Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Senior Destination: Spain's Beautiful, Bountiful Barcelona
Senior Destination: Spain's Beautiful, Bountiful Barcelona PDF Print E-mail

Guest Editor PJW, Frankfort KY: We endured an exhausting several plane-change, red-eye flight to Barcelona, and arrived at our hotel at about 3 pm. Then we fell right to sleep. We woke up hungry at midnight, and wondered if we could find any all-night cafe within walking distance.

Just one block from the hotel, we were amazed by bright lights, crowds of strolling people, and every restaurant open and busy. We were informed that the city wakes up after its afternoon siesta and comes to life through the wee hours. That was our first impression of Barcelona: lively both day and night.

Several days later, we discovered a little mom and pop restaurant specializing in a chicken and rice dish that rivaled anything the great chefs could come up. We sat in a seat by the big plate glass window, and other tourists stopped to stare at two senior Americans enjoying our tasty meal. We enticed many to come in and sample the fare. 

My spouse speaks excellent Spanish, but when she tried to converse with the restaurant owners, at first she couldn’t understand. Barcelonans today prefer to speak their ancient language of Catalon. It’s almost Spanish, but trying to understand it is comparable to conversing today in English with a 15th Century Londoner.

Barcelona is a colorful, modern port city. It’s modernism in art and architecture are famed worldwide. There are examples of Joan Miro paintings and sculpture, while buildings shine with the multi-colored glass creations of Antoni Gaudi.The city also boasts of considerable music, theater and other forms of entertainment.

Gothic Square features the Cathedral of Barcelona, built in the early 15th Century. As with 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 look as if a crew of mad sculptors modeled columns of broken glass, ceramic tiles and other strange chips. 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, the city fathers promise it should be completed by 2030.

If you plan your next European trip to include Spain, be sure to spend time in brilliant, colorful, photogenic Barcelona. Bring both your Spanish-English and Catalon-English dictionary with you.


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