By the second day of my Spain trip I had mastered a phrase that would keep me going for the rest of the vacation, “Dos Cafe con leche para llevar con sacarina”. #allthecoffee My mom and I started every morning with a much needed jolt of caffeine to get us going and combined with the fact that we slept in on our first morning in town we were able to hit the ground running with our first stop at the Museu Picasso.
Despite being a very popular tourist attraction there is only one guided tour a week in English and we planned our Barcelona itinerary so we would be able to take it. If you had asked me before I would have told you I did not like Picasso’s works but by the time we left the Museu Picasso my mind was changed. The gorgeous old building in the heart of downtown houses more than 4,300 of his works and of those 3,500 were paintings, mainly from early life. According to our very knowledgeable tour guide the museum is the most comprehensive collection of the Spanish artist and is famed for having many of the masterpieces from his blue period.
Our tour met in the inner courtyard of the museum and from there we headed up stairs of the old palace into the permeant collection comprised of clean rooms of marble floors and white walls featuring Picasso’s works arranged in chronological order. I was familiar with many of his more abstract pieces so I was surprised when we five minutes into the tour we were looking at very realistic portraits he drew before the age 13 where he studied with his art teacher father. As we progressed through the rooms it was very clear how different periods in his life brought about very different styles of art – from his years in art school when he painted nude men in a realistic styles to the Blue Period. I was interested, but saddened to learn that this began after his friend committed suicide and was the catalyst for his many works showing people in prison, dying, and illustrations mad men, all people he considered his heros at the time.
By the end of of the our we had seen just about every type of art – from when he went to Paris and started dabbing in impressionism painting ladies, fruit, and the Moulin Rouge to pieces from the end of his life where he played with movement and cubism. At the end of the hour I was very, very impressed and loved learning that it was the Museu Picasso was opened while Picasso was alive and he was the curator of the museum. Unlike the Met and most museums I was used to it was not all gold frames, instead unfinished wood, slate, gold filigree, and dark stained mahogany strategically chosen to set off the work.
After the museum we left and headed East to explore a bit of the Parc de la Ciutadella which we had biked through on our first day – a beautiful park exceptionally packed on the beautiful Sunday. After a lovely we stroll we walked out of the park, towards the Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona where there was a massive festival set up along the Passeig de Lluis Companys.
There were dozens and dozens of white tents set up along this promenade between the park and arch filled with everything imaginable including fresh baked bread, handmade jewelry, cooking tools, baby clothes, flowers, musical instruments, women’s fashion, and incense along with a few live musicians and street performers. My mom and I had a great time wandering the stalls tasting a few delicacies and I purchased the silver earrings I am wearing below!
After visiting the full fair or on the Barcelona version of the national mall we headed towards the Arc de Triomf Barcelona in the direction of the Sagrada Família. About five minutes past the famous arch just casually strolling down the sidewalk there was a local woman walking a ferret. I mentioned to ask if I could take a photo and she responded in English, you can pick it up. Okay then. Say hi to the ferret.
A truly memorial morning in Barcelona!