Globe Trekker Megan McCormick travels to Barcelona in the Spanish region of Catalunya where she discovers a culture which prides itself on being different. With its sunkissed beaches, and Gothic palaces it’s an Olympian city worthy of the gods and the modernist capital of the world where some of the greatest artists on earth found their fame.
First off, Megan travels back in time to the city’s “grey years” – between the end of the civil war and General Franco’s death – when there was a huge zest for change, to move on to a new era. It stoked the desire to transform the city itself, while the Olympic Games bid and then the Games themselves provided extra incentive, not to mention cash. The finest architects and urban planners were persuaded to take part in this vision. The axis upon which the project spun was the idea to “turn Barcelona around“‘ to face the sea, creating whole swathes of beach from virtual wasteland.
Before the Civil War gripped Barcelona, one architect shaped it more than any other – and he was Antonio Gaudi. Although categorized with the Art Nouveau movement, Gaudi created anentirely original style and she takes in numberous examples of his work all over Barcelona, taking in Park Guell, and Casa Batlló and the spectacular Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic basilica which is still under construction 120 years after the first brick was laid. In the Maritime Museum she learns all about Barcelona’s fascinating seafaring history. Meanwhile, at the Miró Foundation art gallery she marvels at one of the artist’s “wild paintings”entitled “Man and Woman in front of a Pile of Excrement”.Next off, she hits the Museu Picasso – the most visited art gallery in Barcelona which caters to approximately 1 million visitors annually and houses the largest collection of Picasso’s work in the world.
Next off, Megan indulges in some retail therapy taking in the iconic Las Ramblas – “rambla” means “torrent” in Arabic and it seems this boulevard was once a dried watercourse, paved over for public use in the Middle Ages. Her shopping trip ends at they city harbour where she takes in the colourful atmosphere of street performers, artists, and street vendors. She explores the Barrí Gotic – orGothic Area – which combines the best of both worlds: shopping and culture. This the original Roman centre of Barcelona is home to bizarre antique shops, old bookshops, and thriving young fashion designers. She window-shops culinary delights like Casa del Bacau –The House of Cod – which sells only cod. Along the way she is intrigued by a shop window draped in black curtains – the Rey de La Magia was founded by famous magician Joachim Partagas 125 years ago and has been supplying great magicians ever since.
Next, she takes a road trip out of town to Cap De Creus– a haven for migratory birds and exotic fauna, it was pronounced a natural park in 1998. She journeys on to Port Lligat near where she visits the home of the surrealist painter: Salvador Dali. Along the way she takes in the picture postcard fishing town of Cadaqueswhere Dali used to spend his summer holidays as a child and where he produced his first paintings. Opting for a sun sea and send session, she takes a train to Sitges which is a Mecca for the gay community. This whitewashed town clustered around a 16th century church on a promontory called La Punta. It became a resort thanks to the annual Modernista Festival organised here in the 1890s by Catalan artist Santiago Rusinyol.
She rounds off her trip and last day in Barcelona with a cable car trip up Mount Montjuic– a lush natural paradise filled with history and art – where and vistits Montjuic Castle at the very summit of the Olympic mountain. Last off, she returns to the metropolis and the El Ravalbarrio where she has a final fling with a spot of Rumba Catalana. ¡Olé!
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