A Travellerspoint blog

Spanish religion

If Sri Lanka's major religions include Buddhism and cricket, then Catalan's include Christianity and futbol

sunny 30 °C

I started the next day with a long walk, across the city and up the hill to Montjuic, the area to Barcelona’s west, with great views overlooking the rest of the city. I started at one of the many parks, then decided that it was too warm to stay outside and so walked to the Foundació Joan Miró, an art gallery housing many works of the artist of the same name.

The view from Montjuic

The view from Montjuic

At_one_of_..ontjuic.jpg

Being brutally honest, as is my wont, I didn’t think much of Miró’s pieces. It was like a very poor man’s Picasso, but that’s clearly just my opinion, and unfortunately it doesn’t count for much against those of hundreds of people who actually know something about art.

One_of_Joa..s_works.jpg

There was, however, a very good exhibition with art from around the world relating to AIDS. Some very good stuff there, though I’m not entirely sure what the relevance was.

I walked from there to the Olympic Stadium, first built for 1936 when Barcelona was bidding for the Olympics but had to give it up because of the Spanish Civil War, and then finally used in the 1992 Olympics. It’s still occasionally used for sports events and concerts, but in other times it’s open to the public.

The Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Stadium

I had some lunch there and walked to the nearby Sports Museum for a look at sport (covering everything from chess to boxing to football to winter sports) through the ages. There was a one-line mention of Australian Rules, and a tiny section on cricket, though I daresay it was written by someone who has never seen a game.

The vernicular (a tram-like vehicle that specialises in going up and down hills) took me back to the city, and from there I caught the metro out to Parc Güell. It’s a long walk from the station up to the park, but luckily there are escalators to take you up the steepest parts. Yeah, these escalators are outside, in the street, uncovered. It’s cool.

The trek up to the Parc Güell

The trek up to the Parc Güell

The park is pretty cool, too. It also affords great views over the city, from the north rather than the west, and so you can see out over the Mediterranean.

The_view_f..he_Park.jpgLooking_ou..the_sea.jpg

The main attraction, however, is more Gaudi architecture. From ridiculous-looking houses to sheltered halls, to furniture from the man himself, there’s just about everything. But I didn’t have much time, so I rushed back to the metro station and back to the hotel to have a shower and freshen up for the evening.

A house with Gaudi's name written all over it (not literally)

A house with Gaudi's name written all over it (not literally)

Some_more_.._s_work.jpgSome_of_Ga..tecture.jpg

I’d blown twice my unofficial daily budget on a ticket to a Champions League football/soccer match with Barcelona playing Italian side AC Milan.

I arrived very early to take in the crowd and the build up, and it was brilliant to see such a huge stadium (99,000+ seats) go from nearly empty to very nearly full as the sun set over the city.

Arriving at Camp Nou

Arriving at Camp Nou

The sun sets as the players warm up

The sun sets as the players warm up

Night falls over the stadium

Night falls over the stadium

Unfortunately, things didn’t start brilliantly for the locals, with Milan scoring in the first thirty seconds. There was a gasp of shock across the stadium as the thousand or so AC Milan fans (who were confined to a small section of the upper tier, surrounded by fifteen-foot high fencing) celebrated wildly.

The_crowd.jpg

The next 91 minutes of playing time belonged to Barca, with Milan having very few chances to increase their lead. Indeed, a Pedro goal from a genius Messi cross and a brilliant David Villa free kick put the home side 2-1 up just after half time.

A David Villa free kick

A David Villa free kick

It looked for all money as though that was going to be the final score, until one of AC Milan’s very few corners was converted in the final minute, and there was stunned silence once again from the crowd. Barcelona had dominated, and yet only come away with a 2-2 draw. A very entertaining game from a neutral’s view (i.e. mine), but I can see that it would have been disappointing for a supporter.

Pushing and shoving our way out of the concourse

Pushing and shoving our way out of the concourse

The crowd takes over the street in an attempt to get home

The crowd takes over the street in an attempt to get home

What disappointed me, though, was the smoking. There must have been six people around me, all of whom were puffing away at one stage or another, and I felt as though I was inhaling smoke all night. Still, can’t have it all.

It was a very crowded street that took me back to the metro, and then a very crowded train that took me home.

Posted by sammyhez 00:02 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona

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