On Wednesday, the drawing class traveled to the top of the terraced mountain, Montjuic, to an honest to goodness castle. With a drawbridge and everything. I'm fuzzy on the history of the castle, but what I could glean from the signage, which I couldn't read, was that a version of the castle has been there since the 1600's, it was a military prison, and that the President of Catalonia was killed there in the 1940's.
I guess most castles have dark histories, but these days street musicians play jazz tunes near the draw bridge, young artists make sketches, there are open movie nights, and tourists enjoy the views.
There are some massive war toys mounted along the walls, all aimed at the sea. One of them was stamped with the manufacture date of 1932, but my understanding is that Spain was so devastated by their own civil war, that they were not major players in World War II, although Franco was on the side of Germany. It was strange to pose with, and see adults and children play with these guns. I like to think they were never used to sink ships, but I don't know if this is true.
We have been able to see panoramic views of the city from several places we have visited, but this is the first place where I could get a good view of the working port of Barcelona. The ship yards are extensive.
The terraces mountainside is used for formal gardens, but some of the best parts were the shrubs of rosemary and lavender. I wasn't supposed to pick the vegetation, so instead I ran my arms through the shrubs trying to steal the sent. I got some strange looks, so I refrained from rolling around in the landscaping.
We could really appreciate how large the Sagrada Familia is compared to the surrounding buildings, because it's towers are more than twice as tall.
It was strange to look out of narrow castle windows that I imagine archers or snipers would use, and see artillery that could shoot ships on the sea or aircraft on the horizon.