Barcelona, Spain Day 4 - Free Museums for us!

Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
Trip End Sep 01, 2008

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Catalonia,
Friday, July 25, 2008

Today we adjusted our plans a bit as we were all feeling a little kicked-in-the-pants tired. So, we crossed Mountjic off our must-do list and decided to take a less strenuous route. Mounjic is a historic mountain here in Barcelona that has several attractions including a museum housed inside a fortress, several gardens, the Joan Miro museum, the Magical Fountains (the main reason we were going to go), and a recreation of all the different types of pueblos that can be found throughout Spain (I'm forgetting the name of this place at the moment). Instead, we decide to visit three nearby museums, find a place for the kids to play, and try to get to bed a little earlier than the typical midnight bedtime we've become used to.

We start out by heading to the nearby Mercat de Santa Caterina (the one with the colorful roof!). Its our first time to have a solid internet connection. The fact that I don't have to fear for my life is pretty nice too. : ) I'm able to get a good amount of work done and catch up on some emails. Janice and the kids cruise the neighborhood and market and then come back for her to use up the remaining hour of internet time (which we obtained by purchasing something from the market).

Then, we head out on foot to the nearby Parc de la Ciutadella, a large park with an Animal Museum and Geological Museum (both of which are free to us b/c of the Barcelona Card), a large pond, kids play area, a zoo, and several large historical government buildings. Our first stop is to the Animal Museum which has a temporary exhibit about CSI type stuff. The kids love going through and playing with the hands on displays. They evaluate footprints, make tracings of faces, poke around at a plastic cadaver. Crazy kids. Then its on to the Animal Museum. Basically, just a huge room with a bunch of animals behind glass. We walk around and enjoy ... the kids excitedly point out a bee hive display half inside with see-thru sides on our side, and the opposite side exiting to the world of Barcelona. Its neat to see the bee's home inside ... honey and everything. They love it. My favorite thing is following Ella around as she finds animals she likes. She pulls out a tri-fold brochure from the CSI exhibit and says, "Ok. I have to cross this one off." as if she is on a hunt for specific animals. Then, she draws a little square on the brochure under a picture of a chalk line of the CSI murder victim, and tucks the flyer back in to her pocket ... until she see another animal she likes. So precious it hurts. ... Several times on the trip I've been taken back, overwhelmed with love for my kids. It hits me so suddenly, its brought me to tears. This is one of those times. I give her a little kiss. "You know Daddy loves you?" ... "Yeah", she says. I smile deeply.

Then a walk through the park. Janice and I rest on the bench swapping computer time. The kids play in the playground with locals. Then more walking and exploring before a brief stop at the Geological Museum (rocks n fossils). Lunch at a restaurant close to home across from the Cathedral. Ambiance is nice. Food just ok. I have found a new favorite in Barcelona. "Bravas". French Fries with a spicy sauce and a bit of sour-cream, mayonnaise type stuff. Really yummy.

Then, back home, and another go at the internet for me to finish up some work. I come home to find Janice half asleep in bed ... if the kids would be quite, she could sleep. So, I take 'em and close the door and have them watch some cartoons so mom can get some zzzzz's.

Around 6pm, we head out to our final destination of the evening, ... another free-to-us museum, Museu d'Historia de la Ciutat, Conjunt Monumental de la Placa del Rei. The museum houses several artifacts from digs here in Barcelona. Bits of the original walls, fancy churches, houses, pottery, etc. Taking an elevator down put you three stories underground at a recreation of Barcelona in 25 BC. You work your way up a ramp twisting and turning as the artifacts become newer and newer. Its pretty cool. My favorite thing was a collection of large urns that were used to heat up an old Roman sauce that was used in nearly every meal. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the stuff, but according to the audio guide, they would dump all sorts of fish guts, eels, sea creatures in to a vat ... brew it for several MONTHS (sometimes heating in urns like these to speed up the process) , and then ... YUM. Doesn't SOUND very appetizing that's for sure. Still, it was neat to see the remains of an old fish-gut-dip factory.

After the museum, back to our 'hood for some pizza downstairs before heading back home for yet another showing of... yes, The Neverending Story. This story really doesn't ever end. I should have brought more DVDs.

At first arrival to Barcelona, I was bummed we'd only be here 4 nights and 5 days. Now, I'm ready to go. We've had some good experiences here, but overall the pace of the city is just too frantic for my liking. With all the different languages, the throngs of tourists, the thugs in the street ... its not nearly as peaceful as our time in Cantabria and Basque Country has been. A good city for singles perhaps, but married with kids = not that great. Maybe we were spoiled with such wonderful experiences in the other parts of Spain. It just seemed like everywhere we went, the places were designed with children and families in mind.

Tired now, must sleep. Tomorrow we venture to see some of Gaudi's work in the afternoon with hopes to catch a chance to dance with the locals in front of the Cathedral later in the evening before hoping on our overnight train to France.
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