Now that I’ve made my first trip to Montjuic in the 6+ months I’ve lived here, I think that we will go up more often. It’s a beautiful place and still considered to be part of the city – yet there are trees, grass, parks and more to see up there. I’ve heard it takes several visits to see it all. I’m still on the search for the slides I hear will take you down the side of the mountain – I think the kids would love that.
So with Michelle, we headed up to Montjuic again to see Poble Espanyol as well as to head over to the Olympic Pool for some swimming.
Poble Espanyol is considered to be an open-air museum. It was built in honor of the 1929 International Exhibition. The reason for it’s construction was so that those visiting Barcelona with limited time on their hands for tourism, could get a little piece of other parts of Spain during their visit. According to their website, Its urban layout – a real village with streets and squares, without wheeled traffic and in the natural surroundings of the hill at Montjuïc – has helped to create a special microcosm.” There are more than 40 artisans that create their works in front of you using old world techniques. There was also a lot of tourist shops as well – you can tell this is a place the locals don’t spend much time at – however, from an educational standpoint, apparently many schools use Poble Espanyol in their studies.
It was incredibly quiet for mid-week during tourist season and although that was nice, it also made the place feel a bit desserted. We schmoozed around a bit with the boys, had some lunch and then headed off to the Olympic Pool.
The Picornell swimming pool is the flagship of Barcelona’s swimming pools. The centre which also includes a gym and tennis courts, was opened in 1970 for the European swimming championships and was remodelled and modernised for the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992. Having had a swimming pool growing up and having spent time in many a pool over the years, I didn’t think much of the pool until I saw it. I don’t think I have ever in my life seen a pool this big! I had no idea that the althletes who swim in the Olympics had such distances to swim their laps. So many facilities, like the Y for instance, where the boys had swimming lessons over the years, boast Olympic sizes pools…. I’d like to know what Olympics they are talking about because I think you would need at least 3 of the Y’s pools to make up the length of this pool.
But the best part about the pool was the boys. Both boys have come so far in their swimming this year. Aidan has always loved the water but was much more an ocean swimmer than a pool swimmer. He would feel insecure in a pool without a bubble (even if he didn’t realize I had taken out all but one piece of foam from it). Liam, on the other hand, is just apprehensive about the water no matter what form – ocean or pool. When Josh’s parents were here visiting a few weeks ago, the boys went to their hotel several times which had a rooftop pool that was just deep enough that Aidan could touch – just barely. And I believe that this gave him the confidence to shed his bubble and take his swimming to the next step.
Fast forward to the Olympic pool. As I’m getting Liam into his bubble, Aidan tells Michelle he wants to jump off the diving board (there are about 10 of them). She tells him to wait til she’s in the pool and offhandedly I ask her – “about how deep is it?”. Before she responds, he jumps in a swims right up to her. She responds, “I think about 10-15 feet deep – I can’t come close to touching.” I freak out slightly – “um, Aidan just learned to swim like a week ago.” She was totally shocked and I was so beyond pleased at his new confidence in his swimming!!! He had this grin on his face from ear to ear that I’ve missed lately. He was so proud of himself as well he should be!! He was jumping and swimming all afternoon!
Now let’s not forget my little guy. Liam is terrified of the water – for some reason always has been. He usually has a vice grip around your neck and really just wants to put his toes in the water. With my in-laws he built up enough confidence in himself that he was able to move himself along the edge of the pool – back and forth, back and forth. By the time he was in the big pool with me, he was letting go for a mili-second at a time. Might not seem like much but for the kid who would scream whenever you’d try to bring him near the water, the fact that he let go was a HUGE step towards getting comfortable!
All in all it was a very fun and a very busy day! I’m so glad Michelle suggested the pool. I don’t know that I would have gone there without her but I’m really glad I did (and I went with Josh and the kids today now that I know where it is and how to get in).