Barcelona, Take Two!
There’s no questioning that Barcelona is a mesmerizing city for many. A unique blend of a complex cultural history, medieval architecture, modern art and metropolitan vibes. I first visited Barcelona with my friend Gautam back in June 2016 (Gautam wrote a guest blog about Barcelona which you can read here) and like many, I also fell in love with the city.
I can’t describe what is it about this bohemian-esque jewel-of-a-city that has everyone falling in love with her… Before visiting Barcelona I wasn’t so sure she would be my kind of place; the other Spanish cities I’d visited hadn’t taken my breath away so why should I expect Barcelona to? But then again, I’ve not met anyone who’s visited Barcelona who HASN’T loved her.
Gautam put it perfectly in his blog; Barcelona is a modern city, preserving the past. I think that’s what I really loved about it.
The Art and Architecture
In one day you can go from visiting the well-preserved gothic-style cathedral, historical palace and oldest synagogue in the Gothic Quarter in the morning, in awe of the centuries-old architecture preserving Catalan history. Then in the afternoon take a walk up to Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia or Casa Batllo and stare, in wonder, at his somewhat impressionist-style architecture where he invents shapes and curves your wouldn’t have thought could exist!
Unlike other Spanish cities Barcelona has a much more diverse selection of foods on offer. In most other Spanish cities it’s difficult to find much aside from Tapas and Paella. Of course you can find such food in Barcelona too, but there is also a great diversity of other cuisines on offer from Thai to Middle-Eastern, Japanese, Indian and becoming very popular now are ‘health food cafes’ like Flax and Kale.
The People, The Vibe and Activities
The people are very proud of their history and, in my experience, very friendly! Everyone from wait staff to yoga teachers, strangers on the street and friends made in airports were forthcoming in conversation and information about the city.
Barcelona has a really easy-going vibe. Wandering around the city, I felt very safe and comfortable, not like a tourist. It’s often easy in the popular/tourist-y cities in Europe to stand out when you’re a visitor or, on the other end of the spectrum, ‘just feel like another tourist’. But in Barcelona I felt like a local, heading out for a walk, joining people on their way to work or in the coffee queue.
There’ll be something for you in Barcelona, no matter what your interests. The city has ancient and modern history covered, architecture, art galleries galore, plenty in the outdoors activities like hiking, walking, the beach and shopping. It’s a centre for yoga in Spain, while live music, dance and opera flourishes. The presence of the old Olympic arenas means that many sporting events are preferentially held in Barcelona. Then there’s food of course, which I’ve already discussed.
In a way, Barcelona reminded me a bit of Sydney… it’s difficult to explain, perhaps it’s the combination of the beach, the mountains and plenty of other really cool things to do and see plus awesome food 🙂 .