My first trip to Barcelona was a recon mission. I was interested in taking a year to study abroad and like a proper investor, I consider research paramount to decision-making. I had done extensive research on Political Science programs offered in Europe prior to taking one giant leap across the pond and was impressed with the quality of higher learning the Universitat Pompeu Fabra had to offer.
|Evening view from Montjuic|
Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city, a major player driving the economy and it is a neat cultural hub. It is the beating heart of a completely different nation from the others within the borders of the Kingdom of Spain. Its truly distinct elegance and culture are infectious and you will soon be adopting words like “si us plau”. Mauro, an Argentine friend I made over there, probably said it best: “When you walk around this city it feels like you are travelling through time.”
Plaça Catalunya, a majestic city square wearing fountains and gardens like a royal sovereign, is considered by the locals as the centre of this metropolis. It is the place where old – el barri gòtic – meets new – l’Eixample. The city’s main thoroughfares meet in an organized embrace around this square, leading the Catalan out into the extremities of its jurisdiction whizzing past the many unique architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domenech i Montaner considered World Heritage sites.
The gothic quarter is by far one of the better-preserved historic centres I have visited. It doesn’t require much creative visualization to imagine life in 12th Century, if it weren’t for the stylish Catalan people on the mobile phones and the legions of tourists snapping pictures. You will find the Cathedral of Barcelona continues to be a vibrant religious sanctuary as you make your way through the tight streets like Carrer del Bisbe Irurita.
|Carrer del Bisbe Irurita, Gothic Quarter|
Barcelona provides variety, so you are guaranteed to find something just for you. For your dining purposes, you can have traditional Spanish meals, world-class cooking or even Macdonald’s - no Catalan would be caught there unless if it is for an ice cream. On Passeig de Gràcia, there are infinite shopping options that will leave you in tears when you check your bank account balance. Don’t forget to visit Camp Nou to take a tour of the Barça museum or if you are lucky, catch a clásico against Real Madrid.