Barcelona has been on my “to visit” list for a long time. It’s definitely safe to say that I had great expectations from visiting the city and I was quite looking forward to it. Yet, while I cannot say that I didn’t enjoy my time here, I can neither say that this was the love story I was expecting. And I’m thinking that this happened because I had a projection in mind and…well, you know, maybe this is not always a good thing, be it when we talk about travel or maybe anything else in life.
Quite honestly, I think I was expecting Italy. That feeling for which I will come back again and again in Tuscany and in Rome …well-being, stress free living… Barcelona has it and doesn’t, I would say.
It did feel more like a CITY. A beautiful one, with great architecture and history and places to emerge into tradition. But I would say it was not quite as relaxed as the Italian cities. Or maybe I wasn’t…there’s always the other side to the story, too.
That being said, I would for sure come back to explore more and get a chance to actually fall in love with Barcelona. Nevertheless, even for now I can list a few mini love stories.
La Boqueria was definitely one of them. It has the vibe of food markets such as Borough Market in London or Mercato Centrale in Florence, but somehow more functional. The social side is not that developed, although there are places where you can sit and eat in the market. For me, the number one attraction here were the freshly squeezed juices. Totally amazing. And even this might be some kind of an understatement😊 Well, the best fresh juices I have ever tasted and I’m standing by this.
La Sagrada Familia. Of course, food before spirituality, but what can I do? Now, it might be completely stereotype to equal Barcelona to La Sagrada Familia, but it is one of a kind and you cannot deny this even if you hate it and the whole idea and hysteria behind it. Whatever one might say, Gaudi was a genius and his mind worked in ways completely different than the average. What he envisioned here is really outstanding and the level of detail is amazing. The shapes, the corners, the way the light falls, everything is so unusual, you cannot say it’s not a masterpiece. Also, it’s the most optimistic church I have ever seen. No gloomy feelings or cold arches, just lots and lots of light and colours. It’s no doubt a celebration of life.
Casa Mila. Looking from the outside, hard to imagine that the primary function of the building is to actually be lived in. And thinking about the time it was built, it seems even more spectacular. But no form without function, no beauty just for beauty’s sake – that’s what Gaudi did and advocated for and this is a great illustration of this belief. On the inside, everything speaks comfort and does just what is supposed to be. The apartment that is open for visitors is quite charming and it’s really an immersion into another age, another world. So definitely go visit it.
The streets and all the buildings. A mere walk, not visiting anything in particular, is a great experience. It’s true that we kept manly in the city center (the extended city center😊), but buildings in Barcelona are a piece of art in themselves. Barri Gotic gives you that mysterious feeling and the more recent buildings bring what lies beyond that feeling into today’s reality. I believe they speak about the people of Barcelona, of them being proud of who they are and of the care they put into their everyday life.
And speaking of this, at some point we came across a folk group, dressed in period costumes. It was great to see how proud they and the people on the streets were of their traditional values and it’s clear how that translated over time.
So, if you’re wondering – is this a positive text or not? – the answer is yes.
But, probably, as I’ve said, I had a set of expectations in mind and I must continue to make friends with Barcelona.