I'm feeling a little lost as I sit on the bed of our hotel in Barcelona and write this post. You see our holiday is almost at an end. The bag is mostly packed and just waiting for me to zip it up and for us to make our way to the airport. I've had a great time traveling around Spain - not sure if it really counts as a holiday as we've been so busy. But it's definitely been time away from work and an opportunity to see and experience part of the world I've never been. I'm very thankful for the experience and that each place we stayed had wifi (of varying quality) so that I could blog and upload photos - something I wish I did more regularly when I travel. With that said let me move on to talk about our final destination in Spain - Barcelona. (Make sure you pronounce it Bar-the-lona to at least try and sound like you're local).
I had high hopes for Barcelona. Every time I told someone I was coming to Spain they always, always, always mentioned how much they loved Barcelona. In fact it was usually the first thing they mentioned. When I asked what they loved about it they were always pretty vague - 'you know it's just awesome'. Well I'm sorry to tell you I've joined the club - it is awesome. I'll try and be a little more specific though. I loved the people. I loved the food. And I loved the art. For me Barcelona has been all about Gaudi. His presence is everywhere in the city - and not just in the architecture of what he built. There are influences of his design and whimsy everywhere. The thing is you really need to experience it. The photos (and certainly mine) just don't do it justice and capture the whimsy and workings of his mind. Nevertheless I tried.
Our first stop was La Sagradia Familia - which is still being built. Everywhere you look your mind bends like the curves and swirls Gaudi embraced in his design. My mind boggles that someone could come up with the idea and every little detail it entails. It truly is magical and worthy of several hours of time in a visit.
If you haven't got your Gaudi fill after the Basilica (it is now) then you can head on up to Park Guell for some more of Gaudi's fantasy expressed in architecture. My big tip - do both early - it gets packed. Seems like Gaudi has lots of fans :-)
And if that's not enough Gaudi for you (and it wasn't for me) head on over to Casa Batllo - a stunning example of a private home Gaudi built for a clearly very discerning patron.
The thing about Gaudi that I love is how every angle gives you a new perspective on his buildings. It's astonishing how much you see the longer you pause and look. Of course Barcelona is not just about the art of Gaudi, it's also about the art of food - and we ate a lot of it. Thanks to some fabulous recommendations from a friend (Courtney you rock!) we appreciated the art of food a lot in Barcelona. Everything from the markets to the finest dining was delicious, and beautiful on the plate.
It's hard to pick a favourite place on this trip. It seems like each new place we visited I liked better than the last, but as I look over the blog posts of the past few weeks that's just not true. I truly enjoyed each city and town and there was something unique and special in each one. I think that's the thing about travel. If you look for the heart of each place you visit you'll never be disappointed and you'll always be delighted by what you find.
Want to read all my posts on Spain? You can find them here.