“Nothing important is learned, it is simply remembered”

Plaça d'Espanya
Plaça d’Espanya
Plaça d'Espanya with the Palau Nacional
Plaça d’Espanya with the Palau Nacional

After galavanting around Spain for several days with a tour group, I took an extra couple of days in Barcelona. It is a unique city probably most known architecturally for the Art Nouveau movement that took place there in the late 19th and early 20th century, called Modernisme in Catalan. Aside: It is important to remember while visiting (as I learned) that Barcelona is part of Catalonia – the people there consider themselves to be separate and have been working for some time to seek the right of self-determination from the Spanish government. So Catalan is spoken in Barcelona. /aside

Catalonian independence flag - these were hanging off balconies, often next to the Catalonian flag (four red strips on a golden field) all over Barcelona
Catalonian independence flag – these were hanging off balconies, often next to the Catalonian flag (four red strips on a golden field) all over Barcelona
Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird) sculpture by Barcelona artist Joan Miró
Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird) sculpture by Barcelona artist Joan Miró

But back to the architecture… the modernisme forms are everywhere – intricate windows, elaborate lampposts, flourishes that echo nature, details that call out this is a different idea freshly executed. Antoni Gaudí is the most famous of these architects, and the next couple posts will focus more closely on his remarkable projects, but Barcelona is full of other modernist touches from other artists and architects. I was struck by how elegant the apartment blocks are all over the city, with their intricate stonework and wrought-iron balconies (and Catalonian independence flags, too).

Plaza Catalunya
Plaza Catalunya
Plaza Catalunya
Plaza Catalunya

The city is full of grand plazas, of which Plaza España and Plaza Catalunya are both noteworthy. The industrial plaza near the train station is a more post-modern take on the form with its lighthouse-like structures and crazy sculpture/slide. Artwork is dotted all around the city outside the squares as well.

Barcelona Harbor
Barcelona Harbor
Boats in Barcelona Harbor
Boats in Barcelona Harbor
Football stadium where the Barcelona Football Club, the Barça, play.
Camp Nou where the Barcelona Football Club, Barça, play. It’s usually more colorful, but today was not.

Barcelona is also a harbor city. It hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics and added quite a bit to the harbor area for the olympic sailing events. The Olympics revitalized that whole section of town, and it is now a quite trendy place to live.

The Barri Gòtic is the oldest section of Barcelona and is home to the Cathedral and a labyrinth of streets. It also includes a wealth of wonderful museums.
Check back tomorrow to learn more about GaudÍ and his fascinating approach to cathedrals.
Sculpture near the harbor
Sculpture near the harbor
Barcelona Harbor
Barcelona Harbor
Barcelona harbor - near where the Olympic racing took place
Barcelona harbor – near where the Olympic racing took place
Title quote: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Angel’s Game
Random slide in the Industrial Park
Random slide in the Industrial Park
Palau Nacional
Palau Nacional
Barcelona_Harbor7
Pedestrian section of the Barcelona Harbor
Pedestrian section of the Barcelona Harbor
Pedestrian section of the Barcelona Harbor
Joan Miró tribute sculpture
Joan Miró tribute sculpture
Lamppost - the city centre is full of these Art Nouveau masterpieces
Lamppost – the city centre is full of these Art Nouveau masterpieces
Mercat de la Barceloneta
Mercat de la Barceloneta
Industrlal Park near the main train station
Industrlal Park near the main train station
Olympic stadium
Olympic stadium

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