Directly behind the Cathedral, Carrer de la Pietat leads to Carrer del Paradís, which leads to the (admittedly low) summit of Mont Tàber, the highest point in the Barri Gòtic. There's a marker in the pavement, and just beyond it, the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya, in a Gothic palace–housing four tall Corinthian columns and part of the podium from the 1st-century AD Roman Temple of Augustus, trapped in the palace courtyard like an exotic orchid in a hothouse.
The Centre Excursionista was founded in 1876 as a cultural probe into Catalan roots, art, history and science; poet Jacint Verdaguer, painter Santiago Rusinyol, and architects Domènech and Gaudí were members and would go on excursions to ponder Romanesque churches, caves, mountains or woods. In spite of being steeped in nationalism, it was the one Catalan organization tolerated and allowed to exist under Franco. The first thing the excursionistas did after his death was climb Mount Everest to plant a Catalan flag.
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Hours Mon 10am-2pm, Tues-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-8pm
metro: Jaume I
Images by: Laura Padgett