2019 Trip to Barcelona including Atlas Obscura "Behind the Scenes" tour
March 2nd to 11th, 2019
After arriving and getting de-jetlagged on Saturday, I spent Sunday walking down La Rambla to the waterfront, then went up to the Fundacio Miro, and spent the afternoon at the Picasso Museum (no photos there). In the evening, I saw the Barcelona Guitar Trio (with flamenco dancers and percussionist) perform at the Palau de Musica Catalan:
On Monday, before the tour group met, I had time to tour Casa Mila, aka La Pedrera, a fantastic apartment house designed by Gaudi, and look at the outside of his most famous work, La Sagrada Familia:
Monday night, the Atlas Obscura tour group met. Filipe and Irina, our guides, led us through the medieval part of the city, telling us some of the history (including sites of the Spanish Inquistion). We ended at the famous Els Quatre Gats, the 4 Cats (where Picasso and others used to meet) for our first dinner.
On Tuesday, we went up Montjuic, to the Palau Nacional, and toured MNAC, the wonderful Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, including an exclusive tour of some backrooms and art preparation areas.
Wednesday was a mix of "high culture", the private club dedicated to opera at the Liceu Theater, and the historical "red light" district of Barcelona along Avinguda del Paral·lel, where the spirit of those times was recreated with a cabaret performance at the Tinta Roja. In between, we visited a Rococo Anatomical amphitheater, easily the fanciest operating room I've ever seen, at the Royal College of Surgeons.
Thursday showed us the Biblioteca Pública Arús, a Freemason library which preserved its books from the years of censorship. In the afternoon, we toured Palau Güell, another Gaudi creation: a private house for his patron, Eusebi Güell. In the evening, we visited a public bomb shelter from the Spanish Civil War, followed by the strangest dinner I've ever had: Culinary Backstreets created a Civil War dinner, using the limited ingredients available during those hard times.
Friday featured Tibidabo, a mountain top church, (former) amusement park, and a wonderful private home, where we heard a classical piano and castanet performance.
Saturday was our last day as a tour group. In the morning, we toured the Sant Pau i la Santa Creu hospital complex, much more beautiful than the term "hospital complex" suggests. After a long lunch at Da Greco, we gathered again in the evening for a fancy private Belle Époque party at Oleguer Junyent's workshop. We had an opera singer and a Mentalist perform, and endless fascinating antiques to peruse.
I had one day left in Barcelona after the tour, so I spent it at Gaudi's outdoor creation, Parc Guell, which included Gaudi's modest private dwelling, Casa Gaudi.