I felt like I was the last one to go. My friends, my family, and it seemed as if everyone I met had been to Barcelona. Much of what I heard were tales of tapas, Spanish wines, and some great sunsets — and honestly none of it enticed me enough to visit Spain again.
("Again" is used lightly. My previous experience in Spain had included a hop over the French border to San Sebastien, but was too far to young then, only remembering the ridiculously scary roller coaster ride on the cliffside.)
Having an opportunity to visit with my close girlfriend, I knew it was time to make the leap, and head south of my usual stomping grounds.
Barcelona was a pleasant surprise. Its old world charm, plentiful trendy cafes, and plazas beckoning an afternoon of interesting conversation over strong coffee felt familiar. Winding through the Gothic Quarter in the early morning, the cobblestone streets glowed in the early light. The busy Rambla district had a certain buzz to it, and seemed to be the epicenter of life.
Everything in Barcelona was happening.
Top restaurants like Tickets, eateries like El Nacional, and healthy takes on local ingredients at Flax & Kale showed the true colors of Barcelona. If you didn't taste Catalonia's history, you surely saw it. The architecture is wild beyond imagination — from inviting locals homes scattered across the city, to the medieval style that is Catalan Gothic. Of course one can't over look Modernisme, Gaudi's hand seemed to have touched every aspect of life — Park Güell, Sagrada Cathedral, and Casa Batlló to name a few.
Somewhere between a good spanish wine and a classic discotech, the city's spell fell upon me, and the buzz in Barcelona, quickly put itself at the top of my favorite places.
My first thoughts on Barcelona? It was a shame I waited so long.
(Thank you for all the emails asking for where we went, saw, and ate — the city guide is coming soon!)