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A spare day (or maybe a day and a half) in Barcelona

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Sep 26th, 2011, 09:42 AM
  #1
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A spare day (or maybe a day and a half) in Barcelona

We've got at least a day to spare in a business trip to Barcelona.

We're planning a 2 hr walking tour of the Barrio Gotic, then onto the MNAC for a couple of hours (pretty much the longest I can stay in a museum before Museum Head kicks in) with the Romanesque stuff. Probably an hour or so at the Boqueria in between. We've got to be at the airport by 1830, so that pretty much wraps the day up

We're both pretty Gaudi-ed out, and I've never seen the point of the Ramblas But in the possibility we get an extra half day to ourselves, I thought maybe the Museu d'idees i invents de Barcelona and maybe the Archaeology Museum.

Food, what we call pre-Reformation art (I'm seriously allergic to anything Spanish post about 1550, though Mrs F quite likes some of it if it doesn't bring out her Inner Prod too much) and the odd bit of eccentricty. The Museu de la Xocolata doesn't appeal.

Anything I'm obviously missing? Staying near Zona Universitaria metro
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Sep 26th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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And why again are you in Barcelona?
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Sep 26th, 2011, 10:03 AM
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Have you been to Palau de la Música Catalana? If not, I recommend taking the 50 minute guided tour (English tours on the hour from 10:00 to 15:00). You could pair it with a look at Santa Maria del Mar (in Riberia/Born), a beautiful Gothic church and some strolling through Born.

I haven't been to Museu d'idees i invents de Barcelona. If you go there, I'd be interested in reading your thoughts on it.
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Sep 26th, 2011, 10:04 AM
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"We've got at least a day to spare in a business trip to Barcelona. "
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Sep 26th, 2011, 10:38 AM
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For a short time you have, why spend an hour at Boqueria looking at vegetables?

oopsy has given you excellent suggestions.
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Sep 26th, 2011, 10:51 AM
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The Museum of the History of Barcelona gives access to the underground remains of the Roman city, which I found very interesting.
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Sep 26th, 2011, 10:54 AM
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I found the museum of the history of the city of Barcelona fascinating.

They have a huge underground excavation (several city blocks) showing how the shops and homes such were arranged in Roman times. A really interesting presentation of how people lived back in the day.
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Sep 26th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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And the Boqueria has much more than vegetables. Just the candy displays are worth a visit. Not to mention the exotic spices, cheeses, etc. etc.
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Sep 26th, 2011, 10:59 AM
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Or you could visit the neighborhoods of Gracia and/or Sarria, which are off the beaten path. Fewer tourists & more locals. In Gracia, there is a lovely square with a church surrounded by restaurants/sidewalk cafes where you could have lunch.
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Sep 26th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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"For a short time you have, why spend an hour at Boqueria looking at vegetables?"

Because I won't have time to go the farmers' market at home on Sunday, and the price of Iberico round here is shocking. Are you suggesting I shop at Carrefour?
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Sep 26th, 2011, 12:56 PM
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Not familiar with Carrefour.
When in Barcelona, some
people like to spend time on the beach, some in a museum, some buying cheese.
À chacun son goût.
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Sep 27th, 2011, 12:54 PM
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Also found the history museum (capxxx mentioned it) very interesting.

If proximity to the hotel is a factor: the Monestir de Pedralbes is somewhat nearby. Though not exactly in walking distance.

The (somewhat) new Arts Santa Monica center (Rambles/ near Columbus column) is probably too contemporary but for free. The current exhibitions are quite interesting.

For the sweet tooth (if applicable): Escribà (cakes, pastries, chocolates; near Boqueria on the Rambles).

I don't know if the food at the Boqueria is the best you can get. You probably pay more for location as so many tourists go there from the Rambles. A less quaint alternative is the Mercat de Sant Antoni, currently in makeshift quarters 10 minutes from the Boqueria, near the MACBA, once the covered market get renovated. But I did not find the food less appealing.
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Oct 1st, 2011, 11:17 PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions.

