For someone who is single there’s nothing like being in a romantic city on Valentines day. Okay, I suppose Venice, Paris or Rome could be much worse, but even Barcelona was packed with cute couples, decorated shop windows with hearts, cupids, roses and everything and special Valentines offers in bars and restaurants.
Despite me not having many reasons to be fond of this little feast of love I too found something very much appealing in it: the smell of fresh flowers was everywhere, bakeries and patisseries strived to bring their shop displays to perfection and show off by baking the most amazing cakes, cupcakes, macaroons or any other pastries you could imagine. If one could get fat just by looking at them you could roll me like a ball now.
As for the city, streets and little shops, I’ve run out of superlatives by midday and just stuck with “beautiful”. We did some sightseeing that day and saw two very famous sights Casa Batlló and Sagrada Família.
Casa Batlló is one of the two most famous “casas” in Barcelona (the other one is Casa Milá) and both are on the same street – Passeig de Grácia. Antoni Gaudí must have been on drugs while designing this house, but at least the builders clearly weren’t for despite the house’s uneven shapes and Gaudí’s evident aversion to straight lines the house still stands and endures millions of tourists every year. The visit was definitely worth it – the interior was beautiful – but you have to be a patient personality with the ability to put up with loads of people to truly enjoy it. Sometimes even, you might get the feeling like there’s some kind of a photo contest going on there. And yes, you’ll see many, many selfie sticks. Audio guide with the description of each room is included in the price of the ticket so it’s even funnier how people walk around with what looks like an old mobile phone, trying to listen carefully to what the woman in the speaker says while trying to look around and take pictures at the same time, struggling to get the best shots of the place with as little of them photobombed as possible.
The art nouveau of Gaudí is characteristic for the whole Barcelona and you can either love it or hate it. This casa is a good example of how even the most mundane and everyday things can play with your senses. I was especially blown away by the myriad of patterns and colours that literally jumped from behind each corner at you.
Sagrada Família a.k.a. I too want to have a picture with a crane. Yes, those cranes are obviously never leaving. Couple of years back I told myself I will go to Barcelona once Sagrada Família is completed and there will be no cranes overshadowing its greatness. Turns out I would have to wait until I’m 37 so I decided to just put up with it. Gaudí was a proper genius and when he started to plan a project, he planned it big. He knew he would never see his masterpiece done, nor his children, nor grandchildren most likely (if he had any, I don’t know).
In a nutshell, Sagrada Família is a crowded construction site. You might find it harsh – but it is what it is. The inside of the cathedral is magnificent though: the ceiling, the columns, the stained glass windows. Even from outside it impresses you with its detailed ornamentations covering the whole surface – so typical for Gaudí. But looking up from the ground you see only cranes and looking down from one of the towers (I went to the Passion Tower) you see only scaffolding. And people. Queuing or taking pictures 🙂
I always try to see beauty in everything and everywhere and there is a great massive load of beauty in Barcelona. Patterns everywhere. Colours everywhere. Lively atmosphere. Laid back locals. Good food…
If you are not overfond of crowds you most likely won’t find Barcelona appealing unless you picture it without them (or at least minus half of them). If you can do it, then it becomes enchanting and inspirational and you might eventually fall in love.