We’ve arrived in Barcelona! The city of Gaudi and modernista architecture, Catalan eclecticism, winding medieval alleys, beaches and more. Studio is behind us, yet we all still find ourselves pausing to get a quick (or tediously time consuming) sketch in. For the past two days most of us have found ourselves clocking around 15 or more miles, trekking las Ramblas, winding around the Barrio Gotico and slowly weaving throughout the Sagrada Familia with our heads tilted constantly up. Barcelona, like all the other cities we find ourselves in seems to have captured my imagination. The identity here, sometimes as a foil to Madrid, feels avant-garde, loose, and constantly curious and playful.
At this point, I now feel like I’ve successfully scratched the surface of Spain. Our Andalusian adventure, Madrid base camp and now Catalonia and Barcelona ending have sparked in me a deep appreciation for Spain. I feel compelled to practice my Spanish hard when I return to America if only with the hope of returning here.
We also have the pleasure of arriving here during the festival of Sant Jordi. During this absolute madhouse, the city seems to require every single person to hang out and party in the streets all day. The festival, in a very brief summary, consists of buying a rose from one of the seemingly thousands of street rose vendors that day, and then giving said rose to a significant other. In return, a book is then given to the rose giver. The city becomes covered in rose petals and pop-up books shops, only adding to the resounding beauty.Yesterday, our 10 block walk from La Sagrada Familia to the Gaudi’s masterpiece, Casa Batllo, took all of forty-five minutes. It was surreal to peer over the crowd and be able to look down the long majestic Barcelona avenues to see mountains one direction and thousands and thousands of people spilling into the roads in the other towards the ocean.
Many of us have decided a beach day is in order to recuperate after the previous city hikes. This is partially, no doubt, so we can again venture out tomorrow and wander through the constant craziness, decadence, and beauty that is Barcelona. We still have so much to do here.