As you already know from my first post, I spent two amazing weeks in Barcelona last year. I ate the best food, met the greatest people, and toured some of the most amazing museums and cultural sites.
I guess I should mention that when we first arrived, Conxa, our host/lecturer/leader was ill and of course since my immune system sucks I got sick quickly after. It was just a head cold but a head cold combined with being in a foreign county, trying to get to places you have never been before (well I had been to some of them back when we went to Spain in high school) with people you don’t know kind of made things worse. I would wake up early in the morning just to sit in the steam in the bathroom to help loosen up my head enough to get ready for the day.
So I left off explain our first day so I guess I should start this post with our second day. We spent the entire day at the MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia). The morning was spent in lecture, then we got a break to have lunch and explore the museum, and the day ended in lecture. These lectures were designed to explain our final projects which were centered around content and digital strategy i.e. how to best set your institution up in the online world with the right content. While this day was a little heavy on the lecturing it was still fun to visit the galleries in the museum and to get to know my fellow classmates.
Day 3 was our first visit to an institution outside the MNAC though located on the same hill, the Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miro Fundation). A lot of different artists have their own foundations/museums to show off their work and the work of similar artist. Each of these visits began with a visit with someone from the institution. They would talk to us about how their institution worked, the struggles and highlights, and other museum things that the average person would find boring. We were allowed to ask questions but thanks to my stupid social anxiety and reserved self, I rarely did which hurt my participation overall. Can I just say right here that I find participation points stupid? Because I do. Just because I don’t ask questions or interrupt someone or speak at all doesn’t mean I’m not listening and absorbing all of the information. Anyway, after our visit we were allowed to tour the Miro Foundation aided by an audio guide. I love audio guides, they don’t force you to ask questions. After that the afternoon was ours to research for our projects. I think this was the first night I hung out with the other people from our group though I may be wrong. We walked to the El Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) just to take pictures outside, saw Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, went shopping, and had The Good Burger for dinner. The Four Cats is a cafe that was a popular meeting place for artists throughout the modern art period.
Maybe know would be a good time to talk about our projects for this course. There were two options like I mentioned before, one was a group project (another academic thing I hate) centered around content strategy and the other was to contribute to a Wikipedia project that was ongoing. I went for the Wikipedia project which came with a list of articles already created by the institution of works and artists they wanted to highlight. Some of these articles were done by previous seminar attendees, some just had little blurbs copied and pasted from the museum’s websites and others had nothing at all. I started out choosing one that had nothing at all but ended up falling in love with one that only had a website blurb, Terraced Village by Joaquim Mir. He was an impressionist painter who loved color. I ended up redoing the entire page and only using one or two sentences from what was originally there and I think it turned out great. You can view it here, not many changes have been made since the article went live.
Day 4, we were scheduled to see the Museu Picasso (Picasso Museum) and the MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art. This was the day I got lost trying to get the Picasso Museum. My cab driver dropped my off two blocks away and pointed in the general direction of the museum and left. I had been to the museum before but it was a long time ago and of course I didn’t remember where it was. The lecture started without me but I had to walk in late which killed my anxiety. After the lecture/visit portion, we toured the museum which had to be a rushed visit since we were due at the MACBA pretty quickly after that. We walked over to the MACBA and got to see some really neat local culture along the way. When we got to the MACBA we had another visit/lecture and were given a behind the scenes tour of the institutions storage.The day ended back at the MNAC for another lecture.
Day 5 was a throw back moment for me. We spent the entire morning at La Sagrada Familia, a giant church designed by Gaudi that has been under construction since 1882. We visited here when I first came to Spain all those years ago in high school and I remembered it more than any other part of the trip, how can you forget that beautiful stained glass. A lot of work had been done since my last visit and the plan is that construction will be completely finished by 2026. That afternoon everyone went their own way. I went off with my new friend Kim (Hi Kim!) to have one of the best burgers I have ever had in my life then the longest walk I’ve ever had in my life to get back to the MNAC to research my project.
The next two days were Saturday and Sunday, which we were given as free days. Since I was sick, I spent most of Saturday on the couch and only ventured out to get groceries. Sunday, I forced myself to get up, take some cold medicine and see Barcelona. I walked to the Arc de Triomf (not to be confused with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris) and all through the Parc de la Ciutadella. I saw the Cascada Monumental, the Parliament of Catalonia, the Mamut statue, and took a walk through the winding streets of Gothic Quarter. I ended up on La Rambla and had lunch by myself at a small Tapas place. It was kind of exhilarating walking through the streets of a city I didn’t know and see the amazing things I wouldn’t have gotten to see otherwise.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about my second week in Spain and the absolute horrible time I had just trying to get home!