1013 Chapters
Medium 9781628870725

6 BARCELONA

Patricia Harris FrommerMedia ePub

6

Barcelona

The Catalan language has a verb that must have been invented for Barcelona. “Badar” translates (more or less) as to walk around with your mouth wide open in astonishment. You’ll be doing a lot of that in Barcelona. The city’s artists have always had a fantastical vision—from the gargoyles along the roofline of the cathedral, to Antoni Gaudí’s armored warrior chimneys on La Pedrera, to the surreal amoeboid sculptures of Joan Miró. (They’re on a roof, too.)

Barcelona really is an original, with a unique history, language, gastronomy, and sense of style. When Madrid was still a dusty fortress village on the Río Manzanares, Barcelona was a force to be reckoned with on the Mediterranean. It has been at the intersection of cultures—Iberian, Roman, Visigothic, Moorish, French, and Aragonese—for 2,000 years. Today it is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalunya, forever chafing to leave the federal fold of Spain but enjoying near-country status within the European Union.

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Medium 9781628870046

6. BARCELONA

Patricia Harris FrommerMedia ePub

6

BARCELONA

The Catalan language has a verb that must have been invented for Barcelona. “Badar” translates (more or less) as to walk around with your mouth wide open in astonishment. You’ll be doing a lot of that in Barcelona. The city’s artists have always had a fantastical vision—from the gargoyles along the roofline of the cathedral, to Antoni Gaudí’s armored warrior chimneys on La Pedrera, to the surreal amoeboid sculptures of Joan Miró. (They’re on a roof, too.)

Barcelona really is an original, with its own unique history, language, gastronomy, and overall sense of style. When Madrid was still a dusty fortress village on the Río Manzanares, Barcelona was already a force to be reckoned with on the Mediterranean. It has been at the intersection of cultures—Iberian, Roman, Visigothic, Moorish, French, and Aragonese—for 2,000 years. Today it is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalunya, forever chafing to leave the federal fold of Spain but enjoying near-country status within the European Union.

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Medium 9781628871487

10 BARCELONA

Harris, Patricia FrommerMedia ePub

The ceiling at Palau de la Musica Catalana.

The Catalan language has a verb that must have been invented for Barcelona. “Badar” means (more or less) to walk around with your mouth wide open in astonishment. You’ll be doing a lot of that in Barcelona. The city’s artists have always had a fantastical vision—from the gargoyles along the roofline of the cathedral, to Antoni Gaudí’s armored warrior chimneys on La Pedrera, to the surreal amoeboid sculptures of Joan Miró (they’re on a roof, too).

Barcelona really is an original, with its own unique history, language, gastronomy, and overall sense of style. When Madrid was still a dusty fortress village on the Río Manzanares, Barcelona was already a force to be reckoned with on the Mediterranean. It has been at the intersection of cultures—Iberian, Roman, Visigothic, Moorish, French, and Aragonese—for 2,000 years. Today it is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalunya, forever chafing to leave the federal fold of Spain but enjoying near-country status within the European Union.

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Medium 9781628871326

2 The Best Special-Interest Tours: Modernista Barcelona, Ciutat Vella-Ancient Barcelona, Barcelona for Modern Art Lovers, Design and Architecture, Gourmet Barcelona, Barcelona for Kids

Patricia Harris FrommerMedia ePub

The chimneys of La Pedrera.Modernista BarcelonaBarcelona is renowned for the wildly original modernisme, or Catalan Art Nouveau, style of architecture that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Best known are the stunning works of Antoni Gaudí, but so many talented architects left their mark on Barcelona that it’s a big task even to do a greatest hits tour in a single day. START: Metro to Lessep, then a taxi or 15-min. walk uphill to Parc Güell, the first stop on the itinerary. Parc Güell. In 1900 Gaudí’s lifelong patron, the Catalan industrialist Eusebi Güell, envisioned a real-estate development in a garden setting. Although never completed, the project bears Gaudí’s visionary stamp and reflects the naturalism beginning to flower in his work. The architect set out to design every detail in the park, but much of the work was in fact completed by a disciple, Josep María Jujol, best known for the park’s colorful splashes of trencadis (designs of broken shards of ceramics). Yet the unique man-made landscape is all Gaudí. At the main entrance are fairy-tale-like gatehouses topped with chimneys resembling wild mushrooms. The covered marketplace, with an extraordinary tiled lizard fountain at the entrance, is supported by 86 Doric columns (not the 100 planned). But most famous are those sinuous, mosaic-covered benches that trace the perimeter of the plaza above.  45 min. See p 54,

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Medium 9781628870046

3. MADRID & BARCELONA IN CONTEXT

Patricia Harris FrommerMedia ePub

3

MADRID & BARCELONA IN CONTEXT

Different as they are, Madrid and Barcelona are both products of a land that the rest of Europe once considered beyond the pale. One of the few things that the French and English used to agree on was that “Europe ends at the Pyrenees.” In a sense, they were right, for the mountains kept Spain in splendid isolation, where it developed on its own path. It developed customs, art, architecture, and even cuisine that owed as much to Arabic North Africa as to its onetime sister provinces of the Roman Empire. Consequently, Spain does not look like, sound like, or even taste like the rest of Europe. Nowhere else is quite as rich, or quite as demanding. When you go to Spain, you must surrender to Spain.

You must accept the rhythms of daily life—so unlike the rest of Europe—and think nothing of going to dinner after 10pm and then closing down the flamenco bar after the 3am final set. You must spend the evening in a seafront promenade, walking and talking and nodding at the other walkers and talkers. You must not be bashful about elbowing your way to the bar, pointing at the tapas to order, and having your fill. For that matter, you must resolve to eat something new every day that you would otherwise spurn: blood sausage, roast suckling pig, squid in their own ink. In many places, shops and museums close in the heat of the afternoon, and you must be patient and while away the hours with lunch in a cool, shady courtyard. Do all that, and you will be ready for everything Spain will throw at you.

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