SMB + HVW @Districte de l'Eixample

In all likelihood, you’ve been to Barcelona, so you know the highlights. It has been known by many, many names over time including Barcino (Roman and Paleochristian), Barchinona (Visigothic and Jewish), and Barshiluna (Muslim), Even older is the name Barkeno, which is attributed to a settlement of the  Laietani, an Ιberian people in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BCE.

We first visited in 2009. That was before Google maps, and so we got lost every time we ventured into the barri gòtic. This time, we took an architectural tour and it was outstanding. Our guide was Texan, but had worked as an architect in Barcelona since 1989. The first hour of the tour was basically a lecture on the city’s history from 15BC to the adoption of Ildefons Cerdà’s orthogonal Eixample plan in 1859 (complete with maps and diagrams). It was fabulously detailed and, to be honest, it was impossible to take it all in. The guide knew every nook and cranny of the old city, and had stories on the history and opinions about the future of nearly every street and building. I was trying so hard to keep up, that I only took one pic: Here it is..

@ El Gòtic
@ El Gòtic

Other than that, we did what every tourist does: Sagrada Familia, the catedral, and Parc Guëll. Both churches are still works in progress. Sagrada Familia is coming along nicely; at least the interior isn’t filled with scaffolding as it was in 2009. The cathedral, on the other hand, is still covered with scaffolding, as it was in 2009.

I didn’t see the point of Parc Guëll; it’s an unfinished subdivision with some bits of Gaudi architecture. OK cool, but it’s not really a park, in the sense that you can’t really just go and hang out for a picnic, or play catch, or really any normal park activity.

We also found time for a bike ride to the beach with Andrew. Since he is living in Cataluña, but working remotely on Eastern Standard Time, his schedule is open in the mornings.

Earlier, en route from Begur, we had visited the Roman and Greek ruins at Empúries. We have listened to a lot of audio guides while traveling over the years, and the one here probably takes first prize. Its informative and entertaining; neither too simplistic or too detailed.

The End – we are back in Hoboken now.

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