Bienvenidos a Espana!

On Saturday, we left this…

Rainy Stuttgart

…and walked into this!!

Beautiful, sunny Barcelona!

Welcome to Barcelona, city of famous architectural-artist Gaudí, and much more!  The city is so unique; part of it was built/designed by Cerdá in the 19th century with the city blocks shaped orthogonally.

Orthogonal Blocks

Along with being a city of architectural genius, Barcelona held the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, holds a great history of Roman culture, and borders The Mediterranean Sea.  Where to start?! (Can you tell that I love this city??)

Before leaving for Barcelona, I was eager to brush up on my Spanish and see how far it got me on our trip.  However, I soon learned that the people of Barcelona do not speak Spanish as I know it.  The official language of Barcelona is Catalan, an offshoot of Latin.  Though the language was completely different, Spanish can be understood in Barcelona pretty well, and of course, most people at tourist destinations speak a little English.

After taking a cab from the airport, we arrived at our beautiful hotel, Havana.  We had 2 separate rooms, but they were connected in the same little private corridor.  It was like we had our own private suite.  🙂

Hotel Havana

Lauren in front of Hotel Havana

Hotel Havana at Night

For the rest of the post, I’m not going to write a detailed hour-by-hour account, but post by topic instead.  There is SO much to see that you’ll have to look at the rest of the pictures on Russ’s site.

Gaudí’s Architecture

Barcelona is not titled “The City of Gaudí” without purpose.  The city reveals at least 10 Gaudí works, the main attractions of Barcelona.  After reading more about Gaudí, I’d like to go back just to see more of his work and to go inside all of the buildings.  His muse was nature, and he mimicked it in his buildings with a little imagination, of course.  His pieces stand out as colorful, Modernist, and illuminating.

Casa Batllo--the colors on this place were amazing

The facade produces a duality between organic and artificial. The appearance of bones and plants vs. masks and mythical forms.

La Pedrera--the masterpiece of this is on the roof, which unfortunately we didn't get to see this time around.

The last and biggest piece we were able to see is the most famous in Barcelona, and is yet to be finished! In fact, it wisn’t scheduled to be completed until 2025. This is Gaudí’s most massive undertaking, La Sagrada Familia. This church is cathedral-like in many ways, and yet is unquestionably in its own category. It is so large, it occupies an entire block