Barcelona is one of those cities that stands alone. Multifaceted, multicultural, multi. . . everything. Like Cairo, Istanbul, Hong Kong, and New York, Barcelona doesn’t belong to a specific country or even region. It may be in Spain and the political and cultural center of Catalonia, but it pays little homage to either one.
Buildings along Las Ramblas.
Barcelona is a city with style in a down-to-earth manner. It doesn’t look sophisticated in the sense of Paris or even cosmopolitan like New York; it’s an in-your-face boldness. Mountains nearby, the sea an integral part of the city, diverse architecture, expansive public space. Las Ramblas, the famous walking street, is a seductive public space where one can spend hours whether people watching or taking in the architecture on either side. Walking through the city is worthwhile for the sights, but there is also excellent public transportation.
Lots of public art including this gigantic fish sculpture at one of the beaches.
It’s much more than Gaudi, though his influence is not to be ignored, for there’s also a Romanesque and Gothic tradition, museums dedicated to Picasso, Miro, ceramics, futball, of course art and science, and numerous others.
Picasso’s family moved here when he was 14, and the museum dedicated to him is an eye-opener in terms of his early work. His drawings of horses when he was about 15 (if I remember correctly) were not just anatomically exact, but you could feel the muscle and movement. Here’s a detail from a later drawing but still before his cubism and modern work.
It’s also a city where meals matter with a cuisine influenced by the sea and the land as well as all the Mediterranean fruits, nuts, vegetables, and, of course, wine.
A typical seafood market, with one of my favorites–octopus.
One notices light and detail throughout the city—inside and out.
Stained glass windows inside Sagrada Familia.
I would go back in a New York minute!