The most wonderful time of year has arrived at last! I’d like to wish you all, my Dear Readers, that these beautiful days may be merry, peaceful, filled with joy and laughter. I sincerely hope that mine will be just as described (although I’m fighting a pretty nasty flu at the moment). Let us fill ourselves with good vibes, spend time with our loved ones, and get ready for the new year that’s approaching faster than I expected. Museum Assistant will soon be celebrating its first birthday, can imagine?
When I heard that CaixaForum Barcelona is planning to open an exhibition displaying masterworks from the collection of Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid alongside those deposited in Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, I knew that’s something I better not miss. Having fresh memories of my visit to Museo Thyssen in Madrid, I sincerely hoped to see the highlights of their collection hanging on the walls of any color except for salmonish orange. Therefore, with a mix of excitation and anxiety, the very first day after the exhibition opened I headed for CaixaForum.
With Christmas time ahead, I suppose that most of you are already hunting for some gifts and stocking fillers for your loved ones, am I right? My advice is pretty simple: if you don’t want to buy another boring tie for your Dad, an absolutely unsurprising hand cream for your Mom, and not particularly creative gift card to a popular chain store for your Partner, visit your closest museum’s shop.
I’m a huge Charles Dickens fan. This year only I’ve read The Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities (okay, and an easy Catalan version of A Christmas Carol, let’s count that one, too). I love the juicy and vivid language that Dickens uses in his novels. How can a man develop such a vast, diverse vocabulary? It always astonishes me. I also adore the kind of mild irony that Dickens is an unquestionable master of; seldom is he sarcastic towards his characters, I would rather say that he usually comments on their trials and tribulations with a warm, fatherly smile on his face. He is so compassionate and tender about every human being that appears in his novels, no matter if he or she is a thief, a swindler, or an escaped prisoner. Moreover, Dickens is one of those authors whose writing triggers a kind of multisensory reaction. Every time Dickens’s heroes would celebrate Christmas dinner, or feast in a roadside inn, I couldn’t help getting terribly hungry, and I would end up fetching myself a chunky slice of bread with butter generously spread all over it. That’s what I call the power of literature.
It seems that fall has already arrived in Barcelona. Yesterday morning I woke up to the sounds of one of the most furious storms I’ve ever seen! The windows of our flat were rattling with every thunder, and it was pitch-dark until well after 9 o’clock. Days like these make me wanna bury myself under a blanket, equipped with some sweet treats, a couple of books, and my iPad. Therefore, I ended up doing a very comprehensive research of museum YouTube channels, so that you will know, my dear Readers, what to do on gloomy days like yesterday!
The title of today’s post may sound a bit ironic — as you can see, I’ve been away for almost two months, and believe me, the last thing I could think of a couple of days ago, was the excessive amount of free time! However, as I have just come back to Barcelona, I’d like to share with you my ideas for creative use of your free time. Ready? Let’s go!
Museum Assistant (and her Companion) has just returned from a short trip to Madrid, and is ready to tell you a bit about what did she manage to see there in just two days! Madrid is a huge city, but once you find an accommodation in the very city center (like we did), you are able to squeeze a lot into your visiting plan, even if you have just a couple of days. We arrived in Madrid late in the afternoon on Saturday, on Tuesday morning we headed for beautiful Toledo to spend a couple of hours there, and returned to Madrid in order to catch a bus back to Barcelona. So, as you can see, we had actually just two days to enjoy all that Madrid has to offer.
I love the way in which a museum can change the character of a city, by creating a new cultural, social, and architectural context. Presence of a museum usually affects (or at least should affect) the whole neighborhood, as it requires some additional services: a parking lot, someplace to take a rest, someplace to have a coffee or lunch. Today I’d like to show you 5 unique museum neighborhoods. Ready? Let’s go!
Hi there! A few days ago I told you about my participation in a guided visit to the Centre de Documentació of Museu del Disseny de Barcelona on St. George’s Day. Today I woke up with a strange feeling that although it has not been a week since my last visit to the Museu del Disseny, I really should go there immediately. I didn’t need much time to realise that there is a very good reason behind it: I haven’t seen the temporary exhibition Distinction. A Century of Fashion Photographyyet, and it’s on display only until tomorrow. So I packed my small bag, grabbed some coffee and croissant on my way to the metro station, and soon I arrived at Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes. Today there will be no talking. I would just like you to see a bit of what I saw. Enjoy.
Yesterday was my first Diada de Sant Jordi (cat. St. George’s Day), one of the greatest celebrations I’ve seen in Barcelona so far. Are you familiar with the legend of St. George? It features everything that comes to one’s mind when thinking of a proper medieval ballad: a dragon, a sword, a knight, and a princess. The story begins with a city of Silene, in which one bloodthirsty dragon delighted so much, that it decided to arrange its nest on the spring that provided water for the whole town. Every time the citizens wanted to collect water from the spring, they would offer the dragon a sheep, and if they were lacking one, there was only one substitute: a virgin maiden. As poor virgins were chosen by drawing lots, there was little to be done when the selected maiden happened to be the princess. Luckily enough, just as she was about to be presented to the dragon, Saint George appeared, and protecting himself with a sign of the cross, slaughtered the dragon with a sword, and freed the princess. It is believed that out of the dragon’s blood a beautiful scarlet rose bush bloomed. That’s why in many places (including Catalunya), the St. George’s day is known as the day of a book & a rose. Women are given red roses by their partners or friends, and in return, they are expected to give them books.