As we bid our beloved Japan goodbye, Jose and I wanted to complete a trip around the world, and so we traveled to Spain, thus passing my previously most eastward destination, Italy, and Jose’s, Qatar.
Our first stop was Barcelona, a city that captured my heart with its lively neighborhoods, lovely beach, tasty food and stunning architectural works by Antoni Gaudi. We stayed in El Born, a neighborhood with a zillion cafes and restaurants just a few minutes walk from the beach. This is where I belong. The day begins around 9 a.m., and your morning fuel consists of a hot drink and a pastry. For me, it’s hot chocolate and a chocolate pastry. Yup, I love the vacation life. Snack at 11 a.m., lunch at 2 p.m., siesta until 5 p.m., shop until 8 p.m. and dinner at 9 or 10 p.m. Drinks at midnight, the club at 2 a.m., breakfast for club-goers at 5 a.m., and to bed at 7 a.m. I’m a little old for clubbing, but everything else suits me just fine.
We made a point of visiting Casa Batllo (pronounced baht-yo), a building designed by Antoni Gaudi that I have been fascinated with since I first saw a picture of it in a class at art school. It goes by many names such as the House of the Sea and the House of Bones. It’s also called the Dragon House because its details have the elements of a dragon. Gaudi was inspired by forms in nature and incorporated designs resembling sea creatures, the waves of the ocean, the scales of a lizard and other organic lines into the home. He was also a devout Catholic and some say that the spires on top of the house could be the sword of Saint George plunged into the back of the dragon.
The most awe-inspiring view in all of Barcelona was the sight of Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia is a newly named basilica dedicated to the Holy Family. Words cannot scratch the surface of its magnificence. It can officially be added to my list of my absolute most favorite places on the earth.
And so my few short days in Barcelona only leave me hungry for more – more time to leisurely sip sangria in the afternoon, more time to marvel at Gaudi, more time to stroll around its beautiful streets and experience all the joy and wonder that comes with falling in love with a new place.