented out here. Anyway, hope to hear from you soon.

  3. wow ! i like the photos .. they sure portray what's the blog is saying about .. well, about the human tower thing, it sure is scary though.

  4. I loved all of your pictures. The Castells scare me though. So high up and just a tiny little helmet? What about broken arms/legs? They must have months and months worth of practice to get it down. Did you get a chance to cruise through Parque Guell atop Montjuiic? I'd love to see some pics. Barcelona is an amazing city. Glad you're sharing the experience with us!!

  5. Fantastic- such a mix of different things in one place! Sounds like a wonderful trip!

  6. That was quite a trip! Lucky you, there were these "events" (the human tower is amazing1) to spice up your experience. When I travel, nothing ever happens in the places I visit.

    And nice Gaudish photo montage there. :)

  7. Youngest went to a couple of trainings for Castellers, they were up for here coming, and we do have some friends who do it, and whose kids do it....when she's a little older and maybe in the second last tier?

  8. Wow, you sure packed a lot into one day! I esp. liked the wooden submarine and those weird pillow dresses -- both could be in an even more psychedelic version of "Yellow Submarine" (if that is even possible!). The hair dress is just ... wrong, unless you are Lady Godiva, I suppose. :)

  9. kittypaws: Thanks for visiting. I'll check out your blog too. :)

    Bud Walker: It is much scarier in person, I was holding my breath the whole time.

    PicklePits: They did have an ambulance standing by, so I'm guessing that occasionally there are accidents. But I guess they train a lot, and they seem to know what they are doing. Parque Güell's for next week's post...and it's not on Montjuic, it's on Monte Carmelo, but it's easy to get confused with so many mountains, since there's also the Tibidabo, which we didn't get to.

    Ben: Oh, it was!

    AJ: Yeah, we were really happy to run into that, since that's not something you see everyday.

    oreneta: Wow! I just looks so scary, but I guess with the right training it doesn't have to be more dangerous than many other activities. It does look like they have fun...

    Bud: Those are just the highlights! :D The submarine was really cool, and the hair dress, really weird. But whatever floats you boat. ;)

  10. LOOOOVED this post! What a great adventure you two's wonderful that the weather went along with it. Thank you for all the photos, you don't know how I enjoyed them.
    Ummm me comeria un bocadillo de butirarra ahora mismo!