Barcelona Memories

The editor of TravelMuse shares her favorite sites and experiences of Spain’s gem on the Mediterranean.

Barcelona is a feast for anyone who loves architecture, art and design. The city teems with intriguing buildings by Gaudí; artworks from Miró, Picasso and other creative Spaniards; and boutiques filled with unique clothing, jewelry and housewares.

I spent a few days in Barcelona in winter 2001, and what has stayed with me most from that trip is the Passion façade from La Sagrada Familia, which you can see part of on our issue cover and a more detailed image below. I’ve seen my share of religious buildings and symbols around the world, yet those stark, modern sculptures representing Christ’s last days and resurrection were captivating, haunting and peaceful, all at the same time. They were created in the 1950s by Josep Subirachs, and they differ significantly from the more fanciful work of Gaudí’s Nativity façade on the other side of the church.

Also impressive: Gaudí’s Casa Mila, aka La Pedrera (the quarry), with its rolling walls and funky, phallic-symbol rooftop; the Textile and Costume Museum, with a collection that ranges from 4th century Coptic textiles to contemporary cloths; the Miró Museum (Fundació Joan Miró) for a wonderful collection of the first famous artist whose work I fell in love with when I was a young adult (I appreciate Pablo Picasso, but enjoyed Miró and Salvador Dalí more); and, of course, shopping. I scored a beautiful lilac, linen pantsuit, the style of which I never saw in any stores back in the States. I continued to get compliments on it right up to the day when I finally had to retire it to the souvenir section of my clothes closet, after more than five years of service.

Then there’s the food. All I can say is that the meals were outstanding everywhere we ate, and I savored bacalao (cod) and pulpo (octopus) tapas daily.

So if you’re familiar with my previous articles on TravelMuse about destination’s I’ve visited, you might wonder why I didn’t write more about the food in Barcelona.

That’s because our local expert on all-things-Barcelona, Regina W.B., wrote an excellent Taste Buds column on her top picks for where to eat while visiting the Catalan capital. She also shares her insider tips about planning the perfect trip to Barcelona in Rambling Along La Rambla, and brings a current view on the boutique scene and where to shop in the city.

Paula Klein and her 16 year-old daughter tested the teen-friendliness of Barcelona last year in Teen Travel Treats. The city passed with flying colors. For those with younger children, Jen Karetnick made some time to explore Barcelona with her husband and two children before they left on a Disney cruise through the Mediterranean in her article Three Days in Barcelona.

So now that you’ve decided to add Barcelona to your TravelMuse Trip list on our Planner, you need to know which guidebook is for you. Check out Kim Foley MacKinnon’s book reviews of Luxe Barcelona and TimeOut Barcelona.

While you’re doing that, I’m going to go pay my respects to my old purple pantsuit and perhaps make some bacalao for dinner tonight.

Happy travels,

Donna M. Airoldi
Editorial Director

Destinations: Barcelona