Barcelona, Spain

We loved Barcelona, it has a vibrancy that is mixed with a chilled out holiday feel. Very few suits seemed to be worn here! Barcelona has art, architecture, food, sunshine, space, greenery, a beach, good transport: what’s not to love? We arrived on the evening of my birthday and meet with our Wanaka friends, Caroline and Susie in our airbnb accomodation. It was lovely to be with them as we were feeling sad about leaving France and hoped that this was going to be good. It started well with tapas, paella and sangria. Three Spain wishes ticked off in one go!

The next day we hit the ground running, we started at La Rambla, a pedestrian walkway regarded as an essential Barcelona experience. Off from this is the Marcat de la Boqueria. At first sight it was  all crowds and my intial reaction was ‘no thanks, I am all marketed out’ but the others all wanted to go in. WOW, this was amazing, food stalls galore, places to eat, to buy, so glad we went straight after breakfast or this could have got expensive. This market was so good we went to it twice.

From here we wound our way through narrow streets to end up at La Catedral. A beautiful Cathedral that was still and quiet inside. Markets, musicians and people milling on the outside, peace, cooler temps and history inside. This all went well together. By now it was lunch time and we were into round two of the tapas adventures in a cool little cafe in a side street that gave us delicious food. Down to the water front we went and there was the beach. So different from NZ, umbrellas and chairs for hire but not many people use them. The main goal here seemed to be getting a tan, in fact we saw people putting on oil as opposed to sunblock that we use.

As part of the ‘how many sites can we visit in one day?’ campaign we were now off to Montjuic to see the views from the hills and to visit Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. We got here via the metro, funicular and a cable car. The view from up by the castle was expansive and breathtaking. This was not a quick stop as there was SO MUCH to see.  After a pleasant walk down through the gardens with a necessary stop for a cold beer we landed up at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The outside is almost as spectacular as the inside. But the day was running out so we concentrated on the outside, inside would wait until tomorrow. From here it was home with very sore feet and a very tired mind, to say nothing of all the images on the camera.

Day 2 was taken at a slightly slower pace, the morning was spent at another church, Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, then a long wander through the old town. After lunch it was back for the art! As with any large art gallery you can’t see everything and so we concentrated on the medieval/gothic art. I was blown away, never have I seen so much medieval work in one place. As you would expect it was all religious based and my RE teacher mind went into overdrive, the colours, the texture, the stories.

That night we meet with some other kiwis and had the best tapas yet! We were loving Barcelona!

Our last day was dedicated to visiting La Sagrada Familia, (The Holy Family),  the yet to be completed Cathedral by Antoni Gaudi. Construction started in 1882 and it is expected to be completed in 2026, the 100th anniversary of Guadi’s death. This is an amazing building inside and out and it is easy to spend hours here. It is has been consecrated but it is not yet used as a place for mass but there is a crypt where mass is said. I found this place to be moving and very relevant, the use of colour inside is wonderful. The gothic influences are easy to see, eg gothic architecture is about height and light, I had a sore neck from looking up! Guadi was appointed the Architect Director in 1884 and the current Executive Architect and Researcher is a New Zelander, Mark Burry. Barcelona is certainly a city I would be happy to revisit!

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