Some of my next tourism destinations included the Castle of Montjuic, a public park, and the Picasso Museum.
So, let's start with the museum. I officially owe an apology to all the people who have crawled through museums at a snail's pace with me, since I now understand your pain. I got a quick tour of Picasso's stylistic development from rather uninspiring realism to cubism. The highlights were a bunch of pigeons:
and 47 cubist re-dos of Las Meninas.
I was not very impressed, but at least the price was right: I got in for free as a student.
The public park was a nice open space, and I hung out and read for a while.
They also had quite a nice outdoor rock collection, as well as a sculpture of a wooly mammoth.
To get to the castle of Montjuic, I got to take the funicular, which is conveniently part of the metro system. Then after a bit of a hike, I reached this fort:
From the 20-page essay I was handed upon entry, I deduced that the castle is the equivalent of Barcelona's Bastille: a symbol of Catalan repression by the Spanish government over the ages. They actually only got jurisdiction over it from the federal government in 2007, and previously it was used to imprison, summarily execute, and send artillery bombardments on the citizens of the city.
However, it does have some cool views of the Mediterranean and the shipyards of Barcelona.
The flag flying over the fortress is the Catalan flag. In November, they are having a referendum vote for independence from Spain. Right now, things are pretty calm, but there is a general feeling that Barcelona and the surrounding area is economically supporting the rest of Spain despite having a distinct culture and language. It will be interesting to see how the vote turns out and what Madrid's reactions will be!