Noun: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: “a fortunate stroke of serendipity”.
I’ve made a ridiculous number of lists in my new red Paris notebook: places in France I want to visit, places outside France I want to visit, things I want to do before I leave Dubai, shopping lists, to-do lists, lists of countries where I don’t need a visa…you get the point!
In the list of ‘Places I want to visit Outside France’ I had listed Barcelona. Little did I know I would have the immense pleasure of crossing it off that list so soon…aaah, the simple pleasures in life. The firm stroke of a pen slicing through an item on one of my many to-do lists makes my heart sing! This unexpected yet harmonious marriage of aspiration and fate is serendipity at its best!
This was my first visit to this city so I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s a huge city and there is a strange familiarity about its streets. Somehow despite the huge distances, everything feels connected. The famous buzzing street La Rambla leads to Columbus Circle that leads to the Marina. Behind La Rambla is the old Gothic City with small boutiques and museums including the Picasso Museum and the Museum of Modern Art leading to the aquarium by the sea. The central Avenguda del Parallel also leads to Columbus Circle. We walked and walked but also took lots of cabs! We weren’t as lucky with the weather as I had hoped. It rained once and was cloudy the rest of the time. Still we managed to discover as much as we could pack into our 4 1/2 days.
Gaudi’s impression on this city is everywhere! Even where he’s not. There is a clear pride running through the Barcelonians veins for this mad architect who has catapulted their city to fame. According to 2011 tourism statistics, Spain is the number 4 visited country in the world and Barcelona ranks high up there. This pride is not unwarranted. Gaudi was a genius. He is artistic, modern, ultra-creative and avant-garde and so his works of art stand the test of time and qualify as ‘wicked’ till today. His soul is everywhere even though his physical presence is scattered only in some areas around the city.
We visited the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, Park Guell and admired many of his lamposts and the famous mosaics that have woven their way into everything! Perhaps my favorite of all was the Casa Batllo. Sheer genius in a building. An incredible use of space, light and art for a genius balance of form and function.
We also visited the Olympic park home of the 1992 games, the food market (awesome!), Mont Juic by cable car, the castle up there, Plaza Espagna and my favorite street, Passageo Grace, a wide avenue full of designer shops, cafes and many untold stories. The paella, the signature Spanish food of yellow rice with green vegetables and a protein is served in various ways. I had it with chicken and another time with lobster and seafood. I recommend the seafood version which was excellent, Barcelona is by the sea after all!
I will definitely be back to this city…in the summer…when the sun is shining..and when I can also visit the beach. That said it seems to be one of those places that is swarming with tourists whenever you go, it certainly was last week!
I hope you enjoy my photos of gorgeous, mad, eclectic Barcelona. Viva Espagna!