Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Senior Destination: Barcelona, Spain
Senior Destination: Barcelona, Spain PDF Print E-mail

We flew redeye to Barcelona from New York, arriving at the hotel at one pm, then fell right to jet lag induced sleep. We woke up hungry at midnight, and wondered if we could find an all-night cafe nearby. We walked around the corner from our hotel and found bright lights, crowds of strolling people and every restaurant open and jumping. That was our first impression of Spain’s northern coast city of Barcelona: a lively pleasure, both day and night.

Church in Barcelona

Before we ventured out to explore the exciting streets and buildings the next day, we looked for a place to eat lunch. We discovered a little mom and pop restaurant that served a chicken and rice dish that rivaled anything the great chefs could come up with in all the world's lush resorts. We sat by the big plate glass window, and other tourists stopped to stare at two elder Americans enjoying our tasty meal. I’m sure we enticed others to come in later and sample the fare.

However, we did have a problem before we started our touring. My spouse speaks excellent Spanish, but when she tried to converse with the mom and pop owners, at first she couldn’t understand what they were saying. It was then we found out that Barcelona residents today prefer to speak their ancient language of Catalon. It’s almost Spanish, but trying to understand it is comparable to conversing with a 15th Century London resident of Geoffrey Chaucer’s era.

Barcelona is a colorful, modern port city. In fact, it is where modernism in art and architecture was started. All around are examples of Joan Miro paintings and sculpture, while building shines with the multi-colored glass creations of Antoni Gaudi.The city also boasts of many music, theater and other forms of entertainment.

Gothic Square features the Cathedral of Barcelona dates from the early 15th Century, but like many buildings in the city, it has always been a work in progress. It wasn’t officially completed until the 1920s. .

The most Goudiesque image in Barcelona is the Temple de la Sagrada Familia. Up close, its soaring towers lookas if a crew of mad sculptors have modeled columns of broken glass, ceramic tiles and other strange chips into a tribute to the art of junk. However, from afar, it is a magnificent series of structures reaching heavenward, as if in prayer. It has been under construction since 1882, and if all goes right, it should be completed before 2030.

By all means, if you plan your next European trip to include Spain, be sure to spend time in Barcelona. Just don’t bother to bring your Spanish-English dictionary with you.

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