Thursday, July 30, 2015


"What was your FAVORITE place you visited?"

This is kind of a loaded question, and a difficult one to answer.
Paris is definitely a Life List item.
Toulouse is a perfect dose of French-ness, in a small enough package to get to know and grow fond of in a week.
Bilbao is breathtakingly beautiful and unique, and gave me some of the most vivid memories of the trip.
Lisbon may have taken the title, but I was there such a short time (roughly 2 days) that I felt like we never really had a chance...

As a total package, though, I think my time in Barcelona may have been my favorite.

The night before I arrived in Barcelona, FC Barcelona had won the UEFA Champions League. I admittedly had no idea how that works (still don't), but apparently it's a big deal.
FC Barcelona and smartphones win the day.
The energy in Barcelona the next night for the victory parade was awesome. The celebration was surprisingly quick but completely electric. This double-decker bus with the team, a couple crowd-control segments and a few of "hype" sort of segments (spirit team, a radio station, some people on stilts...), and that's it.

You gotta admit it's fun to cheer for a winning team. Maybe that's why I'm a Patriots fan... looking at you, Ravens/Colts, Roger Goodell and various haters. Burn. #freeTB

This wonderful city

From the rooftop pool at my hotel (seriously) to the (imported) beach just a short stroll from city center, Barcelona is "urban beautiful" in a way I never understood until now.

Casa Batllo and Sagrada Familia

A huge part of what makes Barcelona... well, Barcelona... is the architecture. There is such an wide range of breathtaking structures, with equally stop-you-in-your-tracks-gorgeous buildings of Gothic and Modern and just way cool buildings along the same street.

There are a handful of Antoni Gaudi works in and around Barcelona, and I visited two: Casa Batllo and Sagrada Familia. When you go to Barcelona, everyone raaaaves about the Sagrada Familia cathedral. It's a cool spot, so complex and intricate is its design that 100+ years after beginning construction, it is still unfinished, and it really is spectacular. Before visiting that landmark, I visited the Casa Batllo. Maybe it was the helpful audio guide on the Casa tour, maybe it was just that the house isn't on quite as grand a scale as the cathedral, maybe it was that I was a little hungover for my Sagrada visit, but I was able to appreciate the genius in the details of the Casa even more than the Sagrada. Both are unmissable. 

The one Gaudi landmark I missed, and I regret missing, is Park Guell. I just ran out of time. I'll just have to go back. 

To the sea...

Nothing like a sunset catamaran ride on the Mediterranean.

Around town

Wait, didn't you say this was a school trip?
Moritz Brewery. Go there.

Barcelona loves creativity.

Not pictured, but another favorite of the trip, is the Picasso Museum. It's literally all Picasso, and somewhat small, but the progression of the artist's development is amazing to see. It's not just watching the artist grow over a lifetime, it's like watching a movement evolve over the late-19th through early/mid-20th Century. I struggle to describe it; he was just that prolific. I can't even imagine how much he must have created that no one will ever see. The man must have done nothing but paint (and womanize.)

Casa Lolea

sangria, camembert+roasted garlic
Roquefort+honey+red pepper, patatas bravas
Delicious. I ate my weight in patatas bravas, and I have no regrets. Except that some of my clothes didn't fit when I came home. Whatever, breathing is overrated.

Lovely and quiet walk through the deserted streets of downtown Barcelona on my way to the airport bus. Where nightclubs stay open until sunrise, Sunday morning streets belong to travelers on their way to catch a flight. By the way, how cute is this tiny little street? So many of these.

No comments:

Post a Comment