Last weekend, we explored another part of the city. Plaça Espanya is home to Scott’s favorite place so far—an arena built in the late 19th century that was originally used for bull fighting. The Catalonian region did not like bullfighting because of the harm to the animals, so the arena (which is reminiscent of the coliseum) sat empty for years. In order to repurpose the building and conserve the historic red brick structure, they added supports (see below) which included lifting the entire piece off of the ground and (making it a whole story taller)!!
Three years ago, it opened as a mall with a movie theater, restaurants, and stores. They even house exhibits on the top floor, so this weekend Scott and I toured the Bodies traveling exhibit (also fascinating). The 360-degree views from the rooftop are impressive too.
The Olympics that were held in Barcelona in 1992. We have heard that this single event had a significant impact on the city and changed the way it was viewed internationally. Locals attribute hosting the Olympics to the awareness of people to visit. Today, tourism is a huge industry. Barcelona is the second most visited place in Spain.
The Olympic Park was amazing. Sitting on the top of the hill at Montjuic Park, the Olympic park has great views of the city and the sea. We went into the track and field arena, which was designed like a historic building from the outside—gorgeous architecture. The architects did an incredible job of creating comfortable outdoor spaces. With plentiful fountains, green space, and covered areas with high ceilings and semi-circular concrete benches, we could only imagine how perfectly the space housed thousands of people. Without all of the other people though, I felt small in the expansive space. It was like we were at a park for giants, which in some ways we were.
We meandered up, down, and around that area of town. And, our day ended wonderfully with homemade gluten free bagels—thanks to Anna!