22 Sep,2017 By jagabond
“One of the great Catalan poets, Joan Maragall, wrote this famous poem in which he called Barcelona the great enchantress, or some kind of sorceress, and in which the city has this dark enticing presence that seduces and lures people. I think Barcelona has a lot of that.”
Barcelona is the city for every personality, mood and age group…where a lazy day of wine and coffee can precede the rowdiness of Catalan night clubs. Seekers of relaxation can head to the beach for sun and sangria, while seekers of knowledge can explore the art, architecture and history of this amazing city.
My first trip to Barcelona was crazy. I spent two weeks hanging with a hostel crowd and behaving like I was ten years younger. I have since grown up a bit, so the ‘older and wiser’ me decided on a more subdued trip this time, where I focused on being in bed by midnight. Did I miss out going with a more laid back experience? No, Barcelona is beautiful any time of day or night. What follows is a video account of my not-so-wild but otherwise awesome Spanish weekend.
Antoni Gaudi is an artistic hero of Barcelona. As an architect he designed many unique buildings throughout the city, but the Sagrada Familia is his unquestioned, though unfinished, masterpiece. The video below shows the pillars stretching up and branching to the ceiling like trees, the bronze and beautiful depiction of Christ’s crucifixion, the recognition of the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), and the stained glass windows on either side of the church whose hues reflect the changing seasons.
Fountain of Montjuic
This might be more reminiscent of Disneyland. The ‘Font Magica’ or Magic Fountain of Montjuic is one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona. Doesn’t Freddie Mercury’s voice seem so fitting for something like this? Set on the outskirts of Montjuic Park, the show runs every weekend evening at 9:30, and be sure to show up early as the crowds are massive.
Parade of Devils
Even when you try to avoid the raucous nightlife, sometimes it finds you. Catalan festivals traditionally include Correfoc, translated literally to ‘fire runs’. People dressed as devils with pitchforks parade down the streets, setting of fireworks directed at the spectators. You are even warned to dress appropriately to avoid ‘small burns’. I shot many videos of this, but the one below is the only one where I didn’t clearly retreat from the fireworks in fear.
You can’t eat tapas and paella all day. When the Spanish feel-good food stops feeling good, try the tacos at Taco Alto. I’ve been hard on Mexican food in Europe, as it often is bland without any hint of spiciness. This restaurant in the Born District, however, has an amazing selection of mini-tacos, coupled with their homemade salsa which is hotter than anything I’ve had in Europe. Shown below is my order of tacos – minced meat, chicken, steak and pork. For a moment I thought I was back in San Diego.
I first saw a body-hoop performer during my initial trip to Barcelona years ago. Using something larger than the traditional hula-hoop, the hoop artists/acrobats often choose grand locations to perform in front of, and set their performance to music. The video I shot was in front of the main cathedral, and featured a nicely choreographed piece with a two person team.