Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, museums, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Barcelona.
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Barcelona you can see these species: Purple Swamphen, Marsh Harrier, Night Heron, Osprey, Greater Flaming and Glossy Ibis.
At Catalan Bird Tours (catalanbirdtours.com) you can read reports on what birds are seen year round and species that are passing through.
Birding in Spain (birdinginspain.com/) offers current and archived reports on hot locations for various species.
Mike & Bridgette King provide an interesting and fun report at (birder.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Barcelona)
Transportation: Buy the ten-trip metro ticket (T10)
Note: Cousin Chris suggests purchasing Articket (articketbcn.org) You can purchase your Articket BCN from ticket offices at the art centers (or online.)
A single ticket takes you to the leading art exhibitions in Barcelona that include: Museu Picasso, Fundació Joan MIró, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Fundació Antoni Tàpies and Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB).
Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)
Several Cousins (Chris, John, Michael, Margaret & Isabel) provided some on site evaluations for this report.
Day One: Start at Casa Mila aka La Pedrera – Daily: 9-8, Provença, 261-265, 34 902 20 21 38
Constructed by Antonio Gaudi 1906-1912, Casa Mila is a World Heritage site famous for its Art Nouveau style.
Be sure to visit the Roof Terrace for the view, The Attic, which has scale models of Gaudi’s work, The Pedrera Apartment that is decorated with period furnishings and art, The Courtyard featuring murals and motifs and the Exhibition Hall that has concerts, theater and many other events.
Park Güell – Oct-Mar: 8:30-5:30, Apr-May: 8-5:30, June-Sept: 8-9, Carrer d’Olot, 13
Park Guell was intended to become a private city for a developer named Guell. Instead it became a wonderful public park for Barcelona.
Here we see Gaudi’s designs perform visual jokes such as columns that look like palm trees and quilts of ceramic tiles. It has a forest of columns with a roof terrace which provides a view of the city.
Past the entrance a smiling dragon stretches in the middle of the divided stairway.
The Gaudi House Museum located in the park is a must-see.
The house was built under Gaudi’s direction and reflects his unique style. Inside, the house walls are covered with his drawings and artwork.
The rooms are maintained to look original and have personal belongings, furniture, sculptures, paintings and other objects.
The most valuable pieces of the collection can be seen in the garden behind the house.
Ristorante Barceloneta – L & D: Daily, Port Vell, Moll dels Pescador, Carrer de l’Escar, 22, 34 932 21 21 11 has great views to go with your seafood.
Cousin Jesus suggests sharing some small plates such as: marinated anchovies, snails, prawns, fried squid, grilled lobster, fried artichokes and seafood croquettes.
The ’06 Freixinet Cuvee DS is festive and goes well with your seafood. Dessert is one of their custards.
The Caixa Forum – M-F: 10-8, Sa,Su: 10-9, Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8, 34 93 476 86 00 offers a wide range of contemporary art.
The permanent exhibit provides a history of the building and the architects who redesigned it for today’s use. Caixa Forum has exhibitions of ancient, modern and contemporary art.
It features concerts, film screenings, performing arts, discussions about literature and contemporary thought and debates.
Time to brush up on your football/soccer knowledge at FC Barcelona and Camp Nou – M-F: 9-8, Sa: 10-2, C/Arístides Mallol 12 (main Access 15) and Av. De Joan XVIII (Boulevard Access 9), 902 1899 00
The museum is divided into three sections. The first section has photos, trophies and the club’s history on an interactive glass wall.
The second section has an art collection with works by Dali, Miro and Taples.
The third section has memorabilia from the past and present and a trophy room with all of the clubs’ trophies.
Call your banker and prepare your palate for an experience at Alkimia – L & D: M-F, Carrer de la Indústria, 79, 34 932 07 61 15
One of the tasting menus should be your choice. Although it’s impossible to describe the dishes and presentations adequately, some of the offerings include: sea bass with cuttlefish ink and coconut milk, figs and sardines with lemon sorbet, chicken cannelloni in a béchamel sauce, langoustine saffron risotto, pickled oysters with glazed pork cheeks, sautéed spinach and so forth.
Desserts are chocolate cake and roasted apples, the pineapple cream, ginger sorbet and lemon curd and the boca de negra cake.
