Barcelona is the city of all cities in my opinion--such a livable place and so full of history, culture, and art. My family and I stayed in the heart of the city, near Las Ramblas, a stretch of street full of great shops and sights, including my absolute favorite, La Boqueria, an amazing open market filled to the gills with seafood, fruits, veggies, and, of course, jamon! And let me tell you, we ate a lot of jamon, a ham the Spanish are famous the world over for. Yum!
Other highlights of the trip include a whole day devoted to Gaudi. We were blown away by the light and magic of La Sagrada Familia, a church designed around Gaudi's love of nature. It truly felt like a sacred space of light and healing that transcended any notion of traditional religion. Then it was on to Park Guell, a space Gaudi designed to be house development but that, when that project failed, became a gorgeous city park dotted with Gaudi's whimsical architecture. We finished off our Gaudi-fest with a night-time tour of La Pedrera, a space once built for a rich family to live and rent out that was reviled in its time for its strange organic shapes mimicking a rock quarry, but is now loved for those same features. Absolutely awe inspiring!
And there was tapas. Lots of tapas. And gin tonics. Thankfully, my sister and her husband knew all the great local spots to go, so we feasted at the cheap places the real Barcelonians went to. Perhaps one of our best meals (although, really it is hard to say with such great options), was our impromptu picnic at Sitges, a wonderful beach near Barcelona where we swam (briefly--it was cold!). We got olives, jamon, Spanish cheese, fresh bread, and caper berries from a local market. Heaven! Sometimes the best meals are the simplest ones.
We strolled all the different neighborhoods and stopped off at a book fair on our last day. We saw some incredible art by a famous Catalan artist name Antoni Tàpies, and we strolled through more neighborhoods like the Gothic Quarter and Gracia. We shopped a little neighborhood markets and enjoyed the locals. I feel the words I use to describe this experience don't do it justice! I can't possibly tell you every adventure we had nor fully describe the warmth and openness of this great city. All I can say is it is worth a visit--and I would love to go back there again!
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