I’m glad I left Barcelona until near the end of my stay in Spain…what a beautiful city! I traveled there with three friends and their husbands, and my son and his girlfriend also came up by train to see a Barcelona FC game in Nou Stadium, one of the best teams in one of the best stadiums in the world. The first day was rainy, but the sun came out on the second day and we were able to get to many of the sights.
Of course, Barcelona is known for the creative architecture of Antoni Gaudi, but it is also the capital of Catalunya, Picasso’s birthplace, the cradle of moderniste architecture, a soccer capital, and a popular European travel destination. There’s an old city with a beautiful cathedral and historic Jewish district, the well-planned Eixample district with wide avenues and walkways, Barcelona’s main pedestrian walkway, the Ramblas, a mountain, the waterfront, and more. It was thrilling to see Gaudi’s work on the Sagrada Familia as well as Park Guell and other structures…unbelievably creative! A highlight of the trip was a Spanish cooking class, but I’ll describe that in the next entry.
The Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Church) is a work in progress; it was started in 1883 and is projected to be finished in 2026. I hope I’m around to see it!
Gaudi, whose vision continues to inspires the builders who continue his work, used nature imagery in much of his design.
My buddies and I were awe-struck by the architecture.
Some people liken this outside facade of the nativity scene as “frosting in the rain.”
This drawing in the Gaudi Museum depicts what the church will look like when finished.
Other works by Gaudi include this apartment building, Casa Mila (also known as La Podrera–the Quarry)…
…and Casa Batllo. On the same block, called “The Block of Discord,” other architects put up competing moderniste designs.
I think my favorite Gaudi project was Park Guell, a 30-acre garden that was supposed to be housing project. The project flopped but the imaginative structures are wonderful.
My friend Anne and I enjoying the view of Barcelona from the tile-seated terrace.
Off in the distance, you can barely see the hotel shaped like a sail; that’s the W where we spent the first two nights.
Of course, there are many other beautiful buildings in Barcelona, including the Catalan Concert Hall (stunning)…
…complete with geese, once used as an early warning system…
..and other lovely buildings along the various boulevards.
- Government building in the Placa de Sant Jaume.
From the top of the Ramblas, the long pedestrian walkway with all kinds of shops, restaurants, and activities.
The view from our hotel on a rare stormy day.
At the “W.”
Thank you, Rick Steves.