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They Call it Catalonia. I Call it Beautiful; a Trip Through Barcelona

Location:
Spain

Catalonia Barcelona Spain

Having family origins in Spain, it felt like a natural choice for a pre-holiday season trip to Spain. Barcelona had never been on the top of my list as places I had a desire to see, but sometimes we discover beauty and the opportunity for exploration in places we don't expect.

Having plans to attend a function in Mallorca, we decided on a week in Barcelona to acclimate ourselves to the country. We soon found out, while we felt we were in Spain, many of the locals explained we'd be acclimating ourselves to two countries!

The Barcelona locals explained to us that we were in Catalonia, and they considered themselves to be a separate country. Politics aside, this was an interesting lesson we were schooled in throughout our time there. Even more interesting, as a Spanish speaker I thought I’d be using my language skills. More often than not the preference was to speak English over Spanish since I did not speak Catalan.

As we ventured through Las Ramblas, finding which outdoor cafés offered the best meals for the least money, the November skies were blue and bright. The street characters, costumed and painted from simple to elaborate, entertained us along our way. Random twists and turns city not knowing where we’d end up greeted with merriment from the locals was an amusing quest. Our steps brought us to tiny churches, juice bars and the rousing Erotic Museum.

The shopping was second to none. From small specialty boutiques to Gucci to barely put together puppet shops, you’ll find the things you’re looking for -- and even the things you aren’t! From Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya to the Picasso Museum we took in the art of the talent created in this country. Standing in the art galleries taking in the creations of local talent, you can’t help but ask, “Do you ship to the States?” And you find yourself lost in conversation and art for hours.

I haven’t even begun to explain the gastronomic paradise Barcelona just happens to be. From the trendy ABAC, Cinc Sentis and Moo restaurants to the small and simple Restaurant Vinya Rosa Magi, the chefs and staff will delight your mind and palate beyond description. When you think you’ve started your meal, you haven’t really begun. When you think the meal has ended it’s still not over! Incredible introductory delights to begin, and just when you think you have room for no more, treats to sweeten the memory of your visit delivered in the funkiest of displays is the delectable norm in Barcelona.

Stroll down the boardwalk of the Mediterranean and take in the sculptures, watch the waves crash and stop to replenish at Bestial. Smile and talk to the locals along the way, taking delight in their stories of Barcelona.

During our adventures, little did we know how wild a night would be calling. Up for some fun, we decided to hit the clubs. Unbeknownst to us, our driver had a little mischief up his sleeve and dropped us off for a bit of a naughty night at none other than Club Bagdad. So when in Rome…uhhh, Barcelona! After paying our ridiculous entry fee, we entered this “club.” Gaudy, something that would be a bit taboo; not to mention illegal in the States and replete with prostitutes, we pulled up a couple of seats at the bars and chatted with the girls. The, ummm, entertainment portion of the show was a bit mechanical, but the stamina was impressive! Expensive, but if you’re open-minded this, dare I write, was actually a dose of genuine charm, so to speak, during our visit.

Gaudi. An icon himself in Barcelona! Not to be missed, his incredible Sagrada Familia, with a jaw dropping scene at every turn. I couldn’t help but photograph for hours. La Pedrera and its rooftop parties among the incredibly crafted chimneys. Make sure you get your shots of Sagrada Familia from the rooftop! I stood, taking in the homes of the locals. It’s a different view from up there, through the eyes and through the heart.

And with one of my fondest memories of Barcelona I close. While visiting the Cathedral the glow from the candles illuminated every turn. I took in as much as every bit of that church I could. I stepped out into the gift shop when my travel partner came in and said to me, “You need to see this.” I walked out and on the church steps the band played. Loud and in sync it was paradise to the ears. In circles people old and young gathered around holding hands dancing the Sardana, the traditional circle dance of the country they call Catalonia. It was an honor to witness this joyous custom taking place in what they considered to be their land. I always called it Spain. Its people, its traditions, its food, churches and buildings, call it what you will. In that moment Barcelona became known simply as beautiful to me.

Further Information

Travel tips:

Take your time, see what you can and don't rush! Be polite and patient. A lot of places close for two hour long lunches!


Must see/do at this place:

Sagrada Familia

www.sagradafamilia.org

La Pedrera

www.lapedreraeducacio.org/flash.htm

Casa Batlo

www.casabatllo.es

Club Bagdad-warning adult material at this link:

www.bagdad.com

Bestial

www.bestialdeltragaluz.com

Restaurant ABAC

www.restaurantabac.com

Take in a show at Teatre (Theatre) Poliorama

www.teatrepoliorama.com

Barcelona Cathedral

www.bcn.es/turisme/english/turisme/llocs/09.htm

Hotel Arts-http://www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/barcelona/

Le Meridien- www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html

Stroll Las Ramblas-http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/ramblas/barcelona-las-ramblas.html

Mercat de La Boqueria-http://www.boqueria.info/Eng/index.php

Museu de l' Erotica

www.erotica-museum.com

El Monumento de Cristobal Colon

www.aceros-de-hispania.com/cristobal-colon-sword.htm

Restaurant Magi Vinya Rosa (Vine and Rose.)

www.vinyarosamagi.com

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya

www.mnac.es/index.jsp

Marzano's for good and cheap pizza:

www.pizzamarzano.com

Six Senses Spa at Hotel Arts

www.sixsenses.com/spa/index.php

Moo Restaurant

www.frommers.com/destinations/barcelona/D55404.html

Museu Picasso

www.museupicasso.bcn.es

Cinc Sentits Restaurant

www.cincsentits.com

Desigual for shopping


You should avoid here:

Hesperia Tower Hotel, unless you are going for a business function and don't wish to be centrally located. Not an attractive location, oddly lain out rooms.


Other helpful information:

Don't know if I can be more helpful, but it's a great place and I recommend it for a holiday in the Fall. The weater was lovely!




Did you like this article? Then you'll like these: Figueres, Rambling La Rambla, Fearless in Lastres, Viva Espana, A Sea of Difficulties, Street Art Andalucia, HOG Mallorca and Vortex Orgiva.








By Heather
I'm a Miami native who's traveled extensively. The daughter of a military man and granddaughter of a gypsy, travel is in my DNA! Good wine, cheese,...
10 Aug 2011


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