Events Tourist

A Trip to Spain – Barcelona

Authors NoteLinda and took an 18 day trip to Spain.  It was not part of a professional photo-shoot. I carried only an IPhone and the Sony RXR1 as photographic gear.  It was agreed, as with most vacation trips we take, the photos would be captured as Tourist shots.

Barcelona is a large city located on the Mediterranean coast in the autonomous region of Catalonia in the country in Spain. It is the second largest city in Spain (1.4M city proper 4.8M metro). Barcelona has a very distinct vibe.  Barcelona and Catalonia, go out of their way to let you know (with constant reminder) that they stand on their own from Spain.  Barcelona is overtly trying to put its rough hewn industrial past in the rear-view mirror.  For the most part, Barcelona is succeeding.

As with many European cities. Barcelona is a walking town, and Linda and I are walking people. Linda and I stayed six nights in a home in the Olympic Village district originally built in 1992 for the Barcelona Olympics  This is an area experiencing significant change.  It is moving from industrial to residential at a sprinter’s pace.  We had easy access to museums, places of historical note, and terrific local establishments.

The big tourist spots (Beachfront, La Sagrada Familia La Rambla, Rambla del Poblenou, Santa Maria Del Mar, The Picasso Museum, Park Güell, Montjuïc, and Sagrada Família) are worth every moment of your time. We really liked the fact we could walk from our home to these areas of interest.  It allowed Linda and I to learn a great deal about Barcelona and its residents.

Barcelona is experiencing a period of heavy construction. Whole sections of the city are being torn down to make way for new housing and buildings.  Major thoroughfares are being turned into pedestrian walkways and parks.  Madrid, and Sevilla are well established as pedestrian friendly cities  Barcelona is well on its way to reaching the same status.  Linda and I walked through some of the locations making the change – for example Diagonal Avenue. The result will be impressive.

However, the change is not complete.  Also, a few of the neighborhoods we walked through did not feel nearly as safe as those in Madrid or Sevilla. Graffiti in Barcelona is extensive – almost overwhelming at times. However, Old Town, Barcelonnette, Poblenou and the long stretch of waterfront – created as a result of hosting the Olympic Games are inviting as can be, and different from each other.  It is these areas that capture the hearts of those visiting Barcelona.

Barcelona has much more of a mix of old and new styles than Madrid and Sevilla.  It also has pockets of remarkable, eye-popping beauty that appear almost out of nowhere.

Jordi and Manuel’s home. Manuel is an artist gaining a strong following in Barcelona. Linda and I purchased Manuel’s “Still Life” (upper tight-hand side on wall).
Jordi and Manuel’s home. Jordi and Manuel have “buffed out” the unit built for housing referees of the games.
La Sagrada Familia. It is the largest (unfinished) Catholic Church in the world. It was started in 1882. It is slated to be finished in 2027.
La Sagrada Familia
Sand art on the beachfront.
A family style Tapas restaurant up in the hills overlooking the city. It is 10:30PM and packed to the gills with families and their friends. A birthday party for a young teenager was occurring as well.
An entire block -across the street from Jordi and Manuel’s place – was leveled and being cleared as we visited. Well, almost and entire block. We learned the building owners had yet to give in.
Barcelona is warm and comfortable in November. However, leaves do fall.
I constantly threaten Linda with the possibility of purchasing a Polaris Razor half-tack for the back-country in winter in Idaho, or a new boat for venturing up and down the Na Pali Coast in Kauai. I established a new potential threatened purchase while walking in Barcelona.
Rambla del Poblenou. A much more interesting pedestrian walk-way than the more famous La Rambla.
A new building of housing going up in the la Poblenou neighborhood. I did not need my lessons from Babble to teach me the building owner was not happy with progress toward completion. Or that the contractor did not seem to share the same concern.
Places to eat and drink of a variety of style and cost exist on the beachfront.
Beach Volleyball is definitely a thing in Barcelona.
The city’s construction for the Olympics consisted of a great deal of glass and concrete.
The Olympic harbor
The City has an underground exhibit of its history from its start (as Bacila) in Roman times through the 8th century in one location. Absolutely fascinating.

— Jeff’s Worthless Trivia and Other Thoughts —

Linda and I are members of HomeExchange.  It is an organization of home owners who trade staying at each other’s home.  Linda and I have been members since HomeExchange’s inception in the 1990’s.  We exchanged with Jordi and Manuel in Barcelona. Because of its Olympic Village heritage the unit is just over 534 square feet. Jordi and Manuel have outfitted the unit in such a manner it would receive a Gold Medal for interior design.  It was a wonderful place to stay who in Barcelona.  In my mind, staying in someone’s home is vastly superior to that of a hotel. The HE ground rule is no money is exchanged between the Members. Home Exchange verifies (prior to getting a membership), people are who they say they are, the home is real, and they own it.

As with many of the European countries, the operating aspect of daily life is distinctly different than the United States.  The day in Madrid, does not really begin until 10AM.  Some shops (Coffee, Bakery, etc.) will open at 8AM.  They are few and far between.  Most operations close down for a few hours starting at 2PM and re-open at 5PM.  Most restaurants if open during the daytime will close at 2PM and re-open at 8PM.  Nightlife continues well into the morning hours.

Barcelona has an extensive rail, subway, bus, and cab system.  We walked, but if any of these transportation options are needed or desired – they were close by and readily available at all hours.  A car is not needed to enjoy central Barcelona,  In fact it is a liability.

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