Catalonia Remembers Pablo Casals

Fleeing from Franco and the fascist regime, the world's greatest cellist, Pablo Casals, left his homeland in 1939. Today his body has been returned to El Vendrell, 72km (45 miles) south of Barcelona, where he is remembered by a museum in his honor. The museum is installed in the renovated house where he lived until he went into self-imposed exile.

The 17 rooms are filled with Casals memorabilia, including his first cello, photographs and films of his performances, the Peace Medal awarded him by the United Nations in 1971, and photographs of the artist with such famous men as John F. Kennedy, who awarded him the Medal of Freedom.

Casals died in Puerto Rico in 1973 at the age of 96, and he was finally returned to his beloved Catalonia in 1979, where he is buried at El Vendrell graveyard.

Casa Pau Casals is located at Av. Palfuriana 59-61, in El Vendrell (tel. 97-768-42-76; From September 16 to June 14, it's open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 2pm and 4 to 6pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm and 4 to 7pm, and Sunday 10am to 2pm. From June 15 to September 15, it's open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 2pm and 5 to 9pm, and Sunday 10am to 2pm. Admission is 6€ for adults and 3€ for children. Allow 1 hour.

To reach El Vendrell from Barcelona, head southwest along A-19 until you come to C-246. Continue along this route, which will lead you into El Vendrell.

Nearby Theme-Park Thrills

A 10-minute ride from the heart of Barcelona, Port Aventura Amusement Park, Port Aventura (tel. 97-777-90-90;, is Spain's biggest theme park. Universal Studios acquired a prime stake in it and plans to make it even larger. The park's vast 810 hectares (2,000 acres) will be expanded to become Europe's largest entertainment center. Since its inauguration in 1995, it has become one of the Mediterranean's favorite family destinations.

The park is a microcosm of five distinct worlds, with full-scale re-creations of classic villages ranging from Polynesia to Mexico, from China to the old American West. It also offers a thrilling variety of roller-coaster and white-water rides, all centered on a lake you can travel via the deck of a Chinese junk.

The park is open daily from March 27 to June 17, 10am to 8pm (it often closes at 7pm). In summer it is open daily from 10am to midnight. From September 12 to January 6 it is open daily 10am to 7pm. It's closed at other times. Admission costs 42€ adults, 34€ children 4 to 10; free for children 3 and under. The fee includes all shows and rides.

Some 50% of the trains on the Barcelona-Sitges-Tarragona line stop at Port Aventura. From Barcelona, the one-way trip takes 50 minutes and costs 7€. A taxi from the center of Tarragona to Port Aventura costs about 16€ one-way.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.