Sunday, June 20, 2010

picasso and the mammoth

Well, you kind of have to visit the Museu Picasso when in Barcelona, right?
It's one of those things. For days I'd look at the long line stretched down the narrow carrer de Montcada and keep walking. As I've said before, I've never been a Picasso fan, though I do respect and appreciate his work. So should I wait behind the twenty something tourists and spend the nine euro admission fee on a lukewarm feeling? Well, yes.

The line moved surprisingly fast, and I was directed by a bored staff member to where I should start exploring the five gorgeous mansions that housed the museum. The buildings date all the way back to the 13th to 15th centuries, and are gorgeous in and of themselves— as I tried to snap pictures inside the museum, I was reprimanded by another bored, and slightly irritated staff member. Apparently not only are you forbidden from taking photos, you can't even draw inside the museum with anything other than a pencil! A stricter place, I have not visited. I've posted what I was able to sneak past the guards— none of which are a Picasso, I'm afraid.

What to say? The museum is lovely, and my feelings for Picasso remain unchanged. I sipped an Estrella in the museum café, drew a rabbit, and headed out for some more wandering. Just across the street from Museu Picasso, something caught my eye.

A large and wondrously tacky heap of fur and tusk stood in the entrance of what I was happy to discover is Barcelona's first ever hands-on mammoth museum. As I stopped to marvel at the thought of a mammoth museum, the admissions man beckoned to me in Catalan, then Spanish, and eventually English.

"You can touch the bones!"
"That's really great, but I just gave my money to Picasso."
"Come, feel the fur!"
"Wow, that's fur alright. No seriously, I can't."
"Ok, ok, student discount!
"What? Why? No— really, thank you."
"Ok, ok, child price! Come on— come see the mammoth!"

What could I say? It's a mammoth museum!

...with a couple of rhinos and a bou mesquer.
I loved it.

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