Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beautiful Barcelona

For the last weekend of April (almost two weeks ago by now — yikes), we went to Barcelona on the Spanish Mediterranean coast with our flatmates Sarah and Bryce. Sarah is the one we first talked to via email about renting the house in the first place, so basically it's because of her we were able to get a spot in such a great house; since then, too, the 4 of us have become really good friends.

Our first impression of the city was the Arc de Triomf. It's set in a pleasant little park, and already we could tell that Barcelona is a city that concerns itself with having beautiful buildings and public spaces. Yes, the Arc de Triomph in Paris is bigger and more famous, but this one's quite nice as well.

Our hotel room was in the Old City, a maze of narrow, charismatic streets that could just as soon be in Italy as in Spain. From our hotel room, here's the view to the left,

the right,

and down!

Turns out we were just above a groovy little smoothie shop! Yes, we had smoothies for breakfast the next day and yes, they were fantastic!

From there, we hit the beach. I had never seen the Mediterranean before, so I was quite excited. Turns out that it was overcast and windy when we got there, so it didn't look too spectacular at first. We were able to get these pics the next day before dinner, though.

Growing up in the desert, I'm not exactly a beach aficionado, but I was surprised to see it so clean in the heart of a big city. Plus, after an evening of sangria, there were all kinds of things to climb on!

I didn't know about this until right before our trip, but one of the main figures in the history of the city is Antonio Gaudi, an architect whose creativity and vision might be likened to Salvador Dali or the modern architect Frank O. Gehry. Not that Gaudi's work mirrors theirs, only that all three are strikingly original and fascinating.

Here, for instance, is his apartment building known as 'la Pedrera' and his masterpiece, the still-under-construction 'Temple de la Sagrada Familia', which is impossible to adequately depict on film.

It's also clear that Gaudi's influence rippled through the rest of the city, because most buildings are more interesting or evocative than they typically are in other cities — parts of Barcelona are almost showcases for slightly quirky architecture.

And to conclude our weekend? ¡Paella y sangria!

Here are more pictures from the trip: facebook album

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