Posts tagged Architecture

Guest Post: Fall in Love With Gaudi’s Barcelona

While I’m enjoying my last few days at home, please read on about Barcelona’s esteemed architect, Antoni Gaudi. Today’s post has been made possible by Jet Abroad.

Barcelona is the home of great architecture in Spain. Although the city might not have a reputation as being the cheapest destination in Spain to visit, if you take advantage of the cheap flights on offer at the moment, you could soon be winging your way to this structural wonderland.

Antoni Gaudi is easily one of Spain’s most famous and illustrious architects: it’s more than fair to say that Spain wouldn’t look the same without his influence and Barcelona would most certainly be a different place. Responsible for Barcelona’s most famous landmark, La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s Art Nouveau style has had a lasting impression on the city that tourists from around the world still flock to experience.

Gaudi’s most notable works include the Casa Batllo, a somewhat controversial building that Gaudi renovated in the early twentieth century. The façade received a Modernista reworking with bright colours, scaly roof tiles and carved windows that some praised but others accused of being an eyesore.

Then there is, obviously, La Sagrada Familia – this white elephant of a basilica began construction in 1883 and is still not completed some 80 years after Gaudi’s death due to the interruptions of Gaudi’s death, the Spanish civil war and several fires. The basilica features a stone carved representation of the birth and death of Jesus Christ and a third façade, still under construction, will show the power of the elements. This enormous work in progress is beloved by some and treated with contempt by others, but it’s up to you to decide whether it’s charming or unprepossessing.

Just a metro ride away is Gaudi’s Park Guell, an area originally intended as an early-era gated community for wealthy families that never reached its envisioned purpose. The park is also home to Gaudi’s former family home which has now been converted into a museum paying tribute to the architect and declared a national monument.

Gaudi is responsible for much of what makes Barcelona beautiful and whether you love or loathe his style it’s hard to deny that it’s had a huge impact on shaping modern day Barcelona!

The 10 Best Things About Living in Spain

Bouts of homesickness during the holidays are normal when you’re celebrating half a world away. Missing my second Thanksgiving at home in a row set off mild to moderate pangs that had me reminiscing of the ease of locating cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie filling in the grocery store, and a day centered around comfort food, football and family.

Celebrating Thanksgiving again in Spain, surrounded by friends, sharing my culture with Spaniards (and Basques!) got me thinking. Not just because Thanksgiving is a day where we’re told we need to think of things we’re thankful for, but because I didn’t come this far from home to be sad, soppy mess every time a holiday rolls around. Then, instead of missing home, I took some time to think about all of the reasons why living in Spain is de puta madre (f’n awesome!) :

Institutionalized Napping: The Siesta

Though I rarely take advantage of this, I know taking a mid-day nap is perfectly acceptable in Spanish society and I won’t be judged for it.


Ronda, a mountain village full of white-washed houses.

Golden beaches in the South and rolling green hills in the North. There is extreme diversity here from the people to the land they live on and it’s all breathtakingly beautiful.


San Fermin

Spain knows how to par-TAY. Where else can you celebrate by participating in the world’s largest food fight, or be chased down narrow streets by raging bulls all in the name of Saints?

Every town, big or small, has it’s own “feria” (festival), a week of eating, drinking, traditional dress and most importantly: no work. In fact, Spain has more festivals than any other place on earth. On any given day in Spain there is a feria happening somewhere.


Jamon Iberico, Gazpacho and other Spanish delights

Spanish cuisine is consistently ranked among the best of the world and it’s easy to see why: fresh ingredients, unpretentious, and heavily influenced by the array of cultures that have stepped foot in Spanish lands over history.


Where Church and Sport intersect: Camp Nou’s Chapel

A sport worshiped more than any religion here. A typical questions here is “De que equipo eres?” or, “Of what team are you?” With team, player and coach coverage dominating the news, and one of the finest leagues in the world to watch, it’s impossible to not get sucked in to the world of fútbol here.


White Wine Sangria

Kalimotxos, Rebujitos, Sangría… and did I mention the wine?

Café Culture

Cafe Espresso

Hailing from the land of Starbucks (Seattle), I came here eager to try the coffee and was more than pleasantly surprised.  You can get a great cup o’ joe for mere pocket change as opposed to the $4 hot liquid sugar we guzzle down back home. Not to mention, to-go cups are virtually unheard of here. When a Spanish person goes to a cafe, they go to sit, chat and enjoy their cup of coffee. What a concept.


Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

Gaudi is a household name in architecture, but in Spain it doesn’t stop there. From majestic palaces, to decadent cathedrals, colonial houses to contemporary museums, Spain is well-respected for their contributions to the world of architecture.


Wall Mural, Ronda

Salvador Dali, Picasso, Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya…Spain has produced some of the world’s most well-regarded artists and the artwork here remains a staple in tourism.

The People

Performers at the Carnival in Cadiz

The Spanish are famous for their passion and it inundates their language and their lives. Their focus on their family is admirable and their way of life continues to make Spain a popular destination for travelers.

(Photo credits: mysza831 on Flickr for siesta photo)

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