Day 2 already… time does fly!
I woke up relaxed and rested, at a reasonable hour.
After the usual waking up stuff I found the breakfast room to be quite empty, it was already 9 AM then, so assumed most people were already out and about.
Breakfast was ok, nothing special, but with enough choice in the buffet. I sticked to yogurt with fruit mix, rolls with chorizo, cornflakes, cookies, a coffee with milk (took without milk the rest of my stay, coffee wasn’t very strong) and orange juice (didn’t take that on the other days, it’s waaay too sweet).
The staff at the reception informed me that today museums would close early, and after checking which ones I really wanted to do, I decided to do the MNAC.
Since I passed by it the previous day, I took the Funicular de Montjuïc, strolled through the park again, helped another tourist to find the Fundació Joan Miró, and was at the ticket desk of the MNAC a bit after 10 AM.
The Palau Nacional that today houses the MNAC was originally built for the 1929 Worlds Fair, and the monumentality of the palace sure manages to give an impression you’re not gonna forget.
The museum demands that you leave any bags and alike at the lockers or cloak room (lockers work with money, which you get back, cloak room is free) and if you desire to take pictures, you do it without flash… tricky for taking pictures.
But you do get a free audio guide!
For some reason, I had decided to wear slippers that day (aka flip-flops, but “nice” leather ones, not the rubber ones who can give men testicle cancer). At first I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea, but after a while I found out it was a very bad idea.
I did the museum slowly, taking my time to observe the art, and a bit after 12.30 PM I had finished the entire upper floor: Renaissance, Modernism and also a couple smaller “departments” for Drawings and Prints, Coinage and the very inspiring room devoted to Photography.
I was worn out after all this because of those slippers, they just weren’t suited for the smooth marble floors of the MNAC. I was very grateful to find comfy sofa’s in the big Dome Room (the hall underneath the center dome of the palace, first floor, all exhibition halls are positioned around it, also available for rent) and I “unceremoniously dropped myself” in one of those sofa’s for half an hour.
I went to visit the exhibition halls on the main floor when my feet recuperated a bit. I had kept those halls to visit last, because they were displaying artworks from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque period, which, despite their importance in the European History of Art, don’t interest me as much compared to what was shown in the exhibit halls upstairs. I did like the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architectural pieces shown in those halls though.
I had to force myself to speed up my pace, because the museum would close soon, and my slippers were starting to kill my feet pretty fast, despite the half hour rest upstairs…
Somehow I managed to finish everything on the main floor within 1.30 hours, leaving enough time to spare for a bathroom break and a rest on a bench in the Oval Hall, located at back of the palace.
My feet kept protesting with every step, so not even that second rest in the Oval Hall was sufficient, and after leaving the MNAC I took some more rest on one of the many shaded benches surrounding Montjuïc.
It was a relief for my feet! I stayed on that bench for almost an hour, taking the time to put on some more sunblock, write some postcards and take a snack (cookies and yogurt I took along from the breakfast room that morning).
With my feet feeling much better, and after a small detour to take a picture of a nice statue I saw earlier on my way towards the MNAC, I went towards Plaça Espanya, to take metro L3 heading towards Plaça Catalunya.
I didn’t do much there, just walked down La Rambla a bit, and walked into an ice cream shop called Maximum (La Rambla nr. 77, across the Liceu). Many flavours were shouting out to me, all coming in their own colour, promising refreshing my body, and I really felt like one, so started my order. Sadly for my wallet: I didn’t notice the price system right away.
Apparently, unlike any place I’ld been to so far, small cones had small balls of ice cream, listed at around € 1 per ball, middle sizes cones had middle sized balls at around € 2 per ball, and the large cone… well I’m sure you can guess how I ended up paying almost € 9 for the ice cream I ordered.
It was very tasty though!
There wasn’t much time left before Raul and me arranged to meet, so I just hung out a bit on the fountain of Plaça Reial, and then took the metro to Drassanes. I was right on time, but he was already there 🙂
Happy reunion! Hugs and kisses! YAY!
We went to a pub first (Bar Shilling, Carrer Ferran nr. 23), both of us needed a drink. It was the type of pub I liked going to: diffused lights, deep colors, bit rustic but still classy… (I took Raul to a similar style pub –Patrick Foleys– in Ghent before, though Shilling is more classy then Patrick Foleys)
We didn’t need long to finish our drinks 😉
He played guide after that, showing me some interesting places in the old part of town, called El Born, telling lots of history with it, of course I was listening with an eager ear…
He really knows what interests me 🙂
When we reached the edge of the El Born area, he suggested going to the beach, but warned me it might be crowded since it was Sunday and the weather was fabulous. I didn’t mind, but when we took the metro and arrived at Port Olímpic, the entire metro station of Vila Olímpica was crowded, with waiting lines to get into the metro! Raul explained this was normal, since it was the metro station to go, or leave from the beach.
But I wasn’t complaining with the sight of all those cute Spanish guys wearing just their swim shorts 😉
(geez I’m terrible, aint I?)
We hung out for a while there, chatting, laughing, sharing ideas and opinions, looking at what was happening on the beach…
One of the places I had researched in advance were nice and inexpensive restaurants, and one of those was not too far from where we were. We started to walk towards it, but Raul (who is a bit bigger then me) could see from a distance that particular place wasn’t open. Still, there were enough similar places open, and we sat down on the terrace of one of them.
At this point, my slippers started to really annoy the crap out of me, and after our mussels and fried fishies, we went to my hotel so I could put on shoes. I had to, when we were walking to the bus stop that would take us to my hotel I simply took off my slippers and walked bare, it was getting too painful.
(the next day I had a small blister on one of my toes where the leather strap had been, ouch!)
Sangria! I wanted some, so we went to a place that was between my hotel and the Plaça Espanya, since I wanted to see the Font Màgica, which is between the MNAC and Plaça Espanya.
We chilled for a while, and were happy the Spanish football (soccer) team managed to win the quarter final against Italy!
(all around us car horns were going off, everybody was happy Spain won from Italy, a rare event. Spain would win the European Championship exactly a week after that)
Sadly, the show at the Font Màgica was almost over when we arrived there, but it didn’t bother me much since I was so happy to have spent several hours with Raul *hugz*
End of day 2, went to bed around 0.40 AM, completely wasted from a fabulous day!
Flickr photo set for Day 2