Melek and I went to Barcelona for the first time in 2016 and regretted very much not having gone there earlier. We had another short (one-day) visit in 2017, which only whetted our appetites for a return trip.
What impressed us most about Barcelona is how the city blends art, culture and history. It is a joy to walk along the boulevards, as the buildings left and right are each an architectural masterpiece. We experienced Barcelona’s famed cuisine with our good friends Oya and Ataman Aksoy and Kathy and Surinder Malik. Melek and I used the subway extensively, which is easy to master.
Our priority during the first visit was to hit the top tourist attractions. Except for Camp Nou, where the famed Barcelona soccer team plays, we were able to visit many of the top spots and walk in the Old Town, along the Ramblas and Paseo de Gracia, and the harbor.
On our first day, as we started from our hotel on Paseo de Gracia we ran into a mass demonstration supporting Catalan independence. We could sense the passion in the crowd even from a distance. I included a few of the photos in the gallery titled Around Town.
Our first stop was Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. Both inside and outside, every corner you looked at reflected the master’s genius. Regardless of your religious convictions, when you enter this cathedral you succumb to the feeling of peace that envelopes your senses. Despite the crowds, I would not hesitate to go there to experience the same solitude.
Next on our list was the Joan Miro Foundation Museum. We took the metro and the funicular to go there. A native of Barcelona, Miro’s work represents one of the best examples of surrealism and the museum has an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, murals and other forms of creations by Miro. The Museum also has an excellent shop, where we bought a print (which hangs on a wall in our Bodrum house) and other odds and ends. As photography was allowed (unlike the Picasso Museum which we visited the next day) I was able to capture some of Miro’s creations.
On our way back, we made a quick stop at the Barcelona Pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe as the German Pavillion for the 1929 Barcelona Exposition. We were interested in this building, in part because of our familiarity with the famous Barcelona Chair designed by the artist, several samples of which exist in the Pavilion. We were struck with the simplicity of the building’s architecture and the tasteful use of marble and stone to create a soothing feeling. I included a few photos to illustrate this.
The next day we visited the Picasso Museum. We marveled at the exquisite quality of his early (realist) paintings and observed his gradual transition to cubism. We wondered in the Gothic quarter, visited a produce market, watched a show at the beautiful Palau de la Musica Catalana and enjoyed a tapa dinner in the Ramblas. We also made sure to book tickets to Gaudi’s Park Güell for the next day.
Park Güell is situated on a hill overlooking the city. Gaudi’s structural concepts are well represented in the two buildings at the entrance. Most impressive are the mosaic works (such as the salamander in the middle of the stairs) and the surrounding walls. We spent a good two hours walking and enjoying the different structural elements in the park.
After the park we had just enough time for lunch at the Barcelona harbor and beach. The five galleries below should give you a sense of our first Barcelona visit. We visited Barcelona a second time (though only for a day) in 2017 as a port stop in a Mediterranean cruise. I included the photos from that trip along with others we took during that cruise.