Teatre del Liceu

Monday December 7

We spend most of today cleaning and packing so that we will be ready on Wednesday for our flight home. Packing always takes me longer than I think it will and I want this all taken care of so that we can enjoy our last day in Barcelona. I finally got a photo of the man who sells propane for the on demand hot water heaters and stoves.  He walks up and down the streets everyday banging a wrench on the side of these large canisters.  The noise can be heard for blocks, even inside our apartment with the windows closed. So different from home.FullSizeRenderFinally we are ready to go to the opera.  We are going to see Lucia Di Lammermoor, which is a tragic opera based on Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor. Here is the floor plan and the seats range from the €14.00 we paid for our seats to €300 for a seat in Zone 1.  Imagine, it would cost €600 or $900 Canadian for a night at the Opera!Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 7.07.57 PM

Zone 1: €299.00     Zone 2: €199.00     Zone 2B: €187.00     Zone 3: €161.00               Zone 4: €117.00     Zone 5; €80.00     Zone 6: €56.00     Zone 7:€38.00                            Zone 8: €14.00     

The first lime green dot on this plan, on the lower right side in zone 8,  along with the red dot beside it were our seats.  Right up next to the ceiling, with no view of the stage at all!  However, we did have a little TV screen to watch the opera and there were English subtitles which were a huge help in following the plot of the opera.  The picture quality was quite poor but it was great having the subtitles.  Bob summed up the plot this way ”It took the heroine two and a half hours to die!”                         DSC02951

The music and the singing was wonderful and of course the venue was absolutely stunning.  I didn’t know if I would enjoy it, not being able to see the stage, but really it was OK.  Of course it would have been so much nicer to see the actual stage instead of a fuzzy rendition but the only tickets available were in Zone 5 and it would have cost €160, or about $240.00, a bit too expensive for us!

Here is Bob standing by our seats, right up near the beautiful ceiling, and a few more photos showing the theatre, the orchestra way down below us, the cast, and the lobby after the performance.DSC02934

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On the way home we see many beautiful lights and some sad sights too.Image-1

Picasso Museum, Frederick Maré Museum

I know I am terribly slow finishing these last few posts from our trip but finally, I am going to get it done. Thanks for hanging in and being patient.

Sunday, December 6, 21015

We only have four days left until we leave for home and there is still so much we haven’t seen. It is difficult to believe we have been travelling for almost three months and now it is almost over.  Today we are going to visit the Picasso Museum and the Frederic Maré Museum.  They are both free today as it is the first Sunday of the month.

On the way to the Picasso Museum we pass the MEAM (European Museum of Modern Art) where we saw the Odd Nerdrum Exhibit way back in September. All the streets in this area are very narrow and I am glad Bob seems to know where we are going, because I certainly don’t!FullSizeRender

The Picasso Museum is always busy and today we need to line up and wait to get in but the line moved fairly quickly and we were entertained by this very talented group of musicians while we waited.FullSizeRender

There are no photos allowed inside the museum and they are very strict, so I have no pictures of what we saw, but here is a link to the museum collection if you want to see some of the work on display. FullSizeRender

FullSizeRenderThe Picasso museum is located in five large town houses or palaces. The original palaces date from the 13th-15th centuries, and the buildings have undergone major restorations. The museum is quite ornate and has many interesting architectural details and courtyards. We spent several hours here, there is so much to see; there are 4,251 works in the permanent collection!

On our way to the next museum we stop to visit the Santa Maria Del Mar.FullSizeRender

This church was damaged by fire in 1936 and we can still see soot on the walls and ceilings, and the damage that the fire did to its columns.  FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

The columns are spaced 43 feet apart, the widest of any Gothic Church in Europe. This church was built in just 55 years, from 1329 to 1384 and it is the only surviving church in the Catalan Gothic style.  The interior is quite beautiful, and full of light even though it is not ornately decorated like so many of the churches that we have seen.FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

We climb some old stone steps and there is a great view from the second floor behind the altar looking towards the front doors and beautiful stained glass windows.
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Next stop, the Frederic Maré Museum.  We had a very brief visit to this museum in September but it was closing so we had to dash through the little bit of it that we saw. It was a fascinating place and we wanted to return for a more leisurely visit.  There is a lovely secluded courtyard right outside this museum so we stop for a much needed rest and a rather late lunch.

