After leaving the Museum of Barcelona History, I consulted my handy-dandy map to find a place where I should explore next. I don’t really remember what my decision process was when I decided to make the trip towards Montjuïc, but that was where I was headed.
Montjuïc translates to something along the lines of “Jewish Mountain” in Catalan. It is a hill that overlooks the city and contains quite a few leftovers from past mega-events. There is a bit of a climb from the Plaça d’Espanya station, but there are actually some escalators installed to help you make your way up to the Palau Nacional.
As you get closer to the building, you pass by a large fountain known as La Font Màgica, or the Magic Fountain. The fountain, designed by Carles Buïgas, was created for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and still plays an illuminated water show on certain nights depending on when you visit. You can find a list of dates and times here.
Here’s a video that I found on YouTube of the fountain going off to Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé’s song, “Barcelona”:
The Palau Nacional served as the main site of the 1929 World Fair and has since been converted to the home of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), or the National Art Museum of Catalonia. The museum, as its name suggests, houses various examples of Catalan art and is also free on the first Sunday of each month. Unfortunately, I was there a few minutes before it closed, so I didn’t get to go inside. It was still worth the climb to see the great views.
Even further up the hill is the Olympic Stadium, which was the main site for the 1992 Summer Olympics. Barcelona is often referenced as a city that saw incredible positive changes happen as a result of hosting the games. The stadium was actually built in 1927 and was part of an earlier Olympic bid for the 1936 Summer Olympics that ultimately went to Berlin. You can freely enter and catch a glimpse of the field (when there aren’t any sporting or music events happening, obviously).
The Olympic torch is still there, though the fire has been extinguished for a while now.
Nearby is the Olympic and Sports Museum, which would have been really interesting to visit, but it was already closed when I stopped by.
Also nearby, on the other side of the stadium from the museum, is the strange-looking Torre Calatrava. I thought it was just a weird sculpture, but it is actually a telecommunication tower that was used to transmit television coverage from the 1992 Olympics.
On the way back down from the hill, I bought a bocadillo (aka a sandwich) and made my way back to the metro station. I didn’t realize until afterwards that the camera on my phone ended up with some weird filter and you can already tell that it was on in the previous picture of the Torre Calatrava.
Anyway, I headed back to the my hostel to take a break. My day wasn’t over yet!