Sunday, January 04, 2004

Barcelona - Museums

Tuesday, we have a breakfast at Placa Reial (through a narrow street (Carrer de la Lleona) from the hotel) and head down Las Ramblas (the main drag) to the sea. Barcelona is very much a working port, and the bottom of Las Ramblas houses the Harbour Board, the Navy, and a statue with a figure pointing west. We like to think it's Columbus but suspect he's Portguese. The inner harbour is very clean - we see fish swimming - and deserted (we are up early). We take a precarious cable-car from the harbour, then a chair-lift to Montjuic - a hill with a fortress which dates back to Roman times, although the guns are definitely 20th century German.
Montjuic starts the cat thing: Barcelona is full of wild cats. Further round Montjuic, at Museum of the History of catalonia, there are whole tiled roofs which are inhabited by pigeons and patrolled by clearly well-fed cats. Picasso hung out at a bar called Quatre Gats (four cats) which is there to this day, so the cats are of long standing.
The Museum is mainly notable for its location - on the slopes of this steep little mount, with an avenue of fountains all the way down the hill to a Placa (plaza) with impressive but ornamental towers. The fountains are off for the season at present.

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