Last year, I took a vacation to Spain and traveled both in Madrid and into Andalusia, in southern Spain. I had a chance to get to know Spanish food and Spanish culture – and came back home knowing that I wanted to visit the country again. Thanks to a good airfare sale, I was able to get back to Spain this year. This time around I visited a completely different part of the country: Barcelona.
At the heart of Catalonia, Barcelona is almost like a different country when you compare it to some parts of Spain I visited before. It’s a vibrant city with their own language, their own traditions and even their own foods. Since the end of Franco’s era in Spain, there has been a huge resurgence of pride in all things uniquely Catalan as opposed to things that are traditionally “Spanish,” including an increased emphasis on teaching Catalan and Catalonian history in schools. The region was also the birthplace of the biggest food revolutions of the modern age: molecular gastronomy. Of course, you don’t need to have eaten at the now-closed El Bulli to appreciate the impact that it had on food. The food in Barcelona is fantastic and it’s a wonderful place for a little food tourism, as well as a place to visit museums, tour modernist architectural wonders, watch one of the best football clubs in the world in action (FC Barcelona) and relax on the beach.
Over the next couple of days, I’ll recap some of my favorite moments (yes, they do involved food – although seeing FC Barcelona play was amazing!) of the trip including visits to some truly outstanding restaurants, one of the most amazing markets in the world and some delicious desserts. I’ll update the list of posts here as I add them:
And I can’t resist sharing some photos of the city, as well:
Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and a guard house at Parc Guell. I’m pictured above with Gaudi’s dragon, which marks the entrance at the Parc.
Barcelona Coast, one of the busiest cruising ports in the Mediterranean.
Watching FC Barcelona beat Mallorca 5-0 at Camp Nou, one of the largest and most impressive sports stadiums in the world. It was a sold out crowd and the stadium seats just under 100,000 fans.
The Arc de Triomf, built in 1888. The front reads “Barcelona rep les nacions,” Catalan for “Barcelona welcomes the nations”
A street artist getting ready for a day of performing on Las Ramblas.
KalynNovember 8, 2011
My brother went there last year and loved it. Hope you are having a great time!
GemmaNovember 9, 2011
Thank you for your wonderful words about our city, it’s a great honor to receive your report on your holidays in Barcelona.
Receive my best wishes.
JulieNovember 11, 2011
Very timely, since we’re planning a visit in March! Did you get your tickets to Camp Nou when you were there, or could you order them in advance?
NicoleNovember 11, 2011
Julie – I ordered my tickets to FC Barcelona game in advance through ServiCaixa, which is partnered with Ticketmaster. You can order the tickets in advance and pick them up at an atm (Caixa is a major bank). It worked out very well and was very easy to do. Definitely get tickets in advance, as the games frequently sell out:
JulieNovember 11, 2011
Thanks for the advice, Nicole! It sounds very straightforward, which is what I was hoping. Our family is split between wanting to return to Paris and going somewhere new – Barcelona. I’m drooling over your pictures now so I’m hoping I can prevail. Not that Paris would be too bad… 🙂