Monday, September 3, 2012

Barcelona's Street Art, El Ingenio and The Magic Fountain

Last Day in BCN

After 2 solid weeks of warm sunny days, it was startling to open the shutters to a sky filled with rain bearing grey clouds. What it really meant was that our last day in Barcelona would be delightfully cool and refreshing.

So we revised the agenda of our last day deciding against an exploration of Montjuc. Instead, we  decided to skip breakfast, pack our suitcases, and research TripAdvisor for a restaurant to eat lunch. We selected a highly rated small cafe in the L'eixample called Romero.

I had the plat de dia. It started with a wonderful tomato watermelon gazpacho. That was followed by my entree - baked brined sea bass over rice noodles. It was accompanied by a local beer. Desert was soft cheese drizzled with honey. Simple, lovely, and a true bargain at 11E.

Sated, we set out to tour the Museum of Catalunya and meander a bit more in the Bari Gotic. We needed to find gifts for friends and I wanted to photograph some Barcelona street art. 

Ahh, street art. In Barcelona and Lisbon there was an abundance of it. Some was even pretty good. Much of the street art in Barcelona is paper paste-ups (where they make templates on paper backers.) In most places fines are less for paste-up paper than vandalism fines for spray paint. 

I should state that tags and street art is vandalism and it is wrong. Personally, I'd rather live in a world where walls are clean and art is appreciated in museums. In Phoenix I devote one Saturday a month to removing tags. 

But (similar to most large European cities) in Lisbon and Barcelona street art is everywhere. Sadly, it has gone way beyond the point where anyone can control it. And, whether I like it or not, I have to admit some street art is pretty interesting and demonstrates real (albeit misdirected) talent.

Hands Down My Favorite Paste-up

More Paste Ups

Hallucinogens Had to Be Involved

This One Was Direct paint and Huge 
(Part of a Pair of Garage Doors) 

The Other Half

I'm Always Intrigued By Stencils

Sometimes They Come Across A Bit Creepy

Another Favorite
Assumed to be a Commissioned Piece

Here are a couple of the examples we saw in Lisbon. In Lisbon much of the art had political overtones tangibly reflecting the tension of a nation currently suffering from unemployment rates over 20% (and youth unemployment rates closer to 50%.)

Near Belem

At Lisbon's Funicular 

Along the way today we came across El Ingenio, this is the store in Barcelona where for decades they have made and sold elaborate masks and a full range of circus supplies. It was fascinating to see all of the unicycles and specialized supplies available to professional circus performers, jugglers and clowns.  

El Ingenio
(A Barcelona Institution - Reportedly a Haunt of Salvador Dali)

We finished our the day with a trip to Plaza Espanya for the nightly presentation at the Magic Fountain. A souvenir of Barcelona's 1929 World's Exposition, this fountain is actually a series of fountains that extend nearly a quarter mile from Montjuc to Plaza Espanya. Year round it is illuminated and choreographed to music on select evenings. 

It was wonderful but go early - even on a rainy summer night it drew thousands.

The Fountains Start One By One 

Then The Main Fountain Begins

Accompanied By Music

A magic fountain seemed like a perfect way to say goodbye to a magic city. 

A bit of my heart will always remain in beautiful Barcelona.

Roadboy's Travels © 2012

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