Trip Start Feb 12, 2008
58Trip End Ongoing
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This was the first trip to Barcelona for both of us and it certainly did not disappoint. It helps when in mid-March you have clear skies and temperatures in the 60s. We landed to beautiful weather, dropped our bags at a nice hotel and walked down to the old city centre. We made our first of a few strolls down the famous Las Ramblas - past street performers with no talent and tapas places - finding one to stop at for lunch. The bacon wrapped scallops caused a near all out fight to see who would get the first and last of them. Tamara won in both cases.
I noticed a great deal of similarities in the architecture with Buenos Aires - beautiful buildings and wide boulevards all the way until you get into the old town. In the old part of the city it becomes very narrow streets and alleys - much of pedestrian only. It all seemed very quaint and was quite fun to walk... except there was a downside to the many small alleys and streets - plenty of people took it as a chance to urinate when no one was looking. And at times it was quite obvious from the smell. There is also the downside of it being potentially dangerous at night.
We were only in Barcelona for three days and two nights - but enjoyed a great deal of food in the time we were there. Dinner the first night was amazing. The portions were a bit small for me but Tamara likely ranks it as one of her favourite meals since moving to Europe. The next day it was Paella for lunch with a pitcher of Sangria.
On our first night, we enjoyed a great little wine bar with terrific Spanish wines, sitting out front on the street with the Barcelona cathedral right before us. The next night we made the quick trip from our restaurant to Bar Marsalla - known for being a former Ernest Hemmingway haunt and even more famous for its Absinthe. Tamara and I of course had one each. One shared would have been enough.
Catalan's favourite artist son appears to not be Picaso or Dali, but Antoni Gaudi. Everywhere you go in Barcelona, Gaudi is visible - from the amazing public park, to the several apartment buildings - including the extremely impressive La Padrera. La Padrera's rooftop is the main attraction and it is quite incredible. Each chimney stack is a sculpture, as is just about everything else. In the distance you can see the absolutely astounding Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia was Gaudi's last effort - one that he did not finish before being run over by a streetcar. More than 125 years later, the construction continues and they are now ready to host their first church service. But ornamentation of the colourful building and construction of the remaining spires, which will total 18 with the tallest reaching a height of 170 metres, are not scheduled for completion until 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí's death.
Finally, there is the beach. Barcelona doesn't have a beach on level with Miami's but it still quite impressive for being right there at the feet of the city. Tamara has been craving a beach for quite some time so it was a treat to walk along the shore - even if it was still not warm enough to dip our feet in the water. Hopefuly that will all change upon our return to Iberia in July - when we spend a week in Portugal.
For more photos from the trip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27086162@N04/sets/72157615487898705/