Barcelona, t’estimo!

Above: photo taken in El Born

A little more than 10 days ago I finally handed in my thesis, and in order to celebrate and to relax I took a flight to Barcelona. Two of my friends, Gabriele and Eliana,  moved there from Italy a couple of months ago. Not only they are amazing hosts, they are also great tour guides. Thanks to them I learned a lot about the city, and I was able to discover the less touristic spots in town. Eliana is Spanish, so she taught me a bit about the history and culture (and geography) of Catalunya, not to mention helped translating menus from Catalan…

Join us for a little tour of Barcelona!

Above, my hosts. Below, a photo taken from the top of the Sagrada Familia, the contemporary Gothic/Art Nouveau cathedral that is still in construction (since 1882). The cathedral was designed by Catalan genius Antoni Gaudì. That suppository-shaped tower you can see in the distance (Torre Agbar) is also locally known as “el supositorio de Barcelona”.

Above and below: details from one of the doors of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral (I took tons of photos of those doors, and strangely enough not that many tourists stopped to really look at them. These doors are insane! You can find all sorts of crazy things and symbols in between the letters….).

After visiting museums, churches and so on there’s nothing better than relaxing on the beach, at the Barceloneta.

I love the way the city buildings cast shades on the beach.

And here I am at Parc Güell, another creation of Antoni Gaudì.

Below: a detail of the “bench”. I like how Gaudì incorporated broken tiles in many of his works. The colors are gorgeous.

From Parc Güell there’s a beautiful view of the city…

But to tell you the truth it is a little crowded with tourists up there! I feel bad for the people who live in Barcelona…it looks like it is impossible to truly enjoy this place in solitude.

Towards the end of the week we decided to leave the metropolis and we drove to a little town on the coast, Sitges. According to Wikipedia, “almost 35% of the approximately 26,000 permanent inhabitants of Sitges are from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Scandinavia”. Mmh, I wonder why?

Above: late afternoon in Sitges, end of October. Below, the sea side.

In the photo below you can see one of the many street performers. We still wonder how he did this!!

Another trivia: the founder of the Bacardi Rom, Facundo Bacardì, is a native of Sitges who moved to Cuba in 1830.

So if you are planning a trip to Barcelona (and surroundings)…lucky you! You’re gonna find sun, great – and cheap – food, a relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, an amazing public transport system, great art (Picasso and Mirò) and some amazing architecture (Gaudì in particular). On the negative side: Barcelona has virtually no public restrooms, and many shops and restaurants in the city are authentic tourist traps. Also – in case you visit in the weekend – know that museums close at 2pm on Sundays! Last tips: visit the beautiful Parco de La Ciudadela and the El Born neighborhood especially around Passeig del Born. Il Barri Gotic and Raval  at night. Do your trendy shopping in Gracia – lots of bio/organic cafeterias there too. Eat at La Llavor dels Origens if you don’t know where to go, I love that place – it’s a small chain and you can read more about it here.

Thanks again Eli & Gabriele – y hasta luego!!

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