“Like a Grandpa bouncing a baby on his knee, Spain is a mix of old and new, modern and traditional.”
When we talked about traveling in Spain we wanted it partly to be an education for our children. Our oldest is majoring in French and Spanish. Our middle son will study art. Our youngest is showing a great interest in architecture. My husband and I love it all plus the food and wine. So it turns out that Barcelona was a perfect start to our trip. Here is some art, architecture and culture you don’t want to miss.
Gaudi – We are great lovers of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Mid-Century Modern movement. Antoni Gaudi started building his Modernista buildings in the late 1800′s. The Modernista movement is the Spanish equivalent to the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau. Gaudi brought his passions, nature, religion and Catalunya culture together in all his works. We visited the Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia and Casa Mila.
The Parc Guell is the result of Gaudi’s love of nature mixed with architecture. It was supposed to be a housing development that was years before it’s time. It flopped. Gaudi lived in the one house that was built. There are great views from here and it’s a pleasure to walk all around.
The next favorite Gaudi site, one that cannot be missed in Barcelona, is the Sagrada Familia, a Modernista church that will not be finished for years. Gaudi used his devotion to God and his love of nature as he designed and built his epic Cathedral. Inside the nave columns rise like trees in a forest and light fills the nave.
Gaudi’s Casa Mila or La Pedrera (An apartment building) completed in 1912. He brought his natural designs to families. Light come in big windows. Tiles come together to make nautilus inspired designs. He even made the chimneys into whimsical designs.
The Ramblas - Ramblas is Arabic means stream. the The Ramblas is a stream of people walking in the world’s first Pedestrian street (see first picture above). We loved walking down the Ramblas from Placa Catalunya all the way down to the Harbor. Sure, it’s a little touristy but we’re tourists! We loved walking through the Boqueria Market, just off the Ramblas. It was filled with stalls of veggies and fish, plus tiny restaurants serving anything you wanted… cava (Spanish champagne) cold beers, coffee…
We ate Serrano Ham like French Fries!!
The Old Town – The Bari Gothic
The Gothic Quarter, with its winding streets and little squares. is place meant to get lost in! We watched interesting musicians and watched children play in the squares.
La Ribera – is a chic part of the old town where we ate the best tapas and went to the Picasso Museum.
At Sargardi’s you eat as many Tapas as you want and then the waitress/waiter counts the toothpicks to tally up your bill. We sat outside, drinking the Basque white wine and savoring every bite. If we go back anywhere for a second meal, this will be it!!
Here is John at the Picasso Museum which is housed in ancient mansion I love that the museum follows Pablo Picasso’s life in biographical order from his early works as a teenage prodigy, his blue period, cubism and his last works from his window in his house in Cannes, France. There is something about the presentation that makes you like Picasso!
The Harbor is filled with boats and yachts. The kids also enjoyed a break here on a little patch of grass showing off their backflips.
We loved our trip to Barcelona!! Hope you did, too, from the comfort of home. If you want to go to Barcelona but can’t quite yet….Read SHADOW OF THE WIND by CARLOS RUIZ ZAFÓN It is a best selling novel here in Spain and in the US. Watch Vicky Christina Barcelona, (but don’t watch with kids!) Directed by Woody Allen.
“I live in a city open to the sea, kind to the visitor, with beaches, and Festivals; I live in a city made of the sum of little towns and of big cultures; I live in a modernist / contemporary / modern / ancient / gothic city; I live in the city of design and of art, I live in Barcelona”.