barcelona: breakfast for one at fashion house and a day at montjuïc: the museu nacional d’art de catalunya-MNAC

Saturday, June 29:  Last night Matt asked if I wanted to meet him for breakfast at 8:30.  When morning comes, I don’t really feel like getting up, but I go out to the patio for breakfast only to remember it isn’t served until 9:00.  I return at 9 to still find no sign of him.  As a matter of fact, I eat my entire breakfast and leave for the day without ever seeing him.  It’s okay; he’s young and I figure he probably slept in.  Anyway, I want to do my thing today and I don’t know if he might invite himself along; it would be nice to have his company, but I find it hard to really absorb what I’m seeing when someone else is along.

dining table in bcn fashion house
dining table in bcn fashion house
there's a buddha in the garden.  I like him a lot. :-)
there’s a buddha in the garden. I like him a lot.🙂
there he is again, at a distance. :-)
there he is again, at a distance.🙂
Spanish laundry
Spanish laundry
flowers in the garden
flowers in the garden
there's Buddha again :-)
there’s Buddha again🙂
and the buildings around the patio
and the buildings around the patio
Ohm, Mr. Buddha
Ohm, Mr. Buddha
breakfast for two, but only one of us arrives :-)
breakfast for two, but only one of us arrives🙂

I decide to take the Barcelona Bus Turistic at a cost of 28 euros for 2 days.  Today I’ll go to the south of the city to see Montjuïc on the red line.  Tomorrow I’ll do the north side on the blue line.  It’s like many city bus tours, where you can hop off anywhere along the line that you want, and then hop back on whenever you’re ready.  I love these kinds of tours when I first arrive in a city because it gives me the lay of the land.  Also, it takes care of a lot of logistics and is informative as well.

Barcelona Bus Turista
Barcelona Bus Turista
There's La Perdrera from the bus
There’s La Perdrera from the bus
love these city tours
love these city tours
I think they said this is a Gaudi sculpture, but I honestly don't remember
I think they said this is a Gaudi sculpture, but I honestly don’t remember
Spanish balconies
Spanish balconies

Montjuïc means Jewish Mountain.  The name indicates there was one a Jewish cemetery, and possibly settlement, here.

The Parc de Montjuïc occupies a hill overlooking the port, offering a plethora of green areas and gardens, museums and cultural attractions, sports facilities and Olympic sites.

Montjuïc Hill has borne witness to, and been the focus of key events that have shaped its personality. The first such event was the 1929 International Exhibition held in Barcelona which fostered the zone’s development. More recently, the 1992 Olympic Games brought about major renewal.

Montjuïc is also home to museums, such as the Fundació Miró, the Museu d’Arqueologia, the Museu Etnològic and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC. The latter, which is housed in the Palau Nacional, the centerpiece of the 1929 exhibition, holds 1,000 years of Catalan art.

The Olympic Ring, the main site of the Olympic Games, features the stadium and a the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava, among other things.  I don’t really care about the Olympic sites, but intend mainly to see Fundació Miró and Montjuïc Castle, where many people were imprisoned and killed during and after the Spanish Civil War  (Barcelona Turisme: Parc de Montjuic).

When the bus stops at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC , housed in the stunning Palau Nacional, I hop off the bus because the guide says that there are amazing views of Barcelona from here. On the steps, a Spanish guitarist is playing passionately away.  The views are stupendous.  I can see the whole of the city, the Mediterranean, Sagrada de Familia and the surrounding hills.  I had no intention of going into the museum, but now that I’m here, I think it’s a waste not to check it out.  I doubt I’ll be coming back to Montjuïc during my stay in Barcelona.  So I pay the hefty fee and go inside.  It’s huge and has collections of art from Catalonia through the centuries, ranging from Medieval / Romanesque Art, to Gothic Art, to Renaissance and Baroque, to Modern and Contemporary.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view of Barcelona from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view of Barcelona from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
view of Sagrada de Familia from the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
view of Sagrada de Familia from the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
Another nice view :-)
Another nice view🙂
entrance to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
entrance to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
view from Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC

The star collection is the Romanesque Art.  I don’t know why, but I adore the amazing mural paintings, most of which came from Romanesque churches in the Pyrenees.  The collection is made up of works from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries and includes richly painted panels, wood carvings (especially frontal altars), metalwork and stone sculpture.  This is my favorite collection by far in the museum.  I feel incredibly moved by these kinds of murals, because of their simplicity and rich colors, much more so than the paintings from the Gothic period, which I pass quickly by.

