Barcelona doesn't just have the beauty, she's got the brains too. And by brains, I mean Barca's full to the brim with history (which I'm a sucker for). I'm definitely not the kind of traveller who can visit a new city and just chill on the beach for days. Don't get me wrong, beach days are bomb too, but I crave the history and stories that are tied to the places I visit. Drop me off in Barcelona and combine that with the history of Pablo Picasso, the dude I seriously studied in school, and BAM I've got myself a day's worth of awe.
Barcelona's "Museu Picasso" is nestled in the side of a little, narrow, winding cobblestone alleyway deep in the Gothic Quarter. "Little" wouldn't be the word I'd use to describe the museum though. The enormous glass doors that open to a mixture of cobblestone, marble tile, and smooth concrete floors is a spacious and very appropriate place to display my boy, Pablo's work. His art is displayed in both chronological order and in sections of his style phases, like his Blue Period, his famous series based on Las Meninas, or the collection of ceramics donated by his last wife, Jacqueline Picasso.
The sheer awe that came over me just because I was in the physical presence of Picasso's work silenced me. I know I may sound like a Picasso groupie, but when you've studied his work and his life and you're staring at the work that influenced your own, you can't help but be obsessed.
If you're a Picasso groupie too, give yourself 1.5 hours to get through the 4,300 pieces that the museum holds. This should give you enough time to read the giant blurbs at the entrance of each new display, introducing what you're about to feast your eyes upon and to stop and stare at the pieces that catch your eye.
Els Quatre Gats
Els 4Gats is an adorable little cafe/pub/restaurant in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona where artistic geniuses like Gaudi and Picasso used to hang out. In fact in 1899, 17 year old Picasso held his first exhibition here.
When the restaurant first opened in 1897, the founders, Pere Romeu and Miquel Utrillo definitely didn't know how historic and famous their cafe was still going to be 119 years later. They named their restaurant based on the popular Catalan saying "It'll just be you and 4 stray cats" referring to the lack of customers who'd frequent the place. Little did they know.
AND to top it all off, the design Picasso made for their menu is still being used today.
National Museum of Catalan Art
Picasso's famous panting "The Woman with Hat and Fur Coat" from Paris in 1937 is displayed here.
The three friezes on the façade of the Col-legi d'Arquitectes building
Picasso's only open-air public artwork. Don't be fooled though, it's not an original - the Norwegian sculpture, Carl Nesjar, created this interpretation of some of Picasso's original drawings.
Picasso walking tour
And if you haven't had enough with what's listed above, there are also walking tours offered throughout the Gothic Quarter that focus on places relevant to Picasso's life in Barcelona.
And there you go, fellow Picasso groupies, enjoy your Picasso binge!