On my last visit to Barcelona, it was all Gaudí. On this one, I’ve stretched out beyond those attractions to take in a few things from well before Gaudí’s time.
Istockalypse has been and gone. I have a mountain of photos to go through now, which is daunting given I missed out on the boat cruise completely, and some of the other sessions were a dead loss for me because I didn’t get any (or many) shots worth uploading.
I won’t get a chance to process the images any time soon however, as tomorrow I’m going to drive back to Madrid. On the first trip across to Barcelona, I decided there were too many interesting places to see and photograph along the way to see it all flash by from a train for the second time. So, I decided to catch a few things I missed, namely the area in the hills above Barcelona, the area between Barcelona and Zaragoza, and Zaragoza itself, and as such have hired a car for two days to go at my own pace.
Today I visited the fortress of Montjüic, which sits above the former site of the Olympic Games and looks out over the Barcelona docks (not the best view), as well as down across central Barcelona and the beach. You enter the fortress via an old drawbridge that spans a (now dry) moat, and then walk up into the castle via one of two paved tunnels that at one time, must have spewed cavalry and infantry out onto the slopes of the mountain to fend off advancing forces.
The old fortress is well preserved and you can easily imagine great battles and sieges taking place here over the centuries. Time wasn’t on my side however, and with daylight hours (and therefore opening times) fading fast, I didn’t get the opportunity to take a look in the central area—being on a 2:1 currency exchange makes one very attentive to getting value for money for paid admission.
The outer walls of the fortress are several metres thick; and on the top, narrow corridors lead down to the parapets where in the days the place was used for it’s intended purpose, archers or other soldiers would’ve huddled in groups to rain some kind of misery onto those below. At each corner a lookout tower is cantilevered over the old moat. Each has a 270º view, and I’m guessing that them hanging over the moat, and being down a long narrow passage, must have convinced some visitors that these were some kind of medieval out-house.
From Montjüic, you can see Tibidabo, the place with a name so intriguing you have to hear it twice (or more). It’s visible from pretty much anywhere in Barcelona due to the intriguing silhouette of the basilica that sits on the summit, and the massive telecommunications tower nearby. I plan to visit the place tomorrow on my way out of Barcelona.