Barcelona has much to offer everyone. Incredible architecture, loads of history (see our history section below), a vibrant arts and entertainment and food scene, beaches, a huge boat harbor, museums, art galleries, lively street scenes, sophisticated shopping streets and more.
One of the most outstanding things about Barcelona is its architecture – called Modernism – spearheaded in the late 1800s and early 1900’s by Antoni Gaudi. His most compelling work, the Sagrada Familia church, is a reflection of his mathematical insights and design genius. When you see the building from the outside,
it almost seems like a joke. But when you go inside, the light and airiness and height of it take your breath away. He used an elaborate system of weights and strings to model a new way for supporting the church’s enormous spires. His system resulted in designs which were capable of supporting immense weight but also of giving the building a spaciousness that
lifts your spirits up. While some elements of the building such as the fruits and vegetables at the tops of the spires look comical, we learned they are meant to incorporate the importance of the earth and agriculture in sustaining human life, much like religion sustains the human spirit. Gaudi died in 1926 due to an auto accident, but his work has been carried on. The church is not yet finished, and the hopes are that it will be complete by the 100th anniversary of his death.
In addition to the church,
Gaudí also designed several fanciful private homes and influenced the designs of other architects of his time. Some of these are landmark tourist attractions, and others just magically appear before you as you are walking through the streets of Barcelona. One house, called the Botllo has a roof that looks like the scales of a dragon supposedly designed to recall the story of George slaying the dragon. (More on this in another blog post).
More pictures of Gaudí´s creations are in the blog post with architecture and bridges.
One of the fun things we did in Barcelona was to take a cooking class where we learned to cook Spanish paella and make sangria. Part of the experience was going to a famous market in Barcelona called the Bouqueria market. The chef taught us about all the local products and how to select them. Of course we enjoyed the paella and sangria in a jovial meal with fellow classmates.
Some of our other favorite photos of Barcelona are below.