The Barcelona That Tourists Never See, Part I

Well, it appears that I’ve been sort of absent for quite a bit of time now. But that is because we have been busy travelling around. You know, it’s summertime, everyone’s on vacation.

So I expect that at this time of the year, lots of blogspots pop out with all sorts of travel tidbits and enviable descriptions of the most exciting holidays you can imagine. Postcard-perfect photos of exotic beaches in the Caribbean (or in the Seychelles, or in the south Pacific), cultural tours around venerable European capitals.

So I’m just going to pile on yet another such post to the list of travel posts popping up lately on blogspots around the world. But well, I’ll try and give it a twist. So I won’t be putting up the same old photos of the same old tourist sites that you can dig up in about a thousand travel guides already or find dotted around all over the internet.

Instead, I’ll try and put up photos of places that tourists won’t see and will never go to.

So here is the first such post (more coming up later I hope teehee!):

“The Barcelona That Tourists Never See, Part I.”

Our trip to Barcelona was fairly long, over a week. I lived in Barcelona for 6 years, so running around the typical tourist mill wasn’t really on our agenda.

Instead, I took the kids to see the places where they spent their earliest childhood years and sent them back on a nostalgic stroll through memory lane. My son re-visited his old pre-school. He said it looked a lot smaller than he remembered it!

These stained glass windows are perched on a fairly normal family home on a fairly normal street. You don’t need to be the proud proprietor of an architectural wonder in order to display something so beautiful and offer your family the possibility of enjoying such a delightful sight every day.

I wanted to take the kids to the countryside where they used to collect snails (after my son got over a major snail-slug-ant-and-every-other-bug-with-more-than-2-legs phobia), but surprise of surprises, we got thugged on the head by a freak summer storm (aka hurricane, cyclone, monsoon maybe?) that lasted for several hours. We took refuge at the local suburban train station:

Well, you can’t really make out the rain too much here, but then again it also wasn’t pouring cats and dogs yet. We thought the worst was about to pass. Well we could think again, the worst hadn’t even arrived yet at the time of this photo. But since I had no intention of spending an entire, precious day cooped up in a tiny little rural train station (quaint as that might sound), in the end I plunked a plastic bag over my youngest son’s head and we set off. My son felt a little ridiculous though, as he sort of looked like a walking white shopping bag.

So, what my kids remember most about their childhood home now is the lowly but spectacular train station.

This storm turned out to be of such a magnitude that apparently many localities got flooded and it made big headlines on the national news. We even got friends and acquaintances calling us up to find out if we were okay, or if by some chance a tidal wave had swept us all out to sea.

So, what does this photo have to do with The Barcelona That Tourists Never See? Well not much, actually, it’s just a lamp that’s hanging on the ceiling of a friend’s favourite dug-out.

But I can assure you that tourists never see it.

So, so much for our journey down memory lane.

However, there is so much more to do and so much more to see in Barcelona, that we weren’t put off by a little bit of unexpected climatic conditions.

The Palau Nacional de Montjuïc or National Palace of Montjuic. Well I said I wasn’t going to stick anything touristy onto this post, but this is such a beautiful location, the Plaza de España in the centre of Barcelona. Besides which I’ve been surfing around a bit on the net and no one else has made quite exactly the same photo of this monument.

No, actually, other people have uploaded much more beautiful, professional, slick photos of this monument onto the internet.

This palace sports a gigantic and stunning water fountain (called Fonts Màgiques or Magic Fountains), which nonetheless doesn’t show up here on this blog, because when we were there the fountains were dry and barren.

However, when the fountains are running, they are the centre of a most exquisite and magnificent light-and-music show, where the enormous sprays of water are displayed in all their glory reflecting a choreography of coloured spotlights that dance around in harmony following the melody of a musical soundtrack.

If you ever get the chance to pass through Barcelona just when they happen to be putting on one of these shows, I thoroughly recommend that you check it out. It’s free, and the show lasts for quite some time.

The only problem you might have is if you go there with a baby (like I did), and your baby is the crying, plaintive type, and gets bored and restless real easy.

The columns of the Palau Nacional at sunrise.

Barcelona likes to flaunt imitations of famous international landmarks. So here is Barcelona’s version of Venice’s Piazza San Marco:

Next week, I shall regale you with yet another monument wanna-be.

Well, The Barcelona That Tourists Never See, Part II should be coming up. In the meantime I’ll end this post with a couple of intriguing pics, of places tourists never gape over:

And in the next post I’ll reveal, what in the world exactly is that anyways? And where is it? (Hint: it’s sticking out of water. It’s just that the water is so murky it doesn’t look like water.)








If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Marbella, Land of the Jet Set?

Torre del Mar Curiosities

On Christmas Day in the Morning


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