September 7, 2008

Breakfast-searching, Picasso & another Parc.

These pictures were taken a couple of days ago in the subway and since I had no camera on me today, I figured it would be a good excuse to show them now. The third photo was on the ground just in front of this wall advertisement. I love the line-drawings!

Today was a full sight-seeing day as well as a day where I put many miles on my Reef flip-flops. The day began with Sonja and I on a mission to find breakfast in Barcelona. We learned after about 40 minutes of walking around the waterfront near the beach of Barceloneta and Port Vell that this does not exist. The Spanish do not believe in a “traditional” breakfast like Sonja and I believe in; we had visions of finding our equivalent of American and German brunch which consists of a choice of omelet, French toast, pancakes, granola and yogurt with fruit; etc. Well, my amigos, if you come to Barcelona, do not expect to find anything but café & croissant. I have learned to deal with this and now add “brunch” to my short list of things I miss about the United States (articles 1 and 2 thus far on said list: 1. good plumbing and 2. prohibition of smoking in bars & restaurants).

After eating Spanish breakfast, we made our way to the La Ribera neighborhood which is just north of Barceloneta and to the east of Barri Gotic. As I mentioned before, pretty much every barrio here touches three others and makes it very easy to not get lost (one of my favorite pastimes). La Ribera is one of the last neighborhoods to get cleaned up and filled with little cafes and design-y shops. Our reason for going there today was to see the Picasso Museum. This had been on my list of “to-dos” here since about January when I discovered there was a whole museum devoted to this Spanish painter. I had seen an incredible Picasso exhibit at the Guggenheim in NYC a few years ago which I had loved and this museum in Barcelona rivaled how I felt about that show. The one thing about THIS museum, however, that I liked better was really seeing where his art began and how it had changed; depending on literally the geography and his personal surroundings; of that one major influence was the extended periods of time that he spent in Barcelona. Much of the museum’s works were donated by the artist himself and his widow, Jacqueline.

I would love to show you some pictures of this museum because it was in a great stone edifice among the narrow streets of La Ribera but a) I forgot my camera and b) the museum security were as fierce and quick as the FBI and strictly enforced the ‘no photography’ rule even through there were areas that were outdoors and to me, didn’t seem like it would be the end of the world if someone were to take a photo there.

The last part of the day was spent walking around the Parc de la Ciutadella which of course, was just next to La Ribera and north of Barceloneta. Dear readers, if I teach you anything from my trip here, it is that even you too can navigate Barcelona with just the help of a simple pocket map and a set of eyes. The Parc was to be a mini-version of Central Park in NYC (I hate that I have to compare everything here to NYC but I guess it’s impossible not to); perfectly manicured flowerbeds, pretty fountains with sculptures (though at this time with no water as there is a small water shortage here in Barcelona), a zoo, long malls of lawns, a small pond with three species of ducks where one can rent rowboats, and of course many areas of grass perfect for lovely Sunday picnics (of which there were many). Again, I regret to inform you that I have no photo-documentation for this Parc because it was quaint and serene and had the best trees with curvy limbs. This now gives me an excuse to go back and take it all in with my camera lens.

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