Or Barcelona és una explosió de creativitat in good Catalan (thank you very much).
I had been to Barcelona before and I loved it then as much as I did now but this time I connected to the city in a very different way. While I searched for more creativity in my life I was exposed to a side of the city that I had not experienced before. Being in Barcelona is just like being in the middle of a creative explosion: food, art, design, architecture, soccer, street art. It was definitely our favourite place and here's why:
Amazing food – the tapas culture
If you live in North America you are probably used to tapas being extremely overpriced food served in ridiculously small portions. When you are in Barcelona you find exceptional dishes and flavors that are still served in small portions but at the right price. We did not have dinner a single time. It was all about ordering a lot of different tapas while having amazing caña (draft beer) and cava (sparkling wine). This is very similar to what we have in Brazil so we felt at home most of the time. Our favourite place was Lonja de Tapas and the favourite tapas was cured tuna with toasted almonds.
Cured tune with toasted almonds
Unbelievable architecture – Gaudi's legacy
Architecture is probably what Barcelona is most famous for. Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Parc Guell. Gaudi's legacy blew my mind 9 years ago as much as it did this time. Impossible shapes and angles, surprises hidden everywhere. His projects are nothing short of complex. The Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882 and the project is not expected to be completed until 2026. Lud and I have already planned on being there for the grand opening.
Chimneys at La Pedrera
Great art – Picasso and Miró
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso (gasp) a.k.a Pablo Picasso is another symbol of Barcelona. Even though he was not born there he spent one of the most creative periods of his life in the city. The Picasso museum is as much of an art work as the content it holds.
Fundació Joan Miró was another highlight of our trip. The building housing the museum is itself a notable example of modern design drawing from regional traditions. Miró's work is extremely creative and diverse. It goes from tapestry to painting and sculpting and it is all equally impressive.
Modern design – Disseny Hub
Finding Disseny Hub (disseny means design in Catalan) was a total fluke. We had heard about it, we wanted to check it out but we thought it was closed for the day. We decided to walk in and to our surprise it was open and it was also free. Disseny Hub Barcelona (DHUB) is a merger between a museum, a centre and a laboratory directed at promoting an understanding and proper use of design. The wallpaper exhibit was the highlight of this visit.
Music – Gadjo
This was a total surprise to us. We had not been exposed to Catalan music until we ran into Gadjo at Barceloneta. They were playing on the street and the set up was absolutely hilarious. The music was so engaging that I decided to break one of the rules I live by and I bought a physical CD. Well worth it. We also visited the Palau de Musica Catalana and it was a very special evening.
Més que un club – Barcelona FC
More than a soccer team. My soccer team of choice. In a place where creativity runs freely, one would expect it to make its way on to the soccer pitch as well and it did. Barcelona FC is the most creative and engaging football club on the planet. Touring Camp Nou was a dream come true. Too bad I could not catch a game...
Food, food, food - Mercat de La Boqueria
If you are a regular on this blog, you know how much I like markets. La Boqueria was the first place we went to and when we got there at 8 in the morning people were having beer, wine and tapas. I looked at Lud and said: "is this paradise? Pinch me!". Love at first sight for us! Amazing colours, sounds, sights... I could spend hours there tasting the fresh amazing food the city has to offer.
Barcelona is underrated. People always talk about how much they would love to visit it but it is never really part of the itinerary. These are just highlights but there is a lot more to it. It was definitely our favourite city and if you have never been there you should.