Artistic Genius in Barcelona

Artistic Genius in Barcelona

May 2018 – Music and Markets Barcelona Tour
Barcelona, Spain

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Why not join us on our newest tour in September – Bordeaux and Dordogne

Montjuic rises near the sea, crowned with a fort, several sites for the 1992 Summer Olympics, and parks and museums, the most popular one filled with Joan Miró’s work….which was the impetus for our Barcelona Tour when in 2012 there was a special Miró exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. At the suggestion of the former Director of Music at the gallery, we put together a week full of art and music for a new Music and Markets tour – and liked it so much that we’ve continued to offer it!
Tracing Miró’s work from beginning to end, Fondation Miró is an open, airy, and well-designed space, welcoming individuals and groups of all ages. There have always been young school children there when we’ve visited, and it’s delightful to watch them discover the secrets and lessons within these colorful works with the help of an engaging young docent.
We soar through the air to our next destination, Barceloneta on the beach. After a stroll along the sand, taking in art installations both permanent and transitory, we find our reserved table at Can Majo to enjoy some fabulous seafood – this chef is a genius of taste and presentation too! It’s not far back to the hotel, and we all enjoy the walk after our deliciously filling meal.
More artistry awaits us beside a peaceful cloister in the chapel of Santa Anna in the Barri Gotic at an evening concert –Ksenia Axelroud and Joan Benejam, the Barcelona Duo de Guitarra. Spanish melodies of Albéniz, Granados and Soler fill the intimate space, before a rousing finale from Bizet’s Carmen.
Stopping for tapas at a couple of places on the way back to the hotel, we enjoy a final stroll through the Born, with Santa Maria del Mar’s belltower lighting our way.

Barcelona Bites

Barcelona Bites

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer – join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast in July?

Waking up to another beautiful day, and on the hunt for breakfast…in the Sunday morning quiet of the Barri Goti (Gothic Quarter). 05101501 barri gotic breakfastOn our first Music and Markets Tour here (2016 dates will be similar), one of our clients and I wanted the same thing I want for breakfast – churros y chocolate – and found an excellent sample on Banys Nous street (which happens to be home to several chocolate shops). I love the old ceramic signs in this quarter – here are those who gathered at the baths on this street long ago.05101501 choc lane banys nous kirk patientMy wonderful patient husband smiles as I peer into café after café, a picture in my mind of the place and the churros (xurros here in Catalonia) I want…and La Granja, here since 1872, cozy and fragrant, fits the bill. We sit in the rear near the Roman Wall incorporated into the shop05101501 la granja since 1872 roman wall

and soon my crispy treats and super thick dark chocolate arrive – oh yes, they’re as good as they look! 05101501 mothers day breakfastWhat a pleasure it is just to stroll, unrushed, no agenda,  through pretty plazas, 05101501 sightsby quirky shops (umbrellas, anyone?), 05101501 umbrellas on ramblas and down the Ramblas to the flower vendors.05101501 usually avoid ramblas but flores worth a lookIt’s still early enough that the usually raucous Ramblas is calm, and we can gaze up at the lovely façades. 05101502 facades no gaudi this timeBoth here and in the Born quarter, where we’re staying, we’ve seen sheets and banners hung from balconies begging for quiet – “Please, we need to sleep!”. 05101502 facades please let us sleepHere’s my street – Santa Anna! 05101502 my streetAnd a little further down, Carrer Comtal, where each shop boasts a cute ceramic sign  – a dress shop,05101502 signs on comtal 1a cheesemonger, 05101502 signs on comtal cheesemongera cobbler,05101502 signs on comtal cobblera clock repairman. 05101502 signs on comtal clock repairCharming, no?
And now back to the beach. 05101502 w on the beachDon’t you just LOVE Barcelona? From the gothic quarter to the artsy Born to the golden sands of the beach in just minutes! And then there are the Gaudi masterpieces a little further into town, the Miro museum on Montjuic hill, several more museums, magnificent concert halls, innumerable fantastic restaurants…Barcelona’s got it all!
We passed lots of beachside restaurants on our walk to the Olympic Port last night, and now we want to stay right here in Barceloneta, so request a table at Cavamar. As we begin to stroll away the waitress asks us to wait right here – and brings a couple of chairs under an awning. We have to stay until our table’s ready or she can’t hold it. No problem, there’s plenty to look at as we relax in the shade!
What do we order? Some more fresh-from-the-sea deliciousness….and first come the utensils,05101503 a first the toolsthen a fabulous platter for two, which keeps us busy for an hour or more. What a treat!05101503 barceloneta feast for two at cavamarWe walk it off, heading down the beach with the crowds, the Gehry sculpture gleaming coppery in the sunlight. 05101503 crowds walking copper shows better in dayThen back through Barceloneta, where the seafood in front of this restaurant could scare off the kids!05101503 scary seafoodIt must be siesta time, the plazas are quiet – here, Sant Felip Neri basks in the sun, 05101504 felipe neri peaceful nowits peaceful mien belying the terror of the Fascist bomb blast in the Spanish Civil War. 05101504 felipe neri remnants of war remain Pockmarked stones bear evidence of its violent past.
History surrounds us in this marvelous city.
Early Monday morning we board the Aerobus, not far from La Monumental bullring,05101505 early walk to aerobus by old bullringrepurposed into a mall since bullfighting has been banned in Catalonia since 2012.
A gorgeous sunrise,05101505 sunrise goodbye to bcn and we fly away east for our Prague Spring Tour!


Miró Musings and Lunch at the Beach

Miró Musings and Lunch at the Beach

Spring in Spain – – Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interested in a Music and
Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour in Provence or our featured (and expanded!) 2012 Amsterdam/Belgium tour!

The Miró Exhibition that inspired this tour, Joan Miró and the Ladder of Escape, is at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC until August 12… well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Miró wanted his native Barcelona to have his own collection of art, and in 1972 asked his friend Josep Llluis Sert to design its home, the Fundació Miró, atop Montjuic Hill. The airy white space is a perfect backdrop for Miro’s work, which expresses his own colorful and playful language in sculpture, painting, textiles works and drawings.

Laia, our guide, translates his idiom for us, pointing out the changes in his work, especially visible in the civil war and repressed Franco years.

We enjoy watching the engagement of young schoolchildren, who easily respond to the bright colors and quirky squiggles and shapes of the art and the enthusiastic explanations of the guide.

Both inside

and out Miró’s creations fascinate and intrigue.

It’s a gorgeous day for an aerial swoop across the bay to the beaches of Barceloneta.

From the Montjuic Aerie we watch a crew training far below,

and bright swathes of fishing nets drying in the sun.

Down the tower elevator, and we’re soon walking along the beach,

past a relaxed (!) Homer,

to Can Majó, for some of the best seafood in Barcelona.

We begin with a few nibbles – olives, pa amb tomaquet (toasted bread rubbed with tomato and garlic – yum!), and some of my favorite fried artichokes.

Oh – have to try some razor clams too

with some icy Sangria to wash it all down.

But be sure to leave room for the house specialty, Fideua – Barcelona’s answer to paella.
Can Majó is another of our don’t miss Barcelona favorites – such delicious food in such a relaxing and beautiful place!