David's Diary: Sunday, December 30, 2001
Barcelona Maritime Museum
Friends next to us here in Port Vell suggested that we go together and visit the Maritime Museum. We set out from Port Vell and walked to the Columbus Statue that sits at the start of La Rambla. Built in the 1880s the monument towers over the harbour. But Columbus was not from Barcelona and he is pointing to North Africa rather than the New World.
Next to the Columbus monument is the Maritime Museum. The museum is the largest surviving medieval shipyards in the world. The shipyards were originally right next to the ocean, but infilling over many years now separates the museum from the Mediterranean. With its tall stone columns supporting a timber roof it is easy to imagine the huge ships that were built in the former shipyards.
The museum brings that history to life with visual and audio displays. A full size reproduction of the Royal Galley of Don Jaun of Austria provides just one example of what was built in the shipyards. Life-size ships and scale models, along with displays of working conditions, provide an idea of what it was like to be a sailing the Mediterranean hundreds of years ago. A recreation of voyages to the New World, complete with shaking decks, thunder, and lightening ended our enjoyable tour of the museum.