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.
b) Monument to Columbus, c) The Meditteranean coast, near the Forum,
d) fresh grilled seafood, e) a Flamenco Tablao and f) the waterfront.