Barcelona, Spain Day 1

                                                        Christopher Columbus Monument

April 15, 2012

One of the landmarks in Barcelona is the Christopher Columbus Monument, located at the foot of La Rambla, the major pedestrian shopping street.  The monument is located at the site where Columbus returned to Spain after his first voyage to the Americas.  The sculpture in this photo is called ‘Waves’, by a Valencian artist, Andreu Alfaro.  Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain (after Madrid), with a population of about 1.6 million.  It was originally founded as a Roman city, and there are some Roman ruins to be seen, such as the temple of Augustus that dates from the late first century BC, next to the city museum (shown at right).

Barcelona includes a wide range of architectural styles, which contribute to the beauty of the city.  In the gothic quarter, the old city center, there are buildings like the old cathedral which dates from the 13th century, city hall, and governor’s palace.

In other areas you can see buildings designed in the Catalan Art Nouveau style.  These buildings were designed primarily by Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Antoni Gaudí, and many have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  (There will be more about Gaudí’s work in the Barcelona Day 2 post.)  The many sculptures in the city range from the traditional, such as Columbus, to very modern, like the Cap de Barcelona, a pop art representation of a woman’s head created for the 1992 Olympics.

For our tour today we chose one called ‘Barcelona Sights and Flamenco Show’.  Because we have been to Barcelona before (see 2009 Mediterranean Cruise blog), the sights pictured so far, except the Roman temple, are familiar to us from that visit.  It was nice to see them again.  The tour included driving past a couple of Gaudi buildings, and a short photo stop at the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia (Holy Family Basilica), possibly Gaudí’s most famous work (detail of the nativity façade pictured at right).  The basilica is so tall that it dominates the skyline of the city, even from a distance.  From there we went up to El Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village), which recreates architectural styles from the various regions of Spain and houses shops of artisans of those regions.  By this time a light rain had set in, but we did not get too wet as we headed for our destination, a place that offered a flamenco show.  The show was outstanding.  There was a guitarist, a singer, and a male and a female dancer.  The dancers did solo numbers as well as dancing together.  The dancing was very skilled and passionate.  It is intended to tell a story which we did not know anything about, but it was absorbing just watching the dancers.  While we were there we had a little snack which included some local wine.  

Our final stop on the tour was the area with the Olympic venues, but it turned out to be a quick stop because the weather was cold, windy and rainy.  Too bad, because there are some great views from that area.

It was a real joy to be back in Barcelona.  The city has much to offer visitors, and the familiar sights are welcoming.

Don’t forget to check out all the photos in the album.

                                                                       Barcelona Harbor

© Susan L. Stone 2015