Our Most Magical Day In Barcelona So Far (Museu Nacional d’Art de Cataluna and Maitea Tavern)

We finally had a free day and determined not to waste it, and voila! it was our best day here yet. Many years ago, I watched Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé perform the song Barcelona at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Cataluna. As I wept profuse tears of joy, I vowed one day to go there. Today was the day that dream came true. (Note: If you have not watched this masterpiece—click the link and enjoy it before you read the remainder of this post). 

The stairs up to the museum on Montjuic high above Barcelona are pretty intimidating. Even though we took the metro there, we ended up with over 15,000 steps and many genuine stairsteps. The museum is a sublime work of art on its own, as you see in the Freddie Mercury video, and the art inside is truly wondrous. Gina and I marveled that most of these exquisite creations came from Barcelona artists. This city has hundreds, if not thousands, of years of artistic legacy. You can feel the muse throughout the property. I was so inspired. 

I will let the many photos do most of the talking. I have added captions. It was indeed a magical experience. Gina, who usually is nonchalant about museums, was captivated, as was I. A pleasant surprise was that our admission (usually €12 each) was free because we are over 65. Yes! Another pleasant surprise was that the museum (Tuesday in the offseason) was virtually empty; at times, it seemed we had the entire place to ourselves. 

Afterward, we returned home to our virtually empty apartment (we had been waiting on our furniture for two weeks and just got the distressing news that it would not be delivered until the 29th). Ugh. I did the Spanish thing and took an afternoon siesta. Then we went to a highly recommended restaurant for an 8:15 pm dinner. 

It is called Maitea Tavern and features pintxos (skewers) and tapas. They base the food on Basque cuisine: taverns, cider houses, steakhouses, and grandmothers’ recipes. The restaurant and staff were understated, but the service and food were extraordinary. It is easy to see why there are so many Michelin-starred restaurants in the Basque Country and why Spain has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world. The food here is on another level. It is superb. 

It was my favorite culinary experience (out of many) since we lived here. Oh my. We ordered several house specialties, breaded artichoke croquettes with romesco, codfish with garlic mousseline, sweet patata bravas, batter fried Hake cubes with citrus mayonnaise, and Bailey’s tiramisu paired with a Ribera Del Duoro red wine (tinto vino). Oh yum! Also on the menu (when we gather the courage and experience) ox tripes spicy stew, pig ear & fried eggs, pig trotter’s and mushrooms stew, and civet of wild boar, to name only a few of the exotic dishes featured there. 

And to think, the adventures have only just begun. 

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***Click the photos to enlarge. Some of the thumbnails are only partial renditions.

4 responses to “Our Most Magical Day In Barcelona So Far (Museu Nacional d’Art de Cataluna and Maitea Tavern)”

  1. JimBo Avatar

    I see a book developing…”An artist’s view of Spain” ;)

    1. Randy Elrod Avatar

      Yes indeed! Already have the title and outline. Ha!!

  2. Becky Avatar

    It is deeply fulfilling to read your thoughts and emotions you are experiencing on this new journey. I can’t find words to describe how thrilled I am for you and Gina. I feel fortunate that you are so open and eager to share your life with us.

    1. Randy Elrod Avatar

      Thank you so much, Becky. I love putting experiences into words-it helps me relive and savor them again and again.