This quote from the museum’s site explains this rather curious museum, and a virtual reality tour gives a better idea of our visit to this fascinating museum.

“The Museu Frederic Marès is a unique collecting museum that preserves the collections assembled by its founder, sculptor Frederic Marès (1893-1991), which came to form part of the patrimony of the city of Barcelona through his donation in 1946. Two years later, this museum was inaugurated in a part of the old Royal Palace of the Counts of Barcelona in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. Its original Verger or courtyard garden, still remains intact.

Frederic Marès turned sculpture into something beyond his artistic calling. Throughout his lifetime he amassed an extensive Hispanic sculpture collection which ranged from the ancient world until the 19th century, in which religious polychromed carvings predominated. This now makes up the most uniform section of the museum. Marès also donated part of his own sculptural oeuvre, which is on display in his Library-study.

The Collector’s Cabinet is the home to a display of tens of thousands of objects that make up a vast collection of collections that documents past lifestyles and customs, mainly from the 19th century. There you can find amusing, unique items like fans, pipes, clocks, jewellery, photographs, toys, keys, pharmacy bottles and reliquaries, all presented in an intimate atmosphere evoking Marès private universe.”

Here are some of my pictures of this incredible collection.FullSizeRender

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There was an old picture of the Liceu Opera House, where we will see an opera tomorrow.FullSizeRender

We make our way back to the Barcelona Cathedral to get a picture.  Last time we were there, a large tent and stage ere erected in front of it which made picture taking difficult.  Today there is a Market in the square in front of the Cathedral, so there are balloons in my photo and lots of people everywhere.  FullSizeRenderFullSizeRenderThere were Christmas tree vendors, and several families were buying their trees,FullSizeRender

and there were rows and rows of stalls selling nativity scene figurines and crèches of all styles, sizes and shapes.Image-1

We leave this busy street and catch the metro back to our neighbourhood and our narrow, quiet street.FullSizeRender

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Teatre del Liceu, Casa Batlló and Strange Plants

While we were walking down La Rambla on our way to the Gran Teatre del Liceu my eyes caught site of some very interesting packets of seeds for sale at one of the many sidewalk vendors. We both had quite a chuckle when we took a closer look at these unusual seed packets.  However, be warned, these are rather X rated plants! imageBarcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu was founded in 1847 and is located on La Ramba, which is the centermost boulevard in Barcelona. It is very popular with tourists and locals and is always crowded with people enjoying the sights.  We have a short tour which includes the Vestibule, the Hall of Mirrors and the Auditorium.  Our guide explains about the cheapest seats, in the galliner which translates literally to the “henroost” and we buy tickets for Monday night which will be our second last night in Barcelona.  The tickets are only €15, we certainly cannot afford the €325 seats!  Imagine paying $1,000 CAN for a night at the opera!

This historic theatre has a very interesting history that includes two fires, the latest occurred in 1994 and completely destroyed the Auditorium. There is a good short video and more information about the Gran Teatre del Liceu here.image

After our tour, we walk several blocks to one of Antoni Gaudi’s incredible buildings, Casa Batlló.  We have tickets to go inside, €22.50 each, expensive, but we really enjoyed the visit.  FullSizeRender

I took lots of pictures but then found this video that shows almost the same photos as those I took, so I will include the link to the video.  Watching it made me feel like I was back there walking through the building.  I have also included a second video which is a more fanciful walk through Casa Batlló, but it does give a sense of walking through the rooms.  The little balcony at the very top of the building, it is the same one we stood on to take this photo.FullSizeRender_2

