Seven months ago, prior to moving to Spain, Julie and I published a “Salute to Columbus, Ohio”. If you’re interested, you can check it out by clicking on the “September 2016” link below. And, seeing that we are departing Barcelona, we thought it appropriate to give the same tip-of-the-cap to this lovely city.
Why leave Barcelona?
With living in Spain, Julie and I felt that we had to take advantage of the opportunity to experience the Camino de Santiago. May and June are particularly good months for the walk because of the weather. The Camino is a 500-mile trek from St. Jean Pied de Port (France), over the Pyrenees, and across the entire north of Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This pilgrimage has a rich heritage that began in the Middle Ages. In fact, some historians have credited the development of modern Europe from pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela, Rome and other holy sites. Julie and I will finish our 40-day journey in Finisterre. The literal translation of Finisterre is “end of the earth” since this is the western most part of the European mainland. Finisterre is a little peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Will we blog while on the Camino?
After much thought, Julie and I have decided not to curate our experiences during our Camino de Santiago. That means you won’t be hearing from us for a couple of months. Happy birthday and anniversary in advance to all of our family and friends who celebrate in May or June. We are choosing not to have access to text, email or internet during this time—we’re going off the grid! We’ll be using this time to determine our next step. If you want to learn more about the Camino de Santiago, there are lots of videos on YouTube, and here is a link which will give you a little more information http://www.santiagoturismo.com/camino-de-santiago
Without further ado, here is Glen and Julie’s “Best of Barcelona”.
Our favorite neighborhood: Barcelona is filled with distinctive and charming neighborhoods: Born, Gotico, El Ravel, Gracia, Sant Antoni…Our tiny apartment was in the barrio of Barceloneta. It was perfect for us. It was on the main road (Passeig Joan de Borbo) with a fantastic southwestern exposure, which gave lots of light and incredible views. The sunsets over Port Vell are spectacular! Barceloneta is on the doorstep of the city and the sea. We feel very fortunate to have found this apartment.
Our favorite specialty grocery store: SPAR…OK, OK, we know SPAR isn’t a specialty store- it’s actually a very small grocery store, but it’s in our neighborhood, the folks working there know us, and it is literally less than a minute walk from our apartment. Caelum is a “specialty” store of sorts – we’ve bought cookies made from nuns and liquor distilled from monks in this store. But, if you want real specialty foods, neither of these can rival St. Catherine’s market which is packed with merchants selling their fresh fish, meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, olives and more.
Our favorite activity: Walking. Barcelona in designed for walking. Getting out into the streets lets you enjoy all of the fantastic art in this city…Museums abound. For about $30 you can buy a museum passport which gets you into the six big museums. (If you can only view one, the Picasso Museum is a must do). That said, you don’t have to go to a museum to see art. This city is filled with great art: sculptures, cathedrals, architecture, gardens, housing developments, security doors, and even the sidewalks…Art is everywhere in Barcelona. It definitely is one of the things that I believe differentiates Barcelona from other world cities.
And, as I said, even the security doors are art! Here are just a few…
Our favorite people watching area: Barcelona Beaches. People of all nationalities are walking, jogging, riding bikes, skateboarding, sunbathing, paddle-boarding, and on and on…There are plenty of benches and it’s never boring.
Festivals or Celebrations: There seems to be some festival or celebration each month that involves costumes, food, parades and a lot of fun. Just this past Monday (May 1), Labor Day was celebrated. Julie and I happened upon this street fair by the Barcelona Sants Rail station. Check out the video clip of the swing dancing. If you have the opportunity to get to Barcelona in early January, you would not be disappointed with the Tres Reyes Cavalcade (Three Kings Parade). I believe it’s in the league of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the States.
Our favorite bakery: We visited this bakery a few times each week for bread. OK, seriously, we went almost every day for fresh bread. Come on, it’s warm bread after all.
Our favorite guilty pleasures: (British Television). We discovered that we could watch BBC television on our computer. This provided a very comforting language familiarity. I got hooked on watching rugby (Six Nations) and Snooker – Crazy rules that I am not sure I fully understand for both sports. We also loved the vet and antiquing shows.
Our favorite Tapas: A unique and wonderful fried food is found at Bombetta. This restaurant invented the Bomba. Addictively good. Also, you must try patatas bravas with romesco sauce. Yummy.
- Our favorite Community; George’s Anglican Church. It was through this welcoming community of people that we not only met a lot of friends, but we were introduced to a lot of Catalan customs…like drinking wine from a traditional Catalan bottle, and eating calcetots. It was also at an art fair at St. George’s that I met my art teacher (maestro), Jorge Segura Nunez.
In closing, we would like to say, thank you to Barcelona. You are a wonderful city and you treated us very well. Adios.