One of the things I love about blogging competitions is that they often provide a great opportunity to fantasise about your dream trip, which is exactly what appealed to me about the 5BarcelonaPoints contest from travel site Barcelona Point. The idea is to create a piece of writing about one of five points – Guadi, Museums, Music, Gastronomy or Trends – focusing on either an experience related to that point, an alternative route in the point, or a story you imagine when you think about the point. All you have to do is write a blog post and post the URL on their Facebook page by 31st May to be in with a chance of winning luxury accommodation and tickets to key sites – how easy is that?
Since I love a quirky museum or two (like the Sex Museum I visited in Amsterdam recently), I thought I would create a little ‘off the beaten path’ pathway through Barcelona for my boyfriend and I, that takes in some of the city’s most interesting museums.
After a morning at the beach, we’ll head over to the Museu Blau to hide from the midday sun in it’s cool, dark interior. A huge, blue-grey triangular building in the Plaza Leonardo da Vinci, this impressive take on a natural history museum has the wow factor from the start, with the complete skeleton of a whale presiding over the entrance. The fascinating world of taxidermy awaits us inside, with spookily spot-lit stuffed animals grinning at us from the darkness. One of the star attractions of this relatively new museum is a lake surrounded by vegetation, where botanical and microbiology workshops are held – in the interests of cooling down, I will most definitely be getting as hands-on as possible.
After that, it’s a leisurely walk across the city – stopping at least twice for all important gelato breaks – to that central hub of quirky tourist attractions in Barcelona, Las Ramblas. I’ve got my eye on a few of the sites around there, but first we’ll stop off at Museu de la Musica, just past the Placa de las Glories Catalanes, to browse the dusty old collection of antique and extraordinary instruments. And of course, as a play-time enthusiast I’ll be all over any “hands-on” exhibits the museum has to offer. Who knows, maybe I’ll uncover a natural talent for the kazoo?
From the music museum, it’s just a walk in the park – the Parc de la Ciutadella to be exact – to get to the next stop. My extraordinary sweet tooth will probably sniff out the Museu de la Xocolata long before I’ve seen it: once I’m through the door I’m pretty sure it will explode from excitement! A whole museum dedicated to my favourite food group, with incredible chocolate sculptures, and hopefully some delicious tasters. I’ll scope the place out for its security measures, just in case I decide to return later and pull off a Hustle style heist to make off with the museum’s treasures.
If Sam can tear me away, then we’ll head for the marina near Las Ramblas where our next two stops are waiting. First, the Hemp Museum Gallery, located in a very pretty restored 16th century palace, which is packed with an astonishing collection of cannabis related memorabilia collected by founder Ben Dronkers over more than 40 years! It’s not all ornate bongs and drug-fuelled paintings, either; there plenty of other uses for Hemp which are covered across the museum’s rooms, from rope, clothes and shoes to medication and ‘ye olde’ remedies. Maybe we’ll pick up a cannabis-filled colic cure in the gift shop.
The next museum looks so bizarre that we may find ourselves wondering if some of the Hemp Museum’s memorabilia has worked it’s way into our system. Where else would you find Cleopatra rubbing shoulders with R2D2 but the Museu de Cera, or wax museum? Next door is the fairy woodland themed bar Bosc de la Fades, another trip – we can stop for a drink amongst the toadstools and flittering fairies.
Now it’s up the main road of this network of narrow alleys and pretty side streets, La Rambla. Off we go to the quirky Museu De L’Erotica for a giggle at old-fashioned sex. From giant wooden genitals and tribal fertility symbols, to kinky paintings from around the world – we’ll surpress a giggle or two as we peruse the exhibits. From there, the last stop is just around the corner. A tiny little darkened room at the back of magic shop Rei de la Magia holds a museum of magic, with everything from posters and books to hand games and magical artifacts. Tracking the history and evolution of magic and its influence on Spain, this lovely shop, theatre and museum is actually one of the oldest establishments in the world dedicated entirely to illusions. We’ll round off our tour with a flash and a bang, by taking in a magic show at this beautiful museum.
(Please note I in no way condone stealing from museums, unless of course the target is an enormous chocolate sculpture.)