Your wine is the ’12 Menganito Verdejo and/or the ’12 Palacios Remondo Rioja La Vandimia.
Day Two: Breakfast at El Quim de la Boqueria – B & L: Tu-Sa, Mercado de La Boqueria, Les Rambles, 91, 34 933 01 98 10
Feast on some interesting breakfast delights like the eggs with small squids or chorizo, salted cod, eggs with mushrooms and foie gras and Spanish coffee.
Let’s start the day at the Sagrada Family Church - Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 34 935 13 20 60
Francisco de Paula del Villar was commissioned to build the church and he began work on it in 1882. In 1883 Gaudi took over. It has always been an expiatory church which means that it’s built from donations.
“It is a work that is in the hands of God and the will of people.”
Gaudi continued to work on the church until his death in 1926, however, the building is still going on and could be finished in the 21st century.
The Musee Picasso – Tu-Su: 9-7, Th: till 9:30, Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 93 256 30 00 focuses on his formative years.
The museum that you are visiting opened in 1983 with a small collection provided by his secretary Juane Sarbertes. It was gradually expanded with donations from Salvador Dali, Picasso and his widow Jacqueline Rogue.
The permanent collection has 4,251 works that are organized into three sections: painting and drawing, engraving and ceramics.
These areas are then defined by periods of Picasso’s artistic life such as: the early years (1890-1901), the Blue Period (1901-04), works in Barcelona from 1917 and the Las Meninas series (1957).
The majority of the collection precedes 1917 with the exception of 1957.
Lunch at Ca I’Isidre - L & D: M-Sa, Carrer de les Flores, 34 934 41 11 39
Start with the mix of wild mushrooms and white sausage or the Catalan veal and pork cannelloni.
For your main the fried salt codfish with white beans or the grilled duck liver with figs are favorites.
Your wine is the ’08 Santa Cruz de Artanza Navarra Red and dessert is the chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream.
This afternoon you’ll visit Montjuïc – where the 1929 International Exhibition (World’s Fair) and the 1992 Olympics took place.
The central pavilion at the 1929 World’s Fair was the Palau Nacional which is now home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC).
The collection stretches from Romanesque to Modern. You’ll find art from the 12th and 13th centuries, Catalan artists from the 15th and Europe’s most important artists from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries such as: Rubens, Titian, Velázquez and Francisco de Zurbarán.
Among the many highlights are mural paintings from the Herrera Chapel, a painting of Saint Peter and Saint Paul by El Greco and Zurbarán’s Immaculate Conception.
Another World’s Fair site to see is the Poble Espanol – opening times vary according to the season, summer is 10-10, fall and spring is 10-7 and winter is 10-6.
The Poble Espanyol is primarily an open-air museum with replicas of characteristic houses from all regions of Spain, such as Castile, Andalusion, Aragon, the Basque Country, Extremadura and Catalonia.
In some buildings craftsmen show their skills, such as the glass blowers in the Andalusian quarter.
In Poble Espanyol you’ll find two discos, 20 shops, 5 schools and 17 bars and cafes.
Our horticultural travelers will want to see the Montjuïc Gardens - located behind the Olympic Stadium.
Two thousand different species of plants are grouped into geographical areas – called Homoclimatic zones, all of which have a Mediterranean climate: South Africa, Australia, Chile, California, North Africa and the Mediterranean Basin.
Despite the fact that all these areas share a similar climate, they have a very diverse flora.
Some of the interesting exotic plants at the Botanical Garden include the Canary Islands Dragon Tree, Californian Yuccas, the Xanthorrhoea (an Australian grass tree with very narrow leaves), white Wandoo trees and olive trees.
Your timing is perfect! Before leaving this area you can rest your feet and see the Magic Fountain –The light and music show schedule is Oct-April: F,Sa: on the half hour between 7 and 8:30, May-Sept: Th-Su: on the half hour between 9 and 11 PM.
Restaurante Lasarte - L & D: Tu-Sa, Carrer de Mallorca, 259, 34 934 45 32 42 is a gastronomic experience.
Your starter is their tuna sushi with Brussels sprouts or the beef salad with foie gras and a mustard sauce.
Your main is the grilled tuna belly with capers, citrus and chopped apple or their pig trotters stuffed with black shallots and quinoa.
