In 1985 my husband (then boyfriend) and I went to Europe. We had studied the cooperative society of the Basque city of Mondragon in an organizational psychology class and we wanted to go explore and possibly live in Spain.
We traveled from London, through France and Switzerland, to Barcelona. It was January and, much to our dismay, wet and frigid when we arrived. The city looked dismal and abandoned as we trudged through the streets trying to find food and our pension (a small, low-cost hotel or home with rooms to let). We got some bread and peanut butter at a convenience store. We left our coats on in our room as we ate, then crawled under the covers to get warm, and fell asleep.
About two hours later, we woke to what sounded like crowds of people outside our window. When we opened the shutters, the streets were bright, bustling, and alive with shops, restaurants, families, young people, old people, dogs, laughing, shopping, strolling. We realized that we had arrived during siesta, and our opinion of the place immediately flipped from bad to good.
We spent about ten days there and didn't get to see everything. It is a city full of spontaneity, passion, creativity and flair. I loved the Gaudi, the Miro, and Picasso's Guernica. I loved strolling and shopping on the Ramblas and eating groceries from the Mercat de la Boquería, Barcelona's gigantic central market. There are stalls with everything from flowers to cheese, to hanging legs of jamon (Spanish Prosciutto). I loved the old narrow winding streets and most of all, the fashion sense of the Spanish people.
When we went it cost $3.50/night to stay in a small but clean and safe room. Dinner was about 2-5 dollars. It was before the olympics were there and before the Euro. It is much more costly now but I think it is still very much worth the experience.
From the bottom up, the photos are:
Check out Annafabo on etsy. She lives in Barcelona.
Don't forget the fashionable children! Here is one from Melimelon.
A map of the area around the Miro Museum!!
An overview of The Ramblas.