Sunday, October 09, 2011

Moments from a Catalan summer

It was a three-year wait, and ultimately a short city break. But this summer, my wife and I finally managed to get what we could call our honeymoon. We had a long weekend in Barcelona - her first visit, my second - and it was well worth the wait. 

Day One was a Gaudi day, with visits to Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and La Pedrera. I'd been outside the remarkable building that serves as a cathedral before, but this was my first time inside. It was fascinating to gain an understanding of how much Gaudi was inspired by nature and how that informed his work. This was demonstrated even further with the park, where the architecture was fused with the natural environment rather than just inspired by it. The roof of La Pedrera was unlike anything I'd seen before, and was a most striking example of what can be done with a building when the architect's imagination is the only limit.

Day Two took in the ocean and the hill that looks over the city. We started off with the wonders of La Boqueria, Europe's largest food market, then strolled down La Rambla to the sea, taking in an exhibition on Latin peoples at the Museu Marítim, the sights of the marina, then a cable car ride up to Montjuïc. The whole trip ended up being heavily loaded with with museums and galleries - up on the hill, we took in another two. These were Fundació Joan Miró  (an artist whom I was intrigued to learn had spent some time in Japan and been greatly influenced by his time there) and Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, a seriously impressive building housing 2,000 years of Catalan art from Roman times to 20th Century photography. The day ended with a fountain show set to lights and music, in the grounds of the museum, which amusingly was also flanked by a Spanish bikers convention.

Day Three saw a longstanding ambition of my wife's realised - a visit to the Picasso Museum. With that one under the belt, we took in the neighbouring Chocolate Museum, where I learned of the role that the cocoa bean has had in the Spanish Empire. On the way out, we were rather shocked to be standing around in the street an witness a police altercation. Two cops appeared from nowhere on bikes, one started shouting at a man with no shirt on, then chased after him and knocked him to the floor - with the motorbike he was riding! The man was still on the floor when things began to flare up with other onlookers, and we decided to slink away.

The photo gallery above contains images from some of the highlights of the trip, plus a few other sights not mentioned above. Really a fantastic city, I could easily go back again and again.


idleformat said...

Nice write-up - glad you both enjoyed it! Look forward to visiting myself one day...

Globalism said...

Cheers man - glad you liked it!

Totally recommend a trip out there, if you've not been. It's a beautiful city that gets better with each visit.