Barcelona is a hip, young, university town. It’s easy to get around on foot, at least in the tourist areas. It is one of my very favorite European cities. It’s fun.

Like so many European cities, it got its start during medieval times. The original walled city is called the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). A few parts of the wall still stand, but they are almost obliterated by the more modern, cosmopolitan city that surrounds the Gothic Quarter. It is a delight to walk through the narrow lanes that are full of funky shops, cafes, and tapas bars.
Barcelona Gothic quarter, Carrer del Bisbe

Today’s Barcelona is the city that the 1990 Olympics built. This was where the flame once burned, outside the stadium.


They transformed a former quarry into a vast Olympic venue. I was captivated by the artistic way they incorporated gears, gaskets and other findings into the pavement.

Before the Olympics, Barcelona was a dot on the map. But what they built for the Olympics made the city what it is today, so it is an important part of the history of this place, strange as that may seem. They built a marina, a beach, and a modern cruise ship terminal that can handle several monster ships.

Another thing that jumps out at you is the architecture. Barcelona beyond the old city was being built up during the Modernism era around the turn of the century, and several architects built houses for the nouveau riche at the time. One of them was Antoni Gaudi (“gowdee”), whose works are all over Barcelona.


All well and good, but it’s his jaw-dropping, astonishing La Sagrada Familia that steals the show. It’s a work in progress, still unfinished since it was begun in 1882.

It lanquished for several decades, but now they are working day and night to finish it by 2026, which will mark 100 years since Gaudi’s death. HERE is a short film if you’re interested.

We went inside. It is like being in a magical forest. IMG_2496

The stained glass windows cast soft colors on the pillars. I don’t need to tell you that pictures do not begin to do justice to this place.

The outside is pretty amazing too. It tells the life story of Jesus. IMG_2495


Flamenco is not Barcelona. Flamenco is Sevilla, but our companions had never been to Spain so we went to a flamenco show. It was the real deal.

Next up is Provence and Monte Carlo.


  1. Hi Sis, Glad you are home safe and sound. The photos are great! The Gothic part of town is intriging (sp.). I wonder what the houses are like inside--cold and stone or warm with a large hearth. Anyway, my imagination is running a little wild (I just had sugar in my breakfast food). Looking forward to more commentary and photos. xoxo M.

  2. I especially like inclusion of objects in the pavement! Great pics, Rian!

  3. Aaahhh...I really need to back there.. A wonderful city and the pics brought back so many good memories. Loved the mix of the architectural ages, anything Gaudi, the tapas, the easy transportation, the double decker tour bus.... our spotless apartment near the beach. Yes, I really need to go back. And next time, we'll do all of Spain. Time to start planning..............


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