Your wine is the ’06 Clos Figueres Priorat Red and dessert is French toast with coffee ice cream.
Day Three: Laie Café-Llibrería – B,L,D: M-Sa, Pau Claris, 85, 93 302 73 10 offers a quiet beginning to a busy day.
Sweets, coffees, teas and juices plus a library with 20,000 titles provides intellectual sustenance.
The Fundació Joan Miró – Tu-Su: 10-7, Th: till 9:30, Su: till 2:30, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, 34 934 43 94 70 offers you an in-depth look at this extraordinary artist.
The Foundation’s collection currently comprises over 14,000 pieces: 217 paintings, 178 sculptures, 9 textiles, 4 ceramics and some 8,000 drawings.
The major part of this collection was donated to the Foundation by Joan Miró himself. Other pieces have come from the collections owned by Pilar Juncosa, the artist’s wife, and Joan Prats, his close friend and the driving force behind the idea of setting up the Foundation.
There have been subsequent donations by Marguerite and Aimé Maeght, Pierre Matisse, Manuel de Muga, Josep Lluís Sert, Francesc Farreras, Josep Royo, Gérald Cramer and David Fernández Miró, grandson of the artist.
Santa Maria del Mar – M-Sa: 9-1, 5-8:30, Su: 10-2, Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 34 933 10 23 90 provides a good example of 14th century Catalan architecture.
The octagonal towers with flat tops, large bare surfaces, tall interior, rib vaults and soaring vertical lines were a major influence on Gaudi’s design of La Sagrada Familia.
The stained glass windows in the church date back to the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries.
The window of the Ascension in the chapel of Santa Maria, the Lavabo in the chapel of Saint Rafael and the great rose window are outstanding features of the church.
Dining is fun at Tapas 24 – B,L,D: M-Sa, Diputació, 269, 34 93 488 0977
The tapas choices seem endless, but Cousin Chris suggests these: The Bravas (fries with a spicy sauce). The Bikini is toasted ham (cured) and cheese (mozzarella) with truffle. Then there is the McFoie burger.
Other choices are the ahi tuna taco, chicken croquettes and spicy lamb skewers.
The ’00 Garsed e Hijos Clos Priorat is a good match. Dessert is their chocolate tart with olive oil.
The formation of Barcelona can be seen by visiting Museu d’Historia de la Ciutat de Barcelona – Tu-Su: 10-7, Su: till 8, Plaça del Rei, 34 932 56 21 00
The museum is housed in the Casa Padellàs, a fifteenth-century Gothic palace that in 1931 was transported stone by stone from its original location on the Carrer dels Mercaders to the Placa del Rei.
During the excavation work necessary to build the new foundations for the palace, remains of the old Roman city were uncovered.
An elevator brings you to an underground level were you’ll find the remains of the Roman city of Barcino, founded around 12 BC by emperor Augustus.
There are also ruins from a later period, including a church from the Visigoth period (sixth century) and the Episcopal complex, built between the fourth and seventh century AD.
Back upstairs is Palau Reial Major, a royal complex built in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
The museum has a series of displays that tell the history of Barcelona during the Middle Ages, from the eight until the thirteenth centuries.
We always enjoy a trip to the market. In Barcelona it’s the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria – M-Sa: 8-8:30 PM, La Rambla, 91, 34 933 18 25 84
The market hall has over two hundred stalls selling fish and meat, vegetables and fruit. Some stalls have exotic food – you can taste beetles or worms – while others cater to tourists with take-away refreshments and snacks.
Lucky us – there are tapas bars with Spanish and Catalan snacks to enjoy with our wine.
Dinner is at Moo Restaurant Hotel Omm– L & D: Daily, Rosselló 265, 011-34 93 445 40 00 where the food is excellent and the people watching is even better.
The amuse bouche varies but might be their essence of mushroom broth or the sausage in foam. The Leopardi Brut Nature works with these.
Cousin Chris recommends the timble de manzana (apple and foie gras) or the tortilla de ceps (omelet filled with mushroom confit) as a starter.
For your main the cod in garlic sauce or the sole are both excellent.
Your wine is the ’08 Fillaboa Alborino and dessert is their orange sorbet and chocolate wrapped in edible orange peel napped in a chocolate sauce.
Until next time, best wishes and safe travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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