Did you notice that the building looks like it has been made from skulls and bones? The “skulls” are the balconies and the “bones” are supporting pillars.FullSizeRenderThe building was designed by Gaudí for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat. Señor Batlló lived in the lower two floors with his family and the upper floors were rented out as apartments.  Today there are still private individuals living in the apartments.  Imagine living in such building, and imagine having hundreds, or even thousands of people touring through your apartment building every day! There were several photos of the interior with its original furnishings, which I found very interesting.FullSizeRender

We climb up to the roof with its crazy chimneys and its famous ‘Dragon’ spine and great views over the neighbourhood rooftops.FullSizeRender

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By the time we finally see everything it is getting dark outside and the Casa Batlló is illuminated with coloured lights.FullSizeRender_4

There are many interesting buildings on this street including several shops with beautiful window displays.Image-1

We also notice many more police on the streets than when we were in Barcelona in September, no doubt a result of the terrorist attacks in Paris. I don’t know if I will ever get used to seeing police with so many weapons. the picture is blurry as I zoomed in from a distance.  I discovered they do not appreciate tourists taking photos!FullSizeRender_3

As we walk back towards La Rambla we come across an area with lots of food trucks so we have supper, enjoy the Christmas lights, and watch all the people. The streets are packed with hundreds of people out enjoying the evening.FullSizeRender_2

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The side streets are lined with motorbikes and scooters, row after row of them.  They are a very practical mode of transportation in a city that has next to no place to park cars.FullSizeRender_3

A crowd has gathered around a huge Christmas tree and before long a group of young carollers arrive and the lights are turned on.  FullSizeRender_5 Image-1

Hundreds of Swarovski crystal snowflakes decorate the tree! We stay to listen to the carollers and we both start feeling rather Christmassy!FullSizeRender

On the way home I had to stop in the Mobile World Centre as there were some great dinosaur displays, it seemed to have something to do with a new Samsung phone? The centre is open to the public and showcases the latest technology, applications and innovations in the area of mobility but I was really only interested in the dinosaurs!FullSizeRender

 

FC Barcelona and Life Drawing

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bob went to see FC Barcelona play another Spanish soccer team in the Spanish Cup competition. Barcelona easily won 6-1 against this weaker team. Barcelona didn’t play its top three players but it was still exciting to be there. His ticket was in the first row of the 3rd tier near the center so there was no one in front, just the walking aisle. As this wasn’t the Championship League, the crowd was only 67,000 instead of 100,000, and because it wasn’t the Championship League the ticket was only 30 euros instead of 350 euros for this prime seat. Lots of noise and cheerings and drum beating.  Everyone (except Bob) either had a FC Barcelona cap, scarf, or jersey, and of course everyone tried to take the same bus home after the game.image

The next day we found this picture online. The spectator in the turquoise coat with the white hat, on the right side of the players uplifted hand is Bob!imageWhile Bob was at the football (soccer) game I went to a life drawing class at the same studio that I was at the first week of our holiday. This is a great group and it has a couple drawing sessions a week but this was the only one I was able to fit in. Their next meet up is the day we fly home.Image-1

I snapped these photos after life drawing.  The studio is upstairs in an interesting old building on a street near the Opera House. DSC01855

From the street all there is to see is an ordinary, graffiti covered door, that opens onto this medieval looking courtyard. I find it quite fascinating that so many Spanish doors open onto courtyards and gardens. You never know what you will see behind a door, which is why whenever I see an open doorway I try to peek inside! DSC01858This little fellow peeked out to say hello on the subway on my way home.  It is the only rodent of any kind that we have seen on this trip. I wondered if we would see any rats, but not a one.DSC01862

Walking home past one of the narrow side streets in our Sant Andreu neighbourhood.  It was late but I felt safe walking home from the metro by myself as there were still lots of little cafés and shops open.DSC01860

The Christmas lights are pretty even if there isn’t any snow.DSC01864