On The Road: A corner of the Catalan capital where absurdity meets innovation
Saturday 17 December 2011
I bumped umbrellas with bedraggled tourists funnelling through the soggy streets on my way to the Museum of Ideas and Inventions (mibamuseum.com). This is one of Barcelona's newest and quirkiest museums, the perfect place to escape the deluge, and I've been longing to go for ages. (Not least because I'd heard about the fantastic tube-slide which swirls down to the basement galleries. Sadly, it was closed during my visit.)
The museum shop at the entrance sells some of the inventions featured in the collection; given the weather, my eyes were immediately drawn to a pair of hot pink umbrella shoes. Next to the entrance, undecided punters can look through a periscope at the main galleries on the floor below before they cough up the entrance fee.
Downstairs, the main exhibits are arranged by theme. First up is a range of very different inventions which have been patented and manufactured: among them is the "Clocky", an alarm clock that runs away when the alarm sounds, and the "Lifestraw", a drinking tube which can filter out 90 per cent of impurities and is already in use in developing countries. The most entertaining exhibits are in the Corner of the Absurd: these include a chair adapted to insert suppositories; the Mop Star, which combines mop and wireless microphone; and the Afterhours, a mobile phone attachment that reads alcohol levels and blocks telephone numbers so that you can't drunk-dial an old boyfriend. One of my favourites was the fluorescent dog food, which makes it easier to pick up dog poo in the dark.
The Museum of Ideas and Inventions is the brainchild of Pep Torres, a Catalan inventor and media personality, who hopes to create an environment which nurtures emerging talent. He practises what he preaches: there's a corner for kids aged five to 12 to sketch out their inventions. The best are not only patented, but manufactured.
As I left, plunging into the puddles, my head was full of new ideas: a pair of telescopic wellies (ankle-, knee-, and thigh-height depending on puddle depth), even a Pac-An-Arc, an inflatable boat that you can put in your pocket. Patents are pending ....
Footprint's European City Breaks is out now (£14.99).
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The most powerful passports in the world
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
Iceland's new 500m tunnel through one of Europe's largest glaciers: Welcome to the ice age
The 10 Best hiking boots
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...