Barcelona – October / November 2008

Day 4 – Saturday 1 November 2008
Spain Suburbs – Centre- Fountain

Again I didn’t hear the alarm and today I slept until 09:30. Is this my or the alarms fault? It wasn’t a big issue it was raining pretty hard.

After a hot shower I grabbed my usual gear and walked towards a market in the neighborhood (Mercat de la Concepció), after first having some breakfast.
Upon arrival at the market it turned out to be closed. Either because it was Saturday or because of the All Saints holiday. Not a big issue as I had already seen a market two days ago.
Since my arrival I had seen a tall building with different colors in the distance. By lack of its name I made up a name of my own. Because of its shape I nicknamed it “dildo” or “the egg”, “the egg” I used to refer to it in general. It turned out that the name of this tower was “Torre Agbar”. A very interesting object to have a look at. As I had seen every other site worth seeing in the center I walked towards it.
I decided to walk to the tower, as it was dry and I had let the idea of Barcelona being a large city go anyway. From a busy street with a nice statue in the center I walked towards “the egg”.

On my path I came across the National Theatre of Catalunya. A nice building where I made some pictures.

Upon arrival in the suburb where the tower is located (but you wouldn’t expect it) I saw a lot of neglected cars and dorms of the homeless. Not an area where you would go at night.
After photographing the tower I walked in the direction of the beach, something I didn’t see yet.

A couple of yards off the beach I encountered something that should have been in the 100% Barcelona guide book. My attention was drawn to this place as large numbers of people were walking towards it. Also a lot of flower stands were nearby. At first I thought this would be another market, but it turned out to be Poblenou Cemetery. Today it was All Saints, a day on which the people pay extra attention to the graves of their loved ones whom had passed away.
At the entrance people explicitly asked me not to make any pictures inside. Once inside I had no more words for the things I saw. It’s can’t be compared to anything I know as a cemetery in The Netherlands. Blocks of niches where the dead are behind, at almost every niche there were (fake) flowers. Something you can’t describe with a pen or keyboard. The urge to secretly make some pictures couldn’t be resisted. I did pay attention not to capture any people on them (or if anyone was around to catch me making them).

All people who were at the cemetery (young and old) were busy maintaining the graves of their loved ones. Cleaning it, putting up fresh flowers or adding a picture.
Something that I noticed was that there were no sad people here, no one was crying. People were either looking at the grave in silence or talking to family members and were talking about the deceased.
Besides the niches there were also several (available) mausoleums. After spending about half an hour at the cemetery I left and continued towards the beach.

I bought a cola at the boulevard and drank while enjoying the view and the calming sound of the sea. After finishing my drink I walked on to one of the piers and had a look on how a couple of men were trying to catch a fish.

Because I hadn’t seen this area of Barcelona yet I decided to walk down the beach away from the center. After walking for about an hour I left the beach to find the nearest subway station to travel back to the center to have lunch. My guess was that enough places were open (because of the tourists), the area I was in right now no restaurants were open.

Today’s lunch was crêpe with salmon and herb cheese. I didn’t have crêpe before and it tasted very nice! No bottle of wine this time, but a nice cup of tea.
When lunch was over I roamed the narrow streets again and ended up at La Rambla. In one of the many souvenir shops I bought a miniature of the Sagrada Familia. I also browsed through some postcards in another shop. Not to send any, but to see if I had missed any highlights. Surprisingly there was one thing: Casa Batlló. I made a picture of it with my camera and I asked a couple of police officers were I could find this building. It was near Plaça Catalunya.
A feeling I had became true, the building was less than 50 meters away from the entrance of a subway station I entered on Thursday night.

Something totally different I noticed (because there were a lot of them) was the selling of handbags. Clearly a demonstration of the black market in Barcelona (the handbags were also being sold by black persons, coincidence or irony?). One could tell that they were well prepared in case the police would show up. The handbags were on a rug. On each corner a piece of rope was attached, the other end of the rope was hold tightly in the hands of the trader. If the police would show up, they only had to pull the rope and the rug would turn into a sack. Pretty clever (I wonder from whom they stole that idea). They were constantly looking around to see if trouble was approaching and if it was time to leave.
Some of them were on a street with some benches, a nice spot to observe this (and people) and make some pictures of this ritual. I was hoping to catch how they would pick up their stuff and leave.

To kill some time while waiting I read some pages in the book about Barcelona and I missed the moment supreme! In the blink of an eye they had gone! I noticed them in the distance, walking towards Plaça Catalunya, perhaps they would setup shop there. Once there I noticed some police officers chasing them (walking). I sat down to observe this cat and mouse game. No effort was made to catch them or to chase them away more quickly.

As Plaça Catalunya is a busy place I sat down to just look at people. When dusk started to turn into night I decided to leave and walk into a direction I hadn’t been in. The plan was to navigate the narrow streets to end up near La Rambla to have dinner.
I ended up in a totally different place, nearby the spot where I had seen Castell de Montjuïc yesterday. I decided to have dinner at an Italian restaurant. As it was just a little before 19:00 I was the only customer. Tourists are the only people eating this early in Barcelona. But given the fact that unfortunately I had to go home early tomorrow morning I wanted to eat early and be back at the hotstal at a reasonable time.
I ate a very nice pizza and drank a bottle of wine.

After finishing dinner I decided to have a look if the fountain at Castell de Montjuïc was working (still an item on our list). Lucky for me it was working (although the waitress in the restaurant told me that it only operates in the summer). This isn’t your average fountain, the turned it into a show! The avenue leading up to the fountain and the stairs to Castell de Montjuïc decorated with smaller illuminated fountains and colored waterfalls. The fountain itself surpassed all of that.

Well known songs and classical music were in synch with the different colors that were shined on the fountain and it matched the rhythm of the music and beams of water sprays. I didn’t bring my tripod, but in spite of that I managed to shoot some nice pictures of this show.

Besides that I also observed this show breathless and with goose bumps from time to time (not of the cold, because it wasn’t). Too bad that it only lasted for an hour.
They should really set something like this up in Amsterdam, because there isn’t anything like it. More than enough water in Amsterdam to make it happen!

After this beautiful finale of my weekend in Barcelona I returned to the hostal. When I exited the subway station I shot some pictures of the illuminated Sagrada Famila.

Once at the hostal I packed most of my stuff, had a warm shower and went to sleep.

Today’s route:

5 Responses were posted:

  1. Patrice

    Hey Arnoud,

    Leuk om je verslagje te lezen!!
    Des te meer omdat ik er zelf ook pas drie weken geleden ben geweest.
    Ik vond het ook een zeer mooie stad, het was een geslaagd weekend.
    Tja tips komen nu te laat he ;-D
    Wens je alvast een hele mooie ervaring/vakantie toe eind deze maand.

    Gr. Patrice

  2. Bianca

    Hoi hoi,

    heel leuk dit allemaal te lezen. Wij gaan in mei een week naar Barcelona en ben mij dus aan het inlezen. Via je verhaal heb ik veel op mijn lijst kunnen zetten en zal ik eens routes uit gaan stippelen via onze GPS, met deze mooie plekjes en wie weet vallen er nog wat geocaches te combineren!

    Bedankt voor dit mooie verslag!


Leave a Reply