The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Travel Time: Barcelona, You sneaky city!

Some cities you fall for instantly.  From the moment you step off the plane and the first time you see the sites you’re enamoured.  Barcelona didn’t do this for me.  Let me explain, I’ve been on a good few European breaks and honestly Budapest and Sienna grabbed me more quickly and I wasn’t sure that Barcelona would do the same.  Its squares didn’t have of the vast historical significance the Pantheon or the grandeur of Piazza del Campo but they had something else, something I didn’t see the first day I was there.   They had community.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  This trip was a birthday present from my husband – 4 nights and 5 whole days in Barcelona.  When we arrived we headed straight for the beach.  I’m not really a beach person but we found a nice shaded bar in which to sup cava and try out the tapas.  It’s here I found my heart softening.  Because Barcelonans know that truffles (in any variety) and cheese (in any variety) are wonderful bedfellows. 
The Gothic Quarter grabbed my attention as a well-trained suitor who doesn’t want you to know he likes you would, subtlety but with intent. As we strolled around winding streets and found ourselves in front of traditionally beautiful cathedrals I felt myself warming.  It may not be my favourite European getaway but it still had its charm.


Then I met Antonio Gaudi. Not literally of course as he died in 1926 but through the genius that is his architecture.  I genuinely do not understand why more architects, designers or artists haven’t followed his lead.  His buildings have an edge of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or the City of Oz about them.  All fantasy and fable but inspired wholly by the natural world as he said himself ‘Everything comes from the great book of nature’.   Sagrada família is bonkers, but anything that’s taken 200 years to finish and still be a priority has to be given probs, though I’d love to see the original estimate of time and cost to see if it had gone over budget a smidge!



If the cathedral gave me goosebumps Park Guell, Casa Batllo and La Pedrera damn near brought me to tears. I don’t often get all ‘connected’ to architects but I am quite certain that Gaudi and I would have gotten on extremely well.  His dreamlike vision and other dimensional ideas are what my creative side has been yearning for.  He’s like the grandfather I never had and if that’s a bit to stalkery for you I’m afraid you’ll just have to learn to deal with it. Because I love him.

On our first night we discovered the best little café bar in the city and visited/got inebriated in it every night thereafter.  You know when you walk into somewhere and they’re playing music that fits your vibe, have the kind of food that makes you want to gorge yourself like a foie gras goose and wine that makes you wonder what you have been drinking all these years? Well that’s Bar But.  I honestly think I may have to kill off some taste buds for a few days until I forget how good it all was so that I can enjoy the sustenance of home.  After three nights we made friends with the staff and my love for the city was cemented.

On the last day I saw more of that community I was talking about before.  Students sitting on piazza steps sharing fresh bread and tomatoes with their friends.  Children and dogs all scampering around whilst spritely grandparents smiled or chased after them.  The buildings all seemed to house independent businesses and had huge windows on the street level that you could look in.  Watching the leather goods makers, carpenters and interior designers so openly ignoring the bustling big city industries just a few streets away gave me pause.

As I walked around, the result of our EU referendum weighed heavy on my heart.  I saw family, not of blood but bonded from a shared space and felt we as a nation had opted out of being a part of something beautiful.  Turning our backs on our friends and neighbours to embrace dated traditions and an empty future.   Love for Barcelona sneaks up on you, at least that’s how it was for me.  I can't wait to go back as there was much I didn’t see and when I do I hope to be made to feel as welcome as I was this time. 

Have you ever been to Barcelona?

What was your favourite part?


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4 comments

stevewong said...

Gaudi was a god amongst men. Did you go inside the Sagrada Familia? I thought I had grown accustomed to his brilliance, but the interior had me shell-shocked. I literally couldn't speak for a few minutes, it was so breathtaking. I have visited many of the world's architectural treasures but this one transcends them all in my book.

Alice Toby-Brant said...

We ran out of time so no but it will definitely be my first stop when I go back... and I will go back! Thanks for stopping by.

Charlotte Steggz said...

I've never been, but while those buildings are pretty, we're going to need that food porn!! Truffles and cheese? I'm there!

Alice Toby-Brant said...

Take me with you!

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