We stayed in the Montjuic neighbourhood of the city, and we really liked it. Not flashy or touristy, but close to the Metro and plenty of holiday apartments perfect for those with families (we like to have a kitchenette).
We arrived, got settled and immediately hit the streets - the Montjuic Fountain was only operating this one night of our visit and we didn't want to miss it. Boy am I glad we didn't, it was fantastic.
This was the view as we approached:
The fountain is located on Queen Maria Cristina Avenue and that gorgeous building behind it is the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
Looking back along Maria Cristina you can see the fountain theme extended.
I had no idea the fountain was so big - you can see some folks standing around the edges to get an idea of size.
It was designed and built for the 1929 International Exposition and was a very ambitious project for the time.
The water jets and coloured lights are coordinated to music and it's all very well done (the music was added in the 1980s). We particularly enjoyed Freddie Mercury's rousing 'Barcelona' (which he recorded with opera singer Montserrat Caballé for the '92 Barcelona Games) at the end of the session. Can't go wrong with Freddie.
Twilight was well on the way by the time the final session finished, and we spent a bit more time wandering the grounds before getting the kids home to bed.
Full moon on the left there.
The next morning we had our first failed attempt to get into the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Silly me, who's Catholic and should've known better, forgot it was Palm Sunday thus the main part of the church (the impressive part) was closed for mass.
That afternoon we headed out to the recently opened Museum Blau, the new digs for Barcelona's Museum of Natural Science.
Cool mirror tiles on Museum's exterior
The Museum was only partially open but there was plenty to look at including a pretty cool rock collection (lots of pretty crystals) and hundreds of animals (all stuffed and mounted and staring at you with their beady little glass eyes). And bonus: because it was only partially open, entry was free (and will be 'til 30 Jun 2011).
Although our kids enjoyed it I think it's better suited to children aged 8 and above.
Dinner that night was in a square we found off the famous tourist stretch of Las Ramblas (also famous for its pick-pockets).
As it grew darker hawkers, musicians and various performers came out and tried to impress those dining around the square's perimeter. The police came twice and they would slink away, only to reappear 10 minutes after the coppers' departure. Some were good fun, some were annoying, but by the end of the meal we had hawker fatigue and stopped giving out coins after the third pass-around of the hat.
Some travelling tips:
You can find the session timings for the Magic Fountain here.
The Museum Blau's website is here.
The Barcelona Metro was great. Very clear and easy to follow.
A word on safety in Barcelona: it is rife with pick-pockets and other 'scammers' - make sure you take appropriate precautions. I found this link useful.
Back soon with more on Barcelona (and that amazing Cathedral ceiling some of you asked about in the last post).
Have a great weekend!