October 12, 2021
Barcelona has so much to see you can wear yourself out trying to see it all. Since we were here for two “rest days” before another four days of riding, I decided to be selective and not wear myself down. Top of my list was the Picasso Museum. Picasso spent his early years growing up and learning the basis of his artistic skills in Barcelona before hitting the avant garde of the art world. The museum features a large collection of his earliest work as well as significant pieces from throughout his life. Of course there are gaps, as you might expect for an artist as prominent and highly collected as Picasso is by museums throughout the world. Still, the museum does a good job of giving you a solid overview of his life’s work.
The audio guide that you are encouraged to buy is well done but poorly handled. You must bring along a smart phone with active data in order to use it effectively and you need to activate the guide at an area well beyond the entry area. There is no signage to direct you. The result is that you stand in line waiting to enter and as you get to the front someone directs to the another part of the building where you must go to scan a QR code to
activate the guide. If you don’t bring your own headphones and try to listen with your phone to your ear a guard may bring you a set of headphones if he or she thinks you might disturb others. There is nothing on the museum website that tells you any of this. Additionally, the information on the guide is not arranged in the same order as you are directed to travel through the museum. You may eventually figure it out but it would be a more enjoyable experience if they gave you a few hints at the beginning.
Once I got over being peeved about the audio guide I really enjoyed the museum and saw a side of Picasso that I never realized existed. I should have guessed that he would have been trained in classical techniques but for whatever reason it never registered in my mind. It was interesting to see his progress from the classical styles of the past to the groundbreaking work of his maturity.
Both before and after visiting the Picasso Museum I spent some time walking around the old section of Barcelona. This is home of narrow streets and small shops typical of many European cities. It being a holiday these narrow streets and wide plazas were crowded with both locals and tourists out for a day in the city. Street musicians and buskers were also out trying to earn a few Euros and providing a lot of local sounds and color. Just walking around, watching and listening was an interesting way of experiencing this ancient city. There are a variety of dining experiences to try as well a wine shops and minor attractions such as the Museum of Erotica. I did not bother to go in. A couple going there would seem campy and fun but a guy by himself would just look creepy. However, there was a sex shop nearby with an interesting window display but I am not sophisticated enough to understand what a guy, looking like Salvador Dali and riding a rhino is doing in their window display.