Platja de Castelldefels

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Watching a window watcher

The other day I headed a bit further afield via the wonderful train system and stepped off the platform at the one and only Castelldefells.

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Fortunately, I managed to pick a sunny day to go out exploring a beach area, except the walk from the train station to Platja de Castelldefels got a little warm.

If you have a scooter, bike or any other means of transport, I’d recommend using it in this case (or walk slow!)

Once at the beach, I just walked around a little bit, took in the sun, watched people play, saw dogs run, and took shots.

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Platja de Castelldefels – Tranquillity at its best

It’s great to explore the area you’re in, but sometimes you just need to go out further and see something different. Castelldefels is only about 20 minutes on the train and yet feels like a whole new place, despite still being classified as Barcelona.

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Another planet

Even though there’s good chunks of beach near where I’m living, experiencing the same concept elsewhere helps to bring a renewed sense of energy.

It’s like a four hour holiday because you break entirely from your current life’s location.

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The path ahead

Plaza España – Plaça España

I like waking up early in the mornings, not because it makes me more productive, but because it allows me to take my time to get things done. When this comes to work, it’s not such a good thing, I work a lot better under pressure.

However, when it comes to exploring (which I hope will be my full time job one day) the scenic routes always require a lot of time, there’s just only so fast you can walk before it becomes running, then things just get way out of hand.

In my last travel category post, I wrote about Palau Nacional but I didnt’ mention where I went on my way over there because it deserves its own spotlight. My early morning walking allowed me to stop by Parc de Joan Miró which is known for housing the 22m high sculpture known as Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird).

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Dona I Ocell in amongst a construction site

The structure was designed by Miró but the colourful tiles on the outside was the responsibility of Joan Gardy Artigas and was created as a means of welcoming visitors to Barcelona via land. It was a part of a trilogy of sculptures for land, sky and sea with this one being the last.

This isn’t the only thing to do there though, there’s a park (clue’s in the name), a few ping pong tables, a playground and palm trees which should meet the minimum requirements for having fun outside.

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Heading into Parc de Joan Miró

Moving on from there, I stopped every two minutes to take a shot down towards the Plaza and then turned around and took one of the palace, back and forth. There’s just a whole lot in one area.

Here’s what I could have seen on the way to Palau Nacional, if I hadn’t stopped, in about 15 minutes of walking:

  • Palau Nacional
  • Plaza Espanya
  • Parc de Joan Miró – Dona i Ocell
  • Arenas de Barcelona – The Old Bull Ring and now shopping mall
  • Torres Venecianes (The Two Towers)
  • Font Mágica de Monjuic (Magic Fountain)

As sightseeing goes, Barcelona makes it pretty easy to do!

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

So, if you read my first post, you’ll know that I want to share my explorations with anyone showing interest and if you follow me on Instagram @wulf.willis you’ll see I’ve been doing that for a while now.

However, what you might not know is that I spend a lot of time (more than necessary) looking at everyone else’s posts in the search for the next great place to visit, and this time, Palau Nacional (Catalan for National Palace) was put on my radar.

I kept on seeing posts of Plaza Espanya and panoramas of the city from someplace high (which is usually where they are shot from) and after a consistent barrage of visual stimulus, I took to the only place I could… Google.

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View from the roof

Searching high and low, I finally found it and all I needed to do next, was get there.

Palau Nacional you say?  But that’s not the title….

I didn’t know at the time that the palace was now an art museum, and has been since 1934 which was actually quite a pleasant surprise, despite having to pay 12 euros to get in…

Getting to this place is easy enough as you can just head to Plaza Espanya by taking either the L1 or L3 Metro line. Then once you’re there, walk between the two large pillars (known as the Venetian Towers), which you can’t miss, and keep walking straight.

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The Venetian Towers – Walked from there towards where the photo was taken from

On the way up, they’ve kindly installed escalators so you don’t have to worry about hundreds of steps, though there are still a few hills worth of walking up.

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Why walk when you can just stand and wait?

Once you get right in front of the entrance, there’s endless views, greenery, statues and much more. Even if you don’t set foot inside the museum, you’ll find yourself more than content with the sights and with a cafe located half way up and at the top, you won’t be too concerned if you forget to bring your lunch.

If however, you decide to pay up and make your way into the museum, there isn’t always the same exhibitions on, so head to the site here and see what’s happening the day you arrive. I was fortunate enough to see Picasso’s work as well as many other pieces of art including furniture, sculptures and propaganda (from wartimes). One of my favourite pieces was a sculpture of two arms labelled right arm and left arm, the simplicity was amusing and impressive.

All in all, this place is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in Barcelona, and even if you don’t want to actually view the art exhibitions, you can still head to the roof and see the view whilst dining in the restaurant.

Enough about me, here’s a few more shots from my adventure.

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The roof
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Inside views
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Great spot for a self-portrait

 

 

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