Before going on this business trip, I had done a lot of reading about Barcelona, Spain and its attractions. I tried to picture in my head a city with 6 million people in it, and I thought of Chicago (because I have not been to New York City). The maps I studied looked as though it was a walkable city though, so that is what I expected. Our first taxi driver from the airport was originally from Columbia, and he told me the city was too big to walk everywhere. Bummer! That 1st day, we did a bus tour and saw the part closest to the beach.
***Disclaimer: we saw a lot, so I picked only a few pictures from the 400 we took*****
This is the Port Olympic icon in modernista artistry, because the Olympics were held in Barcelona.
We also saw the Olympic Stadium and the building which housed the swimming pools, and the beautiful hotel where the olympians stayed.
We visited the beaches twice on 2 different occasions. The kids liked the glass rocks of many colors that the Mediterrean Sea washed ashore. The weather was a perfect 78 degrees to swim and frolic in swimming suits.
I actually did wade in the sea because I wanted to say, I was in the Meditterean Sea! It was a bit cool, but it was beautiful!
The seafood there was marvelous and fresh, and interestingly, they prepared food similarly to Japanese cuisine (that meant there were no surprises for our kids). It was a gourmands dream!
The fresh seafood market is top left which was housed in the supermarket on the lowest floor of a department store. The other two pictures showed the wonderful tapas bar that we enjoyed near the Picasso Museum. We munched on whole small fish, fried squid, italian-style seasoned octopus, and potatoes. Yum!
We weren’t far from the Chocolate Museum which told the story of chocolate in Catalan (native language) and Spanish-of course, the kids didn’t care about that! All kinds of international characters were made of chocolate! We got pictures of all of them (it was a bit small) but here are just a few.
With our entrance fee, we were given a dark chocolate candy bar as a ticket (and souvenir) with our home country on it! The 2nd picture is Messi, from the world famous soccer team “Barca”. Mitchell enjoyed the soccer aspect of our travels-soccer stadium and souvenirs.
That same day, we visited the Parc de la Ciutadella which is the biggest park in the city. The kids were needing a place to run around and be kids so we stopped here on a Sunday afternoon and relaxed. Interestingly, there was a small group of people doing yoga, so I did standing yoga with them. It was marvelous! After running races and expending some energy, we headed to the Picasso Museum.
Since it was free, we stood in line, and as we did, we were serenaded by a (guessing) South American young man with his guitar. He was playing lively happy music and my husband just loved it! He was even dancing a bit and taking photos!
The Picasso museum showed his works from his teenage years, and how they progressed to his cubism style. We all enjoyed his early realistic paintings which were outstanding. As his talent started to blossom, they became more abstract. The museum seemed to skipped much of the abstract and cubism works, but there were a few. I was intrigued by the color scheme he used: they were primary colors, bold and bright, and my husband questioned the purpose of these famous works. We all had a good time, and I reiterated to the kids that this was a once in a lifetime visit so they needed to take it all in with a good attitude. After the cubism works, they were done, and we headed home.
This is the absolutely stunning and magnificent church that was started in 1882 and is still in the process of being built. This famous landmark is called the Sangrada Familia. It is huge and tells the events of Christ’s birth on one side, and Christ’s crucifixion on the other by two different architects with two different styles. This picture is the crucifixion side and was finished by Josep Maria Subirachs in 2005. Seeing the sculptures up close was very moving and powerful, so much that we purchased a book explaining all of the details. On this side, it chronicles the Last Supper, Judas’s betrayal, Pilate washing his hands. Here is one picture from the massive scene:
On the other side is the Nativity scene. It is Gothic style, and it is dark because it was damaged during the Spanish Civil War.
This picture gives an idea of how massive this structure is.
The left picture shows Christ’s birth, and the second picture is Simeon prophesying over Jesus the Christ in the temple. It is amazing all of the scenes and symbolism to see and take in, that it would take hours to see it all. The exterior is fantastic, but there was still the interior to tour as well.
Antoni Gaudi wanted the interior to be like a forest with filtering light causing reflection and meditation on the greatness and holiness of God. We definately saw God in his designs and in the other artists sculptures and we were blessed! What a faith Mr. Gaudi had!
Our last evening in Barcelona, we went to Montserrat, which is a mountain that means “serrated mountain”. Near the top, is a monastery, to which we traversed by bus. For me, it was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the city. The air was crisp (cold) and fresh and we were elevated so high-2400 feet- that we became a little nauseated. It was beautiful and less crowded that it became a stress relief for us.
We walked the trail and the kids enjoyed running around. At the end of the trail was the Cross of Calvary, which we saw in the distance. We weren’t able to walk the whole way because we were on limited time.
As we arrived back to the hotel and ate one final fancy dinner, we packed up our belongings and prepared to leave the next day.
We boarded the plane, said goodbye to Spain, and looked forward to coming home to grass and trees and space!