Tapas, Sangria, Football, Architecture and Beaches. These are a few images that come to mind when I think of Spain’s second largest city. Legend has it the city was founded by Hercules 400 years before the building of Rome. With a history that deep it’s no wonder Barcelona holds the title as the 16th most visited city in the world. I want a chance to Go With Oh to Barcelona so I can explore all the sights, sounds and tastes the city has to offer. Here is my top 5 wish list of things to do if I get a chance to visit the heart of Catalonia.
1. Discover Medieval Barcelona. Barcelona held an important role as a trading center in the Mediterranean during the middle ages; today in the Gothic Quarter the Medieval significance is still alive. I’d like to see where the city’s original Roman villages were built and how they’re now juxtaposed to modern day buildings with the latest technology. I want to follow the winding pathway from the Gothic center to the seaside where the traders, craftsmen, sailor’s and fishmongers used to live and work. I want to see and hear the stories of the city’s past.
2. Take a day trip to Montserrat. About an hour outside of the city lies the striking mountain town of Montserrat. Well known for its unique jagged mountain peaks and the Monks who live in its Monastery; there is another reason I want to visit this picturesque town. The town is home to the shrine of “The Black Virgin Mary” which has become a point of pilgrimage for over a thousand years. I’d like to take the train from Barcelona and the cable car up the mountain to learn the legends that live in the mountains of Montserrat which helped the Catalan culture spread it wings.
3. View the Architecture of Antoni Gaudi. Commencing in 1882, and still under construction to this day, the Sagrada Familia is literally a one of a kind. It embraces, and takes to incredibly new heights, the four loves found in all of his work: nature, religion, architecture and his love for Catalonia. I’d like to tour his architectural works throughout the city to get an idea of their unique and individual complexity. I want to discover what other architects across the globe find influential in his works. Learning what motivated and inspired Mr. Gaudi will be an invaluable take away form the city.
4. Explore Catalonian gastronomy. The Boqueria Market is the heart of Barcelona’s culinary scene. The market is notorious for selling fresh fish, meats and vegetables which local restaurateurs use to create their menu’s on a daily basis. Combining these ingredients with flavorful olive oil is a main characteristic of this mouth watering Mediterranean cuisine. Mar I Muntanya, the region’s version of “Surf and Turf,” embodies everything Catalan. I’d like to visit the market, explore the food stalls and talk with the merchants to source out the best of this delicious dish.
5. Chill out on Barcelona’s beaches. Soaking up the Spanish sun is not all the city’s golden sandy beaches have to offer. Drum pounding street musicians, artists who use the sand as their canvas and dancing doughnut salesmen are some of the unique sights to see amongst the sun drenched crowd. With towel and beach gear in hand checking into one of Barcelona’s beaches will be a perfect way to enjoy the Spanish siesta. I’d like to hit Barceloneta Beach, settle into one of the fun beach huts and soak up the sun, the fun and the doughnuts on the beach.
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