Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25,2014 -- still in Barcelona

I have one more full day in Barcelona before I head north first to Gerona for two night and then on to France. That means I will start the Camino in a week.

Today I went up Monjuïc in the morning and to the port in the afternoon. Let's start with the port first. The first picture is of a statue of Christopher Columbus on top of a very tall column. You may think he is pointing west toward America, but he is actually pointing south. Fifty years ago, when I first visited Barcelona, I made the mistake of asking one of the local wags why he was pointing in the wrong direction. This was during the Franco dictatorship and not long after President Eisenhower had visited Spain. According to my informant, when Ike saw the statue, he was aghast. He told Franco that something had to be done. Otherwise, when the Russian army reached Barcelona, they would know from the statue which way to go to reach America. Franco gave in and had the statue turned 90 degrees counterclockwise to mislead the Russians. It is up to you whether or not you choose to believe that story. I'm keeping an open mind.

I went up Monjuïc in the funicular (in Western Pennsylvania we called those things inclined planes). Before I took it, I didn't realize that this funicular runs through a tunnel most of the way, so there is nothing to see but the tunnel walls. There is also an aerial tramway going up the hill from which the view is supposed to be spectacular but which charges tourist prices. The funicular, on the other hand, is part of the city's subway system, and one can ride it for the modest price of a subway ticket. As you can see in the following picture, it even looks like a subway train, although if you walk from front to back inside the train, you walk down a series of steps.

There is a lot to see on Monjuï. It has wooded parks, a number of museums, and the Olympic Stadium, left from when Barcelona hosted the Olympics. Here is what it looks like inside.

Finally, here is a picture of the bank building just a few doors down the street from where I am staying. I don't remember its looking like that yesterday. Someone tried to smash the windows and the scrawled on them in Catalán "You can't evict popular culture." I asked a local about it, and I was told that a group of squatters was evicted from a building where they had lived for many years, and since the eviction, there has been a constant stream of violent incidents in protest.

1 comment:

Inge Quinn said...

I just love all of the photographs to illustrate your adventures and sightseeing. And thank you for not revealing my age! :-)