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How did we travel in Spain years ago and miss this vibrant and interesting city? We think we made up for it over the past five days spent here.
Barcelona is our first stop in a three-part European trip. We met up here with our friend and travel agent Donna, her husband Joe, and four others at the modern Olivia Balmes Hotel. Next we'll climb aboard AmaDagio river boat hotel for a week-long Rhone River wine cruise, and conclude our trip with five days hanging around Paris.
Early on we visited Antoni Gaudi's church, Sagrada Familia. He took over the construction from another architect in 1883 and continued the work until he died in 1926. An enormous project, work continues today and is scheduled to be completed on 2026—100 years after Gaudi's death. The interior is beautiful, but cranes are active on the exterior working to conclude the construction on time. Gaudi has other buildings in the Eixample neighborhood that are a must see—Casa Mila and the Block of Discord drew crowds, including us.
Gaudi's Church inside and outside
Before we left home, we signed up for a Barcelona Cooking School class with Chef Candida Cid. Six of us and Chef walked to the nearby market, Mercat de la Boqueria, where he explained different foods available and how they were prepared. Back at the school, we cooked our own Catalan lunch that included Paella, squash soup and Catalan Cream for dessert.
On other days we walked down the Ramblas to the port and were amazed at all the gigantic yachts. For several hours we enjoyed The Catalan Art Museum's Romanesque art saved from remote Catalan rural churches. We followed Rick Steve's guidebook and walked the El Born neighborhood that included a visit to the Picasso Museum and great shopping!
Cooking with Chef at Barcelona Cooking School and a view of Barcelona
One day Donna arranged a tour for our group in Barcelona with a local knowledgeable guide and driver in a small van. We saw wonderful views of the city and learned much about the culture and history from Marta.
For dinner, we often ate tapas at small nearby restaurants. Our feast included olives, mushrooms, spicy sausages, grilled shrimp (or lamb or pork), mussels or sometimes something unknown, all washed down with beer or wine.
Gelato for dessert and tapas in Barcelona
One night six of us went out to dinner, but our restaurant had plumbing problems. The owner took us to another nearby restaurant, but unfortunately it was fully booked. Then he took us to a third restaurant, Les Fernandez. They had one table available and we took it. We were treated us as special guests and enjoyed a most wonderful meal that we will never forget.
Happy Travels, Janet and Stu
Barcelona is on my list, and I loved seeing it through your eyes. Thanks for the post and photos!
This is one place that is still on our bucket list. I've been reseaching it for a trip down the line. Enjoy.