Day four began with packing up. We are leaving Barcelona. We will have missed a lot of sights. The museum of modern art, the natural history museum, the Monastery at Monserrat. So on our last morning before heading out to the countryside, we decide to head to the Foundacio Joan Miro.
Our checkout at the Condes de Barcelona hotel is much like our check in, with a sour-faced woman (instead of the sour faced man who checked us in) insisting we have not prepaid the room. Then, after transforming herself into a smiling, lovely person to whomever was on the other end of the telephone, completely unapologetically, unsmilingly, admitting we had. (Still, that’s me, standing in front of our window, so it wasn’t all bad.)
The Miro Museum is located on Mont Juic, which we reach by riding the amazingly smooth, clean, and easy to navigate metro. We ascend the metro to find, oddly, an enormous Harley Davidson Exhibition about to begin. Remarkable, how Harley Riders everywhere kind of look the same. Even the guys setting up the carnival rides for the Harley Riders kids look exactly like Carnies (carny’s?) everywhere – tattooed in an un-ironic, un-hipster way, perpetually smoking, pock marked, many of them. And wearing vests that look like they were never intended to be vests, but are instead jackets which have somehow – perhaps in a bar fight? – been denuded of their sleeves.
Mont Juic really is a mountain, crowned by the National Museum. ( Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya -MNAC) The building was part of the exhibition of 1929, and was set to be demolished afterwards. Instead, it houses one of the greatest collections of Catalan art in the world. (So I’m told – sorry. We only so it from the outside. Can’t do everything.) It sits atop a grand suite of steps, fountains, and formal gardens and is surrounded by more of the same. Somehow, they have managed to install escalators outside to facilitate climbing (or replace it). We eschew those, and start up the steps. Lots of steps.
Behind the museum are more gardens, and then, higher still (we used the escalators now), the Olympic Stadium from the 1992 Barcelona games. The stadium, enormous and empty, is impressive, and free to enter. We wander in. I can only imagine how spectacular it must have been filled with spectators and athletes, and flanked by a battalion of international flags.
The Joan Miro collection is expansive. His work gets less figurative and more evocative – even angry at times – as he gets older. We dodge a group of local high schoolers who look bored. Stay about an hour, and head back down the mountain.
We are headed to Bisbal D’Emporda, a town which Mapquest doesn’t even know exists. We are staying at the Castell D’Emporda, a restored 13th century castle that is now a small resort and hotel. (Kudos to Cathy at Tzell Travel in NYC for uncovering this hidden gem.)
And since our first day here st the castle (as I write this) we are doing nothing but sitting back and enjoying the view, (this is where I sit right now, typing.) I will write more about this truly spectacular place – and our truly ridiculous route to get here – tomorrow – our last day.