Barcelona, in a word: vibrant. I had visited the city a few times before, but this time the city’s youthfulness was in the air. Our trip so far has been reflective, filled with learning, beauty, wonders… and cold rain. So as we stepped off the train and into Barcelona’s sun-soaked streets bustling with smiles you can imagine our lift in spirits, soon to remember that clearly sun and weather do effect the atmosphere of a place. This is not to say that Barcelona is not the former listed things as well (minus the rain) or that the other cities never get sun, but in the present moment sun and some warm breezes were just what the doctor ordered. Our prescription was Gaudi, yummy food, La Bocaria, sangria, and basking in the sun.
Gaudi’s work invokes the exact liveliness of this city. Which is reflective of the other is up for debate, but as Gaudi’s genius entered into our consciousness through La Segrada Familia and through the Park Guell I am hard pressed not to believe that both have a lot to do with one another. Gaudi’s layers of consciousness and emotion come through so intensely in his work. On the surface his work is fun, playful, and even feels child-like, which in itself, to bring out the childishness and youthfulness in all of us in an achievement, but as we go deeper we are introduced to Gaudi’s representation of nature, perception, and the future. In a way, Gaudi’s work is an all encompassing representation of life, both living and not yet lived. His vision for La Segrada Familia is so unique- there is nothing like it in the world. The very fact that to this day it has not yet seen its completion is testament to Gaudi’s ability to dream big and look to the future as a guiding force. This is most evident in the portion of the façade that is not yet finished, the Façade of the Glory. It is dedicated to the voice and notions of the future and future generations, and in this his humble ability to leave space for what came after him and his collaboration with others not only proves great character, but immense sensitivity and foresight. To have previously seen La Segrada Familia and to now have seen it again was nothing short of breathtaking. My increased appreciation for Gaudi’s vision and intentions that come through in his work left me then and still now has me metaphorically (and maybe even literally) applauding and bowing down to Gaudi for his other-wordily perceptions of life and his ability to stir life within us.
This similar life is less cognitive and more tangible in La Bocaria market, a place that defines hustle and bustle. Moving into the market the crowd envelops you as waves of color wash over your vision, and optionality overwhelms any chance of rational decision making, leaving one operating purely on senses and emotions (well and your stomach cravings). The sights and sounds of La Bocaria are a whole world onto themselves. As we continue on our merry way with fresh juices, fruits, and chocolate in hand we look for an oasis to find respite from this last almost intoxicating sensory experience. On previous paths to respite Chris had us follow a nun to some of the best cakes ever consumed in Barcelona (I’m sure of it), so I had good feelings about this next adventure road that met its travelers with sangria.
We journeyed in promise of an oasis and oh an oasis we did find! El Jardin, nestled in the courtyard of what was once an old hospital (giving further emphasis to my whole doctor’s orders and prescriptions thing) offered perfect space for a tranquil afternoon to be lived for the sake of living. The sun literally beamed on our table as we read, wrote and laughed the afternoon away, allowing for lattes to drift into sangria and time to be just a suggestion. This suggestion turned into prompting as the sun set on the day and our visit to Barcelona, rushing through the streets giddy we visited my new found favorite spot for the best salads in all of Europe (whoever said Spain only has ham has never been to Teresa Carles one last time before bidding farewell to our incredible hosts Marc and Vicky.
As we walk out the door we are invigorated, refreshed and rejuvenated by some Vitamin D and Barcelona’s inescapable vibrancy powering us onward to Majorca.