Barcelona Uno

on Sunday, January 11, 2009

Barcelona is an amazing place. I had the good fortune of staying there for about two weeks last year while on work assignment and I used what free time I had (which was not that much) to explore and experience this vibrant city.

It may not be a particularly financially rich city when compared to other European economic powerhouses but it is rich in many other ways. It is blessed with a location on the Mediterranean Sea on Spain's north-eastern coast. It has a rich history, both as the heart of the people of Catalonia as well as its importance to modern Spain. The Catalonians are proud of their own history and they remain distinct from the rest of Spain even today with their own language and significant autonomy.

From this city, many artistic geniuses emerged. Pablo Picasso spent his early life here and his art was influenced by fellow Catalan artists. The Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso)is currently housed in several converted medieval palaces in old town Barcelona. Other modern art greats include the artists Joan Miro and Antoni Tapies.

The city is also rich in architectural heritage. It has its ancient wonders and its modern wonders co-existing side by side. The old town that became rich at the time of the Spanish discovery of the New World remains largely intact with wonderfully romantic, narrow cobbled streets with fascinating buildings from that era appearing at regular intervals like jewels on a crown. The new buildings are innovative, daring and striking. However, the highlight must be the work of one man whom experts consider as being on the knife edge between inspired genius and insanity but whose buildings are awe-inspiring works of art; Antoni Gaudi.

Food is another good reason to spend some time here. It has a great selection of the food from all regions of Spain. The seafood is of course particularly fresh and spectacular. Tapas of all descriptions are waiting to be discovered in quaint little bars within historical buildings. Of course, there is paella, the quintessential Spanish rice dish flavored with saffron. This is the place to try it.

The city also has a sporting history and legacy. It hosted the 1992 Olympic Games and the Olympic facilities remain impressive. I am not a soccer fan but if you were, then the home base of the Barcelona Football Club would be a pilgrimage site.

I found it a great place to wander about and just about everywhere you can go, you will be within a few steps of art, culture, great architecture, history and good food. The beer wasn't too bad either. Over the next few weeks, I shall be posting more specifically on some sights and sounds of Barcelona. Suffice to say that Barcelona is now the latest addition of a very short list of cities that I have for cities that I would not mind visiting again......and possibly again.

ARCHITECTURE


All Pictures by LGS. Clockwise from upper left: a) Decorated Building,
b) Old Bull Ring, c) Sagrada Familia (Cathedral), d) Artwork on building on La Rambla
e) Monument to Columbus and f) the modern office building, Torre Agbar.


HISTORY & CULTURE

All Pictures by LGS. Clockwise from upper left: a) relaxing at Park Guell,
b) replica of the Catalan flagship Galley at the pivotal Battle of Lepanto in 1571, c) food on sale at the Mercat La Boqueria, d) Spontaneous dancing of the Sardana,
e) Decorated shop along La Rambla and f) the cobbled streets of the old town.


NIGHTLIFE

All Pictures by LGS. Clockwise from upper left: a) Seafood Paella,
b) Monument to Columbus, c) The Meditteranean coast, near the Forum,
d) fresh grilled seafood, e) a Flamenco Tablao and f) the waterfront.

25 comments:

VioletSky said...

I have always wanted to go to Barcelona to marvel at Gaudi's work.

kat said...

Great photos, Mr World Traveling Squirrel!


Btw, ty for voting!


And did you get your email invitation from me?

the walking man said...

Truly looks like a marvelous city...that office building really caught me fancy until I saw the Galleon...AMAZING! So much intricate detail.

citizen of the world said...

Looks like a great city to visit. The paella picture makes me hungry.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

VioletSky,
I think it is worth the trip just to see Gaudi's work. Hope you will get to go one day.

kat,
Thanks for the email invite. I am glad you are developing that blog. I didn't recognise it at first. As for the voting, I like to support the wild side even though I am personally completely domesticated!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Mark,
Strictly speaking it is a Galley and not a Galleon cause it was powered by rows of oarmen. This particular vessel was the replica of the flagship on the Christian side that won the Battle of Lepanto against the Moors; a pivotal battle in the defence of Europe. It was magnificent to look at.

cz,
The food was great (although they like things a little more oil and salt) and the cooking area for many tapas bars or kiosks are so small, I am amazed they can churn out so many varieties and so quickly.

patterns of ink said...

LGS,
My daughter Kim in Chicago was in Barceloan three summers ago on a short-term missions trip for a month. She worked with "teaching-English camps" and later made TESL her major (Teaching English as a Second Language).
Tom

evalinn said...

I like Barcelona too, I was there last summer just for one night, I´ll have to go back!

kat said...

you have a wild streak you are not owning up to

leslie said...

Gaudi's work has always stopped me in my tracks!
It took a long time for me to appreciate it.
I lost you in my sidebar when I moved it! You are back. Sorry!

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

A beautiful city!

evalinn said...

Congratulations LGS, u won! :-)

geewits said...

That's nice. I've always wondered why no one mentions Spain when they mention places they want to go. It's always England, Ireland, France, Italy or Greece. That all looks great except for that gross phallic building. What was that about?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Tom,
Barcelona is a great vibrant city. I am sure your daughter, Kim, would have had a great time. One month is barely enough time though cause there's so much to see and sample.

evalinn,
You really, really do need to go back to Barcelona and take more time to enjoy it.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

kat,
Wild streak? Like Wild Ginger? Moi?

leslie,
Thank you for un-losing me! Gaudi is amazing. Keep an eye out for a post on Gaudi next week.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

kimber,
Indeed. Have you been? If not, I'll be putting a post a week on Barcelona until a) I run out of photos and topics, b) I run out of readers who are not bored out of their minds or 3) someone pays me to stop.

evalinn,
Yippee! (jumping up and down)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

geewits,
Spain is a little distinct which makes it interesting too. The phallic building is also one of my least favorite. It is a building with an outer shell that looks like it is made of some hard plastic. The building shell can be lit up by lights in a myriad of colours making the whole building a colourful work of art. It is very pretty from a distance but not so much up close.

Jocelyn said...

One thing I have to remedy in my life is not having visited the south of Europe. I'm ready for Greece, Spain, Portugal...

and now, after this, I'm ready to sell a kidney to finance it.

Andre said...

Oh, I'm so ridiculously jealousy!

Next time, can you pack me in a carry-on piece of luggage? Pretty please...?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

jocelyn,
Or you could sell your husband's kidney. Just a suggestion. :)

Andre,
I know I have been fortunate with traveling but a lot of it is work related. While I was there, the working hours were 8am to 8 pm. However, the Spaniards take a siesta in the afternoon so they only begin getting active at about 9 pm. So I was still able to enjoy the street life but it was tiring.

Marja said...

Happy New Year LGS. See you were at a great place. I love Spain but haven't been to Barcelona yet. A cousin of mine lives there. I would love to visit there one day as well and see Guadi's house and cathedral for sure

mago said...

Oh yes - I would really like to go and travel in Spain!
Besides Gaudi's masterpiece he left some very interesting houses too. I am looking for your coming post about this!

XUP said...

I wish I was there right now. But reading about it I guess is the next best thing. Sort of...

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Marja,
Well, if you have a cousin who lives in Barcelona, I am sure you will have the opportunity to visit there soon. If you do, allow for a lot of time for each of the destinations.

mago,
Barcelona is a lot nearer to you. Hope you get to go sometime soon. But then, there are so many interesting cities and towns throughout Europe.....even in Germany.

xup,
Part 2 will come next week.

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