Friday, May 12, 2017

Barcelona by Margot Justes

There is an unspoken verve in Barcelona, life is meant to be lived, whether it’s the flamenco music, the whimsical architecture of Gaudi, the superb restaurants, the fantastic waterfront, the treasured moments of sipping coffee in a cafe; the magic transcends the mundane.

This was not my first visit to Barcelona, but this time I had a chance to see Barcelona’s Medieval Gothic Quarter, something I missed the last couple of times I was there.  The old part of town is in huge contrast to the stunning architecture in the ‘modern’ Barcelona, where Antoni Gaudi reigns supreme. There has been no one before him and certainly not anyone since this remarkable man, whose imagination and creativity knew no bounds. Can you tell I love with his work? I do, I really do.

I was there four years ago, and spent three days visiting Gaudi’s work, from la Pedrera, to Casa Batllo, Park Guell, and of course La Sagrada Familia. His work is unique, and exceeds  any expectation of routine, normal, it rises above all. Since my last visit, considerable work has been done to the interior and exterior of the Basilica.  It is one of the most fascinating, innovative pieces of architecture ever attempted, a true marvel. Gaudi’s work is beyond whimsy.

Gaudi died before he could complete it, and there is considerable pressure to finish it by 2026, the 100th anniversary of his death.  The Basilica must be seen to be believed. 

It is safe to say that Barcelona is a city filled with creative modern architecture, but the old is well preserved and nurtured. La Rambla, a uniquely Spanish paseo, a street lined with trees, a pavement set in blocks that resemble a wave, and street entertainers, along with souvenir shops, restaurants and café, give locals and tourists alike a fun filled time.

The Paseo de Gracias compares favorably to 5th Ave, in NY, or the Champs Elysee in Paris, and you can visit La Pedrera and Casa Batllo, two of the most well known Gaudi buildings in Barcelona are on the famous avenue.

After the visit to the Basilica, I spent the day wondering on la Rambla, where strolling along the avenue is an agreeable way to spend time, of course there are shops, cafes, street entertainment, and the greatest market of all. The Boqueria is wondrous; you can find anything from fresh fish to fresh figs and anything in between, including food stands and restaurants. I stopped for a drink made with mango and passion fruit, along with a cornmeal concoction that was amazingly tasty, also a bread, cheese and potato roll, to finish the meal some glazed assorted nuts, then a stop in a nearby café for café con leche.

If you ever visit Barcelona, one of the required stops should be the Boqueria. Barcelona as a whole is a vital and vibrant city, and has something for everyone, from museums, to theatre, to couture shopping, and everything in between.

I think it is the perfect setting for a honeymoon for Peter and Minola, and I hope this visit has inspired me to actually finish A Hotel in Barcelona.

Happy travels, wherever they may take you.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice