Archive for November, 2019


November 17, 2019


Miro mosaic, LaRambla metro stop

I went to for a week of art.  Why Barcelona?  Miro,  Guadi, Salvador Dali.  So much art.

Barcelona is on the Mediterranian Sea, so the weather was mild.  Yes, I did need a coat for a few days, but it was nice. They have an excellent Metro system and also take tourism seriously. There are information stands all over.

I did some research planning  the trip.  I knew the city had a ‘Big Bus’, and many museums and tourist sites.  I knew I was interested in staying in a hostel.  I did research on Trivago, TripAdvisor,, and AirBNB. For the same hostel, AirBNB offered the best deal at $11 a night for Arc Hostel.  I chose this business partly based on price, but also location. It’s two blocks from the ArcdeTriomf Metro stop, and very close to ‘Catelyuna’ which is the center of town.  They had separate male and female dorms.

I did airfare research on several sites, but offered the best deal from Chicago:  $369 RT (with a stop in Paris). I also bought trip insurance including medical for $125. Expensive, yes, but yu need it.

Let me say a bit about Delta/Air France.  Going, to check a bag would have cost over $50.  Thus, people do stuff regulation bags overhead, and it inconveniences everyone, For some reason, there is no charge to check a bag on the return trip.

I flew AirFrance to Kenya  a little over 30 years ago, when dinner was served on china with actual silverware. Those days are gone. The way they board an airplane is ungepotched.  The logical thing to do would be to board the back of the plane first & work towards the front.  Ah, no,  First class always boards first, so we can all march past the people who paid more.  Not sure what kind of perk that is to those first-class passengers. Then, they board you by ‘zone’. Zone doesn’t mean the part of the plane, but apparently when you bought your ticket & for how much. I always try to board last, no matter what—-so everyone can take their coats off & get their carry-ons overhead & NOT BE BLOCKING THE AISLES…so much for logic.  In the end, the flight attendants have to help rearrange baggage, and it wastes time.

Also, on the return (Airbus 330), the entertainment electrical system apparently started melting, suddenly, 4 hours into the flight, everyone could smell the plastic burning.  The solution wasn’t to emergency land. It was to turn off the system. With 4 hours to go, lucky I brought a book and had a flashlight on my phone.  Food was decent but typical.

I mention this about the flights because if you go on a tour (I did this on my own) your travel days are included in the lengthe of the trip.

Anyways, using TripAdvisor, I booked several tours before actual travel, as I was told many tours do get filled up.  I booked a street tapas tour via AirBNB, that became complicated when they had no trouble taking my credit card for payment, but THEN wanted  a photocopy of my passport page—-which they rejected about a dozen times before accepting.  I don’t know how that makes anyone more secure. Who’d book a  tour to be a terrorist?  But the tour, by an independent contractor names Alessio, who was from Italy and living in Barcelona, was very good, and I think worth the money.  He took us to several bars off LaRambla that a new tourist would never have found on her own.


I booked the ‘BigBus’ and  the Casa Batilio (Gudi designed home for a client) via Viator, as well as the Erotic Museum.  I did not book a tour of the Park Guell (, which I probably should have. It’s an expensive tour, but otherwise, you would not know what you are looking at, and it is a  git of a hike off the main road and through the park. It is away from the center  of town.

I also did not prebook a ticket  for the Miro museum (  This was 1 of the main museums I wanted to visit, and early in the morning it is definitely not crowded.  wonderful exhibit.  This museum is in the Olympic Park, created for the 1992 OlyMiro Tapestrympics.  Not far, in the same vicinity, is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Catelyuna.  I got into that museum for free (senior citizen) and it was phenomenal. Great  traditonal as well as several galleries devoted to surrealism and the era of the Spanish Civil War. Very much worth the time even if you have to pay to get in.

I really am not much of a souvenir collector.  At the Miro museum, I was able to get a stereoscopic viewer of a selection of his art, but I could not get a similar ‘toy’ at the  Contemporary art museum, nor at any other museum.  Nor could I get socks.  As my sister said several years back, these museums really miss the boat on what they can sell. I’m sure they sell plenty of scarves, coffee cups (at E16—very expensive), and key chains, but Americans I think expect so much more.

Erotic Museum Barcelona

I also prepaid for the Erotic Art museum off La Rambla.  That, I think, was a bit overprices. I think I spent 1/2 hour there. It was interesting, but I had seen much of what they had in other venues.

I went to Park Guell—the park designed by Gaudi, but things are not labeled in the park.   You really have to have a guide to appreciate what yu are seeing, Also, it is extremely hilly compared to most of the city.

I was going to visit the Picasso Museum, but in the end, I didn’t. The reason is, it took me over an hour to find it—it is on a little alley s5reet, and you really have to ask locals where it is.  Shocking that there is no signeage.  I knew I was in the vicinity, then went down another alley, but turned around. It is across the ‘alley’ from the Museum of Modern Art, also a very small museum (smaller than my apartment if you can imagine), bu at E11, I thought Picasso was very expensive,. I believe the Art Institute has a better collection, as the museum is extremely small.  I did pay the E5 to go to the MEMA, which is how I discovered how small it was. They had an excellent exhibit by a hyper realistic artist of nudesd, but  still overpriced.


I saw many dogs. It seems many people have large Yorkies, West Highland White Terriers, and a few other purebreds & mixed breeds. I saw  several galgos:

Barcelona is in Catalonia, a region of Spain, like Basque and Andalusia, and people are  ‘fighting’ for separatism.  As an analogy, it would be like if Texas or California wanted to be their own nation.  I am not sure of the particulars and was told by a guide that there are several political parties promoting separatism, both right wing & left wing.
What does that really mean?  Ther are signs all over that  people find racism abhorrent.   Does being right wing mean being ‘nationalistic’ about your own economy?

Evidence of support for seperatism

Because I was on vacation, and don’t read  understand Spanish (or Catelunian—the regional language), I didn’t get any news. When I returned, I looked up election results :

I’m not sure what this means to those not knowledgeable about specif8ic issues, but it appears that among those voting, most did want  a separate state.

I saw a few protests, and there was evidence of activism everywhere—notably the ‘yellow ribbon’ for political prisoners.

I booked a day trip to the Pyrenees. I  think I was expecting more snow.  Everyone of these remote towns has a church.  We visited a town called Serat. Nobody was around. At a hostel, there was a sign that said, “If nobody answers, go back down the mountain and inquire at the grocery.”

The Pyrenees

One of the highlights was my visit to Figeroa, where the Dali Museum is.  They have a great ‘retrospective’ of his art except that virtually none is labeled. You will recognize most of it if you’ve seen his art in books.  In

Persistence of Memory, Dali’s most famous work

American museums, usually ther is a label stating the medium, the date completed, and possibly something about the donor.  Not so in the Dali Musuem.

Dali’s muse

Dali’s muse: Gala

I had a wonderful time, anf  it was a great trip. Even with the tours, all my expenses hovered around $50 a day. Very affordable.