Romanesque wall murals
Romanesque wall murals
Romanesque wall murals
Romanesque wall murals
in the Romanesque section of the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
in the Romanesque section of the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
a Romanesque door
a Romanesque door
Mary and Jesus: Romanesque
Mary and Jesus: Romanesque
Romanesque frontal altar
Romanesque frontal altar
Romanesque carvings at the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
Romanesque carvings at the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
from the Romanesque period - another frontal altar
from the Romanesque period – another frontal altar

The extensive Gothic Art section contains interesting material such as works by Catalan painters Bernat Martorell and Jaume Huguet.

Gothic Art at the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya
Gothic Art at the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya
Stomping on the devil
Stomping on the devil
Gothic art
Gothic art

There is also a famous Fortuny painting called “The Battle of Tetuan.” Despite the artist’s inability to finish the painting, it has become an icon of Catalan culture.  According to Wikipedia, the Battle of Tetuan was fought near Tetuan, Morocco between a Spanish army sent to North Africa and the tribal levies comprising the Moroccan Army in 1860. The battle was part of the Spanish-Moroccan war of 1859-1860 (Wikipedia: Battle of Tétouan).

Fortuny's "The Battle of Tetuan"
Fortuny’s “The Battle of Tetuan”
Close-up of "The Battle of Tetuan"
Close-up of “The Battle of Tetuan”

Works by Picasso, Ramon Casas, Joaquim Mir, Santiago Rusinol, and other Spanish Modernista artists are included in the Modern collection. (Lonely Planet)

Ramon Casas: Pere Romeu en une automobil: 1901
Ramon Casas: Pere Romeu en une automobil: 1901
Stained glass
Stained glass
Gaudi?
Gaudi?
More stained glass
More stained glass
PIcasso
PIcasso

After lingering in the Romanesque and Modern collections, and rushing through Gothic and Renaissance, and enjoying the views of Barcelona from the museum’s grounds, I hop back on the bus and head to the Fundació Miró.  On the way, I can see the museum I just left, standing proudly above the tree tops.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya-MNAC

On our way we also pass by the Olympic Stadium (yawn!) and the telecommunications tower (yawn again!).

the telecommunications tower on Montjuic
the telecommunications tower on Montjuic

17 thoughts on “barcelona: breakfast for one at fashion house and a day at montjuïc: the museu nacional d’art de catalunya-MNAC

    1. Thanks, Jo! It was a fun first night. I’m in Toledo now, and after that long drive, I’m exhausted. Plus I got lost tonight on the labyrinthine streets of Toledo. In bed now and ready to sleep….. I really don’t think I can keep up with the blogging, but I’ll get to it all eventually. 🙂 Can’t wait to see you soon! xxx

    1. I do too, Carol! And such a convenient means of transport to avoid having to use the underground system. Which I did have to do b/c the hop on-hop off tour was a maximum of two days.🙂

    1. It’s so nice when we share our travel stories and then get to relive them again! I’m glad my post brought back fond memories for you, Madhu. By the way, sorry I’ve gotten so behind in following you. With my move from Oman and then all my preparations for travel and the trip itself, I don’t have time to keep up; but i will play catch-up when I get home, after July 25.🙂

  1. I arrive 1pm Sunday and plan on getting a bus pass for Monday and Tuesday (prices have gone up- of course!). The museums are closed Mondays so I might do the other route first. It will all be more weather dependant than yours and the days will be shorter. I imagine we’ll spend more time walking in the parks and gardens if it’s nice. We’re very near the Sagrada Familia so might do that before we get on the bus. I’m looking at online booking options but not sure if I should tie us down that way. It does spread the cost a bit though.
    I looked at getting a Barcelona Pass but don’t know if I’ll get value from that. I just plan on getting a T10 ticket at the airport and coming in by train.
    You know what a penny pincher I am, Cathy. I discovered you can get into the Cathedral free early mornings or evenings. 🙂 It all depends on being in the right place at the right time so might not work out.
    Sorry to bend your ear so much. Excited! 🙂

    P.S. How long were you in the art museum? Trying to rough out a plan and still have time for a day in Girona. Love ya, Cath!

    1. I’m so excited for you, Jo! The best thing about booking the tickets ahead for the Gaudi places is that you avoid lines. But at this time of year, you may not have many lines anyway. It’s good to save money wherever possible, so good for you for figuring out ways to do so. I really recommend Park Güell for a perfectly lovely walk!

      I’ll be thinking about you as you arrive on Sunday!! I’m so excited for you and looking forward to hearing about your trip. How many days will you stay?

      Have fun!! Love to you on your birthday!!🙂

      I was at that museum for quite a while, a couple of hours maybe, because it’s huge!! Maybe you don’t need to spend that much time there. I highly recommend the Romanesque section; it was my favorite. I’m not much into Baroque or Gothic stuff.

      1. The return flight is Friday moning so I have 5 nights, or 4 and a half days depending how you look at it. Did you go inside Sagrada Familia, Cath? Can’t remember seeing it in a post.

        Thanks, hon 🙂

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