Tales From Spain – Part 2 – Barcelona


Our days in lovely Barcelona, began and ended with Tapas – delicious small dishes accompanied by a glass of wine, coffee or sometimes, for me, an orange Fanta. I'm not European enough to do wine before lunch…even on vacation! 


We spent hours wandering the narrow streets of the the El Born and Gothic Quarters – the oldest parts of Barcelona – one brick I saw inscribed with the date 1644 – lovely, pedestrian and cosmopolitan.


Around a corner a church's bell tower juts to the sky, while the "pharmacia" sign blinks neon green.


I could have missed this amazing mail box slot in a blink of an eye. But the lovely swallows caught my eye, forever frozen in the stone carving. Just one of the many, many small details that grace this venerable city.


We had a chance to visit the largest market in Barcelona, La Bouqeria. Filled with tourists and locals alike…


….the colors of the produce and seafood and sweets…


…was overwhelming for my artist eyes…


…my camera clicking away…it was such a delight of the senses! Right away I snapped up a little carton of wild strawberries and ate them while wandering the aisles of this magnificent market. 


How to share and explain the wonder of Antonio Gaudi ? It's really impossible. I have two books on Gaudi architecture that I skimmed before the trip and until you see it up close, the photos just can't convey this mans grand and sweeping vision.


His passion for form drawn from nature; his structures as well. He had the vision, and he also had the crafts people and the patrons to make it come to life. I think perhaps that is a great part of this man's genius – his ability to inspire others to help bring his vision to reality in such a grand way.


We spent an afternoon with our wonderful guide, Cesar,  going to about 4 Guadi sites, including Parc Guell, where the photos above and below were taken. The stone work and mosaics are breathtaking.


A very religious man (he was killed when struck by a trolley car walking to church in 1926), this structure has a tower with a cross and the other topped with a mushroom.


His famous park benches, curve and undulate through a wide plaza – filled with too many people for my taste. I would have liked to go back at about 6:00 a.m. to enjoy some solitude with these works of mosaic magic.


Gaudi loved color, but knew that paint would not stand the test of time, so he came up with the idea of mosaics. Bright and colorful, this art form still vibrant after almost 100 years and the small broken shards can adapt to his curvacious, nature inspired forms.


These mosaics grace the ceiling of an intriguing pillar/cistern system he devised for the park.


Alive with color and form.


Even the stone pillars of the walkway come alive with a figure and make a good spot for a little avian reconnaissance.


Never completely square and straight, this wall undulates with concave and convex tile forms.


Afer all the walking and gawking at Gaudi we needed nourishment and a rest for our tired feet. We stopped at a place called, Bubo, purported to have the best chocolate cake in the world. Which I believe was a bit of an exageration, but my husband deemed his very, very good and my chocoloate mousse concoction in the glass more than hit the spot. And of course we "needed" our cafe con leche to see us through until dinner at 9:00.

Barcelona is a place I would most happily return to and I highly recommend it if you are in the neighborhood. Next up: an al fresco afternoon of paella making.

5 Responses to Tales From Spain – Part 2 – Barcelona

  1. Seth says:

    Such a great tour. You have really captured the essence of Barcelona here and I think you for reviving memories of my trip there!

  2. Renee Howell says:

    Wow – Gaudi is something, or was something. Hmmm – when the work is still “with” us – it’s an interesting concept, probably a wine discussion. THANKS for the photos. The fruit and vegetables make me want to take my camera over to Wild Oats and snap away. Thanks Fran!

  3. Stephanie says:

    oh! how I LOVE Barcelona….these images just took me sailing back…


    cafe con leche to top it off…mmmmmm

  4. Chris says:

    Okay, this post made me very happy.

  5. mary ann says:

    when i get home from school i’m going to read all of your barcelona posts in a row. AGAIN. then i’m going to wash, rinse, & repeat.
    that’s what i’m gonna do.

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