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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Urban Sketching Barcelona. Day 18: CosmoCaixa

At CosmoCaixa - Andrea captures electricity in the palm of her hand!

October 22, 2016

Because of its location outside of the city center, we arranged to meet downtown and take the Metro together to visit CosmoCaixa, a Natural History and Science Museum we thought the boys would like. After a bit of waiting and wondering if I was in the right place and if they would see me - I spotted them across the busy street and called to them and together we rode the Metro to our destination. Public transportation in Barcelona is excellent, easy, cheap and efficient. (I bought a 10-ride ticket for €10, when I arrived in Barcelona, based on advice from Alejandro and Fernando, a really good deal, which otherwise would cost $2.15 per ride and it's good on the Metro or the bus.)

The first thing I noticed was the contrast of the Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau) architecture of the original building (designed by architect Josep Doménech i Estapá and built between 1904 and 1909 as a home for blind girls) and the modern lines of the newer expansion (made of glass and mostly underground, designed by architects Esteve and Robert Terradas) as well as the broad walkways leading to the museum that I pictured filled with school groups gathering, waiting to go inside.

First order of business – lunch! After refueling with salads and sandwiches on the terrace, we made our way inside. The exterior does not prepare you for the enormity of the place! It is HUGE! Very hands on exhibits for kids and grown-ups alike and we tried all sorts of things. "Explore, verify, be surprised" is their motto and we did and we were! With everything from ancient human displays, an indoor jungle, rainforest, aquarium, giant trees, electrical voltage tests, making waves and even sandstorms they make science come alive in a very fun and exciting way! There's also a Planetarium but we ran out of time to see that and it was getting dark and near closing time when we left the museum.

We took the Metro back to Montjuïc just in time to see the Font Mágica or "Magic Fountain" do its thing! Its website says "Barcelona's biggest ornamental fountain, which was built in 1929 for the International Exhibition, offers a spectacular display of music, water acrobatics and lights which generate over 50 kinds of shades and hues. The Montjuïc Magic Fountain has become one of Barcelona's most popular attractions and is where the "Piromusical" is held, a true balletic spectacle of water and light." During the summer months there is a light and water show at the Fountain every night, but off-season they only do it on Friday and Saturday nights. Lucky us! It was Saturday night! There were tons of people already assembling but we managed to find a bench and watched the colors change and the water shoot up and down, rhythmically.

It was getting kind of late now and we were all pretty tired, so we left the Fountain and walked back to "my neighborhood" in search of a place to eat and found a sweet little cafe not far from my apartment and relaxed. Andrea and Vincent walked me to my apartment and then took the boys, who were by now snuggled together, sound asleep in the stroller, back to their hotel. It was quite a day!




Steps at the train station let us know we were in the right place!

CosmoCaixa - Natural Science Museum

Modernisme meets Modern architecture

Arriving at CosmoCaixa Science Museum

What would happen if.....?

Learning about science, first hand!

Touching a giant block of ice among other things

Endlessly fascinating, electricity under glass


The incredible "Tree of Life" - brought to Barcelona from Brazil

A spiral ramp/walkway leads all the way up to a gift shop on the top floor

A child's sense of wonder is a beautiful thing!

Freakishly real, life-size statue of Albert Einstein sits in the lobby

The "Magic Fountain" at Montjuïc - a water and light show that attracts a crowd

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