The bullrings of Barcelona


Yesterday afternoon we left our bikes locked to parking rails in the street for a few hours. On returning mid-evening it was clear that a serious attempt at theft had been made as there was a T-shaped bar for twisting and wrenching open a cable lock left in place and the bikes were suspended off the ground. Maybe we or someone else interrupted the operation, but it failed and no harm was done to the bicycles. The lock is now a bit distorted but quite functional. We disposed of the lock-wrecking tool this morning!


We rode up to the summit of Mount Tibidabo, the location of the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and an amusement park overlooking Barcelona. It is a popular route for cyclists, judging from the lycra-clad blokes who arrived on their training rides. On the way down we stopped at the petrol station that had a bike-wash with high pressure hoses to clean up the bikes.

The next stop was the Plaza de Toros Monumental, built in 1914, an Art-Nouveau building, the last active bullring in Catalonia that closed only 5 years ago in 2011 when bullfighting was banned by the Parliament of Catalonia. It features three giant eggs – no mystery where Salvador Dali got his egg idea from! Also interesting were the ticket entrances labelled Sombra and Sol – you can choose to sit in the shade (more expensive) or the sun. This bullring is now little used except for the occasional rock concert. There is another one that we have visited, Arenas de Barcelona, that has been converted into a shopping centre.

Not far from La Monumental is Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes –  it sounded impressive so we went there. It is a huge area, contemporary in style with the Torre Agbar (Barcelona’s gherkin) a major feature. We discovered here that Barcelona has a tram network as well as the metro, buses and the Barcelona Bicing city bike system. We then went on to the Parc de la Ciutadella and Arc de Triomf – note the bats featured on the stonework.

This evening was spent walking and enjoying the social atmosphere of the streets that are full of people, families, children playing – the kind of activities that are generally done in private space in Australian cities and suburbs. When you don’t have your own backyard, the street is the place to meet!



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