Sunday, February 26, 2012

Welcome to Barcelona, Park de Montjuic

To catch your attention, this is the MNAC.  The exhibit highlighted is 1,000 years of art.  Wow.

This is Piscines Picornell sports center, home of the 1992 Summer Olympics.  This area is up on a hill, overlooking vast parts of the city.  That said, it's still not that popular of an area it seems.  It's winter.  Apparently there is work going on in the outdoor pool.  The other pool behind where I am standing is not in commission either.  I'm guessing the other pool is some sort of warm up area.  A few features I noticed here, aside from not having water;  The pool is DEEP, compared to what I'm used to.  It has infinity edges to cut waves.  Well, the perspective gives you an idea of what 50 meters looks like.

Although the outdoor pools were shut down, there is also an olympic pool indoors, shown here, with a view to the extraordinary MNAC, or Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya.  The sports center's an impressive center, and is in no way an attraction to tourists.  There is virtually nothing that says 1992 Olympics anywhere.  I was hoping to set a souvenir with the center name or olympic rings or something.  Nada.  They did have a swim shop, and I ended up getting a Catalunya cap, since Barcelona is the center for Catalunyans.  Spain, as I am learning, is comprised of several people, the Catalunyans being one, who would even like to be considered their own nation.

I've got to be careful visiting pools like this, or I won't want to go home.  I would say it's 8 feet deep or so, infinity edges, a ledge to stand on in the water, viewing level below water, and this vantage point is from a cafe overlooking the pool.  Shown, I would guess is around half the length, so maybe 30 lanes or so.  The far side are 2nd story windows of some of the workout rooms, and so on.  Yes, I did actually felt faster in the pool.  I ended up getting 3,000 meters, which felt absolutely great in so many ways.

Jib Jab with Tim
A few things.  As I said, this isn't a major attraction (strange yet fortunate!).  The downside is, there's very little on the web in English on schedules, logistics, etc.  I spent way too much time trying to figure it out, and finally just grabbed suit and goggles, and headed over.  For the next person, here's what I've found so far:

Open: 6:45am to 11:30pm.  
Cost:  About 5 Euros
What to bring: towel, shampoo/soap, lock for locker
Good news:  If you forget any of the above, you can purchase it there during certain times:
Turbo Store in the lobby:  10am - 1:30pm and 5 - 8 pm
Finding it:  This was a little complicated, but let's keep it simple.  Either get directions to the MNAC, and it's right behind it.  Follow the huge communications tower shown.  It's just in front of it.  To it's left is the main Olympic stadium, which I saw only from a distance.  There's other olympic venues around, not sure about the rest.
Metro:  Take the red line to Espana or Espania.  It's a big city circle area, and at the top of the hill you see the massive MNAC, and it's just behind.

The communications tower behind.  To give you perspective, it's about 100+ meters tall.  Really the most interesting communications towers I've ever seen.  The pool center is that on the right.  I know.  It doesn't look like much from this angle.

Sorry about the awkward angle!  Here's the only Olympic anything I saw.  The torch bearer and pedestal is about 20 feet tall, but sort of hidden along a path.

 This museum is absolutely huge, and a hint of my next post.  Suffice it to say, it's worth a visit.

Why Barcelona you ask?  It's where Mobile World Congress is hosted.  Some 50,000 - 60,000 attendees.

Sometimes it's hard to show size in photos.  This a a great example.  These two towers are about 5-6 stories tall.  In the extreme right lower corner you see the MNAC, a picture of it in the red access sign.

Last highlight for tonight.  Seems like a nothing picture.  Look again.  Two guys, headphones, video games.  Nice lamb cap on one, haircut on the other.  Elder women sitting next to them.  Photographer in the reflection.  This is the Metro.  Runs like clockwork.  Super efficient, very inexpensive.  Okay, final note.  Guy on left has tats on his hands.  See?  Love Hope across his knuckles.


  1. Yes, I did especially like the people on the train shot, and yes, I did notice the cute fella in the reflection.