Barcelona is much more than just Gaudi’s work. We enjoyed it’s beautiful weather, it’s beaches, it’s markets, and it’s Ciutat Vella (Old City). We spent most of Friday and Saturday in the old city and walking along the beach. While November wasn’t quite sunbathing weather, it was still nice enough to walk along the boardwalk in short sleeves, eat tapas outside at one of the restaurants, and sit on the bench enjoying the view of the Mediterranean Sea. Other than the beach, a Christopher Columbus statue that is pointing the wrong way and lots of boats, there isn’t too much to see or do along the waterfront, but it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the sublime weather.
The medieval part of the city is between the waterfront and where our hotel was. We stayed in the new part of the city which is officially outside what use to be the ‘old city’s’ wall. The new part of the city is incredibly clean, beautiful and modern. It has every thing you could possibly need. At times I almost forgot we were still in Spain. It’s very westernized with lots of high end shops and restaurants and nearly everyone seems to know English (and French, and Catalan, and Spanish). The ‘old city’ however is unique – you know you’re somewhere special. It almost feels like you’ve been transported back in time. Most of the old city dates back to the middle ages and there are even some Roman ruins dating back 2,000 years. Like Toledo, there are lots of narrow, cobblestone streets which are for pedestrians only – making it fun to wander around. Most of it is very well preserved, clean and safe. Inside all these beautiful old buildings are museums and churches as well as lots of cute shops and restaurants hiding in there too.
Among this maze of streets and alleyways we found the amazing Cathedral first, and then we saw three other old churches: Santa Maria del Mar (which use to be on the ocean and over time has become landlocked), Santa Maria de Pi (which was surrounded by art booths), and the cute little country church, Sant Pau de Campo. I really liked Sant Pau de Campo. It’s really tiny and it’s the oldest one in Barcelona at almost 1,000 years old. It use to be out in the sticks, now it’s in the middle of the city. When we were there, there were some musicians practicing inside and the acoustics were amazing. Barcelona’s old section also has it share of quaint plazas, hidden courtyards, parks, musicians, art, festivals and fresh food markets too. Despite spending the better part of two days down in that area, we didn’t come close to seeing everything. We’ll have to come back to Barcelona for sure. Just like Madrid, there is so much to see and do around there, it would take a long time to complete that list.
To see more pictures of Barcelona, click on the picture below: