Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Ciutedella, markets and a large phallic symbol

After taking yesterday basically off and doing nothing but grocery shopping (a 3 store experience), today we opted for a long walk around the Ciutadella part of town. Karen was there last week with Hilda while I was at the F1 races, so she had explored some of this space.

We started our saunter in the Arc du Triomph. As is common for us here, we came out the wrong exit of the Metro station, and took a bit to get our bearings. We found two cool buildings; one moden, trying (very successfully) to look old...
Not sure what this is, but the far end is part of it
...and a classic 1950's metal building that is/was a train/bus station.
Very '50's
We found our way to the Arc, built in 1888 for the Wold Exposition.
A squat version of Paris' 
Better when not looking into the light
The detailing is interesting.
A fox-bat-thing 
Horn-y angels? 
More of them
The Arc is the northwest end of the broad park/avenue leading to Parc Ciutadella.
Tree lined 
Lined with sculpture, too 
Popular with folks
One of the popular street merchant things to do is make bubbles. People apparantly pay for this.
The bubble guy 
People enjoying the bubbles
The street is lined with excellent streetlights.
Green metal. Very cool
The promenade from the Arc ends at the Parc de la Ciutadella, a pleasant 30 acre mostly green park full of pathways and shade. Another of the few remaining buildings from 1888 remains here, the Castle of the Three Dragons, undergoing restoration.
It was supposed to be a restaurant
The park has "interesting" art.
Chameleons? Iguanas? 
The big silver thing turns with the wind
It also has parakeets. Apparently, someone let a few free a hundred years ago, and now the park is full of them. Meet Mr. H-16. My grizzlies have ear tags; he has a collar.
The tag's bigger than his head
The park contains a geological museum with sample rocks from around Spain outside.
Lots of lavas 
Metamorphics, too 
That's a fossil. The arcs have rocks in them 
Petrified wood
Next door, there was a "greenhouse" that isn't actually fully enclosed nor is glass. It's just open wood slats. But it's full of tropical trees and shrubs.
The back; the front was just as nice 
What you see on entering 
The back from the inside 
Roof slat detail 
Just a plant paradise 
A very green leaf 
Karen, way in the back
We hadn't been inside more than 10 minutes when the park staff came to close it up at 3 PM. Karen could have spent hours in there. Now she wants one (the same size) for the back yard.

At the end of the park is the zoo (a visit for another day) and the Parliment Buildings of Catalunya.
The building 
The nameplate
There's a big pond in the park that's popular with row-boaters and ducks.
More like a cesspool than a pond. 
Ducks like it, though
Near the pond is a huge fountain that was being re-furbished when Karen was here last week, but is now partially water filled -- though it's not fountain-ing. Most fountains here don't appear to fountain. Not sure why.
Ornate. But the water's clear 
Mad horses 
This would be cool with water coming out of it 
This reminded me of that scene from Lord Of The Rings
And like all good parks, there's a statue of a mastodon.
We left the park and sauntered up Avenguida Mediana, which has a tram running up it. Barcelona is not short of public transit options. You've got subways/metros, trams, two different regional train companies, busses, Bici bikes... and I'll write a post about it all at some point. The tram line here is also a green space, which I think is a great use for a tram line.
The tram's WAY down there
We wandered up Mediana, past the architecturally uninteresting L'Auditori concert hall (though it is home to a music museum I'm interested in going back to), past the Teatro Nacional de Catalunya, a Doric-column surrounded glass building trying to look like a parthenon.

A mix of new and very old 
Karen contemplates 
The entryway 
The columns 
Karen still contemplates, all by her lonesome

Just north of here is is the Encants market. In a spiffy new modernistic market space is a gigantic, 3 story outdoor flea market...
A small part of the ground floor 
Another part 
Two floors visible 
Stuff? Anyone want stuff?
...where you can get things like... taps...
There are the "jumble" vendors... 
...and the organized vendors.
Lots of colours
Red IBM selectric 
Real oldie 
Real, real oldie
...motorcycle helmets...
Seems cheap... 
Nice to have multiple stalls selling them, though
...a Werner Music Canada 1982 pressing of a Blue Rodeo 45...
Interestingly, there was no "B"-side -- it was Lost Together on both sides tires and surfboards (seriously. Surfboards. In a market)...
Where do they get these?
...harmonicas and flutes...
A few choices 
Okay, there was only one flute rods...
And they fold!
...electric drills and other hardware...
This guy's Makita; there was a Stilh dealer, too 
Take that, Canadian Tire! 
In your face, Home Hardware!
Well that's creepy 
That one's REALLY creepy
I checked; they all worked. There was an iPhone 3GS with a cracked screen, too
Nicely stacked
...collectible miniature figurines...
Each is about 1.5" tall
Not a huge selection, but still..., both mens and ladies...
White patent leather is always in
A good price; 5 pairs for $15 Canadian
...and record players and new and used clothing and small appliances and locks and hinges and brass stuff and lamps and buttons and fabric (by the role) and new (and old) sewing machines and watches and clocks and jewelry and fragrances and telephones and replica guns and swords and canes and film projectors and cameras (from every year since photography was invented) and chairs and ovens and dishwashers and a Vespa and furniture and DVDs and CDs and VHS tapes and LPs and coins and socks and china and spoons and vacuums and chess sets and scissors and pots and pans and... well, you get the idea.

The market stall are mostly run by Arabs and the market has a reputation of having a lot of "stuff" but not great prices. Perhaps it's just that the Arab guys are better negotiators than the guidebook authors.

Some guys are selling new stuff, some are genuine antique dealers, and others look like they dumpster dive. Entertaining place.

Dominating the horizon in the neighbourhood is the architecturally strange Torre Agbar. Agbar is the Barecelona Water Supply company. Their building is... well... phallic. It's called the "giant suppository" in these parts; it's 144 m tall.
Up close, it's still the same shape 
Now I'm feeling... inadequate 
Looking like a space shuttle fuel tank from here 
Not so bad from below
Interestingly, the building is surrounded by louvered windows that you can only really see up close.
Some open, some closed 
A building within a glass shell 
Many, many louvres that I imagine are a pain to clean 
Next door to the Torre Agbar is the uniquely shaped Museu del Disseny du Barcelona, and it houses a Graphic Design museum. I have to go see that or my daughter will shoot me.
It's the wonky grey building
A metro home and it was cervesa time, with traditional Catalan sausages for dinner. Tomorrow... who knows?  Kinda making this up as we go along.

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