Barcelona – Mont Juic – Friday, 12/12/14

Just a little of the breakfast  buffet at Hotel Continental:

Patterned pavement on the Ramblas – looks like waves, rolling. Enough sangria and you’re hesitant to step.

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Took a bus up Mont Juic (Jew Mountain, in Catalan), the hill in Barcelona that was the site of the 1929 World Exposition, and some of the ’92 Barcelona Olympics venues. Too bad, the funicular was closed for a couple of months. Lovely gardens, and views of the city and port. At the summit sits the Castle, a fortress that Franco used as a prison for political prisoners. The dry moat around the castle is now a landscaped garden.

Walk a little ways down the Mont to Fundacion Joan Miro – the Miro museum. Where even the rows of lockers for your backpacks are colorful.

The gardens on the Mont show a variety of styles, from formal patterns to topiaries, to full-fruited orange trees.

Keep walking down the Mont and you reach the Palau Nacional, which looks like an ancient palace, but was built for the 1929 Expo. It houses a massive art collection by Catalonian artists, most of whom we didn’t know. The building itself is impressive, with a giant hall (being set up for a private event with dozens of dinner tables). Interesting exhibit plaques discussed the conflict between the modern artist who needed patrons but railed against the bourgeoisie (the only ones wealthy enough to hire the artists). The view from the front was impressive, statues overlooking the city, and 4 Roman columns – the symbol of Catalonia. The Catalonian flag has 4 stripes, red and yellow, just like the Barcelona soccer/football team’s uniforms.

We had approached the Palau Nacional from above and the side, by the parking lot, so we didn’t get the full front view of the building and its surroundings until we started to leave. Oh. My. Goodness. What a sight! The Palau sits atop a 3-level cascade of waterfalls, pouring down to the Roman columns, with the Magic Fountain just beyond. From the Fountain, the view up to the Palau, especially as night fell and the lights came up, took on an air of otherworldly magic. Breathtaking!

And then it’s Magic Fountain time – a water, music, and light show, with that spectacular backdrop.

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