Sunday, November 11, 2012

David Goes to Barcelona: Day Two

The second day, me and Chris hoped to visit the Montserrat Hill Monastery. An ancient high monastery commanding beautiful views of the city and reachable via a quaint old hillside train. After much uphill walking, we found we couldn’t take the train because the queue was massive.

Instead, we decided to go to the nearby Science Museum. This turned out to be the best decision of the weekend. For some reason they have a submarine in the middle of the road on the way there.

The science museum, the CosmoCaixa, boasts stunning modernist design, both outside and in.

When you begin, you descend via a spiral walkway, journeying deep into the earth to explore where life first began.


While all the evolutionary exhibitions were interesting, the big attraction was the indoor rainforest. It was almost 30 degrees outisde, so naturally we wanted to go somewhere hotter.
There was a variety of tropical fish, of all shapes and sizes.


… A small number of tropical birds and animals…

And a number of creepy crawlies.

Then, to really enliven the holiday, we went to see an exhibit about infectious diseases. Apparently this is a glass representation of SARS.

After another fine meal, it was time to go on a tour of old Barcelona, or Catalonia as the locals like to call it.

They like cathedrals in Barcelona; you can’t go through more than a few streets without coming across another one.

Still, they do know how to give them a bit of variety. This one, Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, had a rather nice grove inside it.


But in another recurring motif, this Cathedral took over a hundred years to complete, because the money ran out. And like the Segrada, it ended up with several different styles. In this case some of the features had been taken from another nearby building when that had been refurbished, rather than let its features be wasted.

We were taken to what was once the Catalan palace. The yard here is where executions would take place. They were quite rigorous executions – one chap, an assassin no less, had his skin boiled loose, and was then skinned, dragged around town by horses and then disemboweled.

We then finished the tour with another Cathedral. Then we were shown the memorial for those who died defending the city in the years it was under seige and then conquered by the Spanish. It was a good tour, lots of history; I even remember some of it.

It was a very busy, extremely educational, cultural day. There was almost no time for silliness.


And sadly no time for shopping either.

After one more nice meal of tapas, the short break was over. I flew back the next day, with almost no mishaps. My ticket didn’t say which terminal I was going from; fortunately I guessed right. Then I couldn’t find my way to security, but I followed some disabled people and found my way and it was all ok from there.
And when I got back to Croydon it was a temperate 9 degrees – good old Britain.