Barcelona Day 2: Montjuïc National Palace, Joan Miro Foundation, Picasso Museum, Dinner at Peix Vela

Surprisingly, I woke up quite early today at around 6am and had a difficulty going back to sleep, which perhaps is driven by the excitement of exploring a new city overcoming my physical tiredness. I put on my shorts and shoes, and grab my camera on the way out silently as my girlfriend was still very deep in her sleep.

There is little question on which direction I’m heading – east to the beach – to survey for my drone flight planned the next morning. I walked through Via Laietana street and passed La Cara de Barcelona sculpture before turning right and had a slow morning walk alongside the Ronda Litoral as the sun started to rise from the left side of my body.

Once the sun rose high enough and the buildings were lit in its golden color, I headed back towards my hotel in search of a good breakfast spot while waiting for my girlfriend to wake up. Luckily, across my hotel (Suizo Hotel Barcelona), there is a large café named Cappukccino that opens at 7am. I tried to wait in front of the counter to have my order taken, only to be told to take a seat and wait for the waitress to come to my table. Unlike in North American café, where we have to stand and buy our meal first and then find a seat, in Spain customers are treated like a King. I could really enjoy this, I thought.

Interior of Cappukccino, Barcelona

The café is situated on the corner of a busy street and has large glass doors that make it easy to watch the street scene. While eating my croissant and café con leche, I read half edition of my weekly The Economist magazine and had an hour video call with my parents.

My Morning Breakfast at Cappukccino, Barcelona

We divided Barcelona into several different district to visit in our plan and today our goal is to explore the Montjuïc mountain and the beach. We took a metro from the station in front of our hotel, Jaume I, to Espanya, and then we walked further uphill to Montjuïc National Palace, which also houses Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.

There is a large fountain on the downhill and the right side of it is Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, a German Pavilion designed for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. The fee for visiting the site is €8, which I think is quite expensive for such a small exposition. But there, I found a new quote that I like, “I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good”.

Interior of Mies Van der Rohe Pavilion
On the way to Montjuïc National Palace

There are several escalators to go uphill from the fountain level, and we later learned that car access to the top is also available. Since I’m not particularly interested in going inside the art museum, I waited on a long bench on the porch of the National Palace while enjoying a live music and the cityscape. Alongside the local musician with his guitar, there were also 3-4 African immigrants selling their wares on top of a large white clothe. During the hour or so I was sitting there, I watched three times the game of cat-and-mouse being played between them and the police patrolling the area. Whenever a police car is near, the farthest scout would let others know so that they could wrap up their goods and leave the premise, only to be back few minutes after. A hardworking bunch, I thought to myself.

The Sideview of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Barcelona Cityscape Taken from MNAC

It took about 15 minutes from the National Palace to our next destination, Joan Miro Foundation, where we spent a good one and a half hour observing paintings and sculpture of the celebrated artist. Perhaps because it was Sunday, there were some crowds in the museum, many of the locals.

Joan Miro Foundation, Barcelona
Barcelona Cityscape from Joan Miro Foundation

To go back to the city we took the metro from a station located next to the mountain’s gondola station. It was 3pm when we were back in the city center (Liceu metro station) that I had a painful sensation on my lower right abdomen that is probably due to the combination of long walk, the heat, and irregular eating time, so we looked for a restaurant nearby and had a quick pasta lunch before heading back to the hotel.

Barcelona in the Summertime

My condition improved quickly following the meal that by the time we were in the hotel room I was completely alright, hence our decision to move ahead with our schedule to the Picasso museum. The museum is in one of the small alleys nearby Jaume I metro station. The medieval mansions house extensive collection of Spanish cubist’s works & masterpieces, taking us slightly over one hour to tour the complex.

Picasso Museum

The air of Barcelona in the Summer was humid, and it is almost impossible to not sweat walking around the city. However, the small alleys across the city means it is easy to find shaded area on the walkaway, unless you are walking alongside the beach. Our dinner, booked before our trip, was at Peix Vela, a fancy restaurant under the management of W Hotel located at the very end of the strip.

Barceloneta Beach

The beach in Barcelona is full of crowds and the pedestrian road nearby was packed by youngsters skateboarding and rollerblading in both directions. It is not exactly the type of beach where one could read and enjoy a cold drink in peace, given the noise level. Nevertheless, the beach area offers its own vibrant sports and other community activities.

Seafood Paella at Peix Vela

Our meal at a Peix Vela was a decent one. We opened a bottle of white wine to pair with the seafood paella – my new favorite food – and had a slow meal while waiting for the sunset. We took a walk after the meal and headed back to the hotel, knowing that we want to catch the sunrise in the morning.

About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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