I was wrong on two counts

I'll admit to being underwhelmed by the suggestion of the City Museum. I've been round more Roman excavations than many of you will have had decent hot dinners.

I was flabbergasted. The best explanations anywhere of Roman winemaking and its textile industry, an extraordinarily far cry from most Roman town sites - and a fascinating variation from how Barcelona, New York, London and Liverpool decide what a "museum of the city of..." is there for. Odd really: the Met, the BM and the Louvre are almost identical. "Museums of the city of..." give themselves utterly different jobs

I also forgot I wasn't Gaudi-ed out, because we'd never been inside Sagrada Familia. Gobsmacking.

Honestly the most astonishing place I've been to for years.

Strong restaurant reco: Cuines de Santa Caterina at rthe Santa Caterina market

Sadly, ran out of time for the Museu d'idees i invents de Barcelona.
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Oct 3rd, 2011, 06:14 AM
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Glad we could come up with something to flabbergast a guy to whom old Roman stones are commonplace.

My favorite bit of information from the tour through the ruins under the streets of Barcelona: in Roman Barcelona, people left containers in the street outside their homes with the expectation, indeed the hope, that passers-by would urinate into them. The urine was then used to disinfect and clean the laundry, mixed with ash and lime.

To someone who has seen more Roman ruins than I've had decent hot dinners, this might be old news, but I don't believe I'd heard that particular information before. Fortunately none of our neighbors followed that policy when my husband decided to leave a toilet we didn't need out by the curb in the hopes that somebody might take it.

But I digress.
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Oct 3rd, 2011, 07:27 AM
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Well an easy excursion to Montserrat - the fabled pilgrimage mecca just outside of Barcelona would be an option - take a commuter train to Montserrat then a funicular or cableway up to the perched on a mountain holy shrine - nice walks, including one of the Way of the Cross. And you can queue to glimpse the famous Black Madonna as well in the ornate sanctuary church.
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Oct 3rd, 2011, 08:02 AM
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Nikki:

I'm not showing off (not much anyway). But human and animal urine was part of the fulling process round here for part of the Middle Ages. What fullers didn't have to do here, though, was pay the Barcino Colonia council for the right to use the piss from passers by.

Probably yet another example of the split between the grape and grain culture. In our predominantly beer-drinking society, where people didn't dehydrate much, a few pints a day probably meant the fuller and his team generated enough urine by themselves.

In Barcino's wine drinking universe, if people dehydrated as much as I did climbing up Montjuic, the fuller probably needed all the extra wee he could find.

Anyway: thanks again to you all for suggesting it.

FWIW, the Romanesque wallpaintings at the MNAC were also gobsmacking. The Gothic stuff was eye-opening: utterly different from what was going on in Italy (and is now preserved in London, Paris and New York) at the same time. Sadly, though, so awash with bling as to bring out the Inner English Prod in even the most pious Irish Catholic.
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Oct 3rd, 2011, 08:34 AM
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I agree, having been inside Sagrada Fmailia a week ago, was gobsmacked too. However, we spent several hours doing a food tour of chocolate shops, patisseries, and the Boquerria market which was almost as good. For those of us who love food, it's a real experience - even if we are used to French markets, as I am.
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Oct 3rd, 2011, 09:51 AM
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Flanner, you would FIT RIGHT IN anywhere on Las Ramblas given your predisposition for the outrageous.
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Oct 3rd, 2011, 10:43 AM
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I second the recommendation for the Palau de Música Catalana. It's stunning.
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Oct 3rd, 2011, 11:14 AM
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"given your predisposition for the outrageous."

I have never seen anything remotely outrageous - or in any way noteworthy - on the Ramblas.

Just another tacky and pointless street that tourists, for some utterly incomprehensible reason, have been told's worth walking along.

Piccadilly Circus without the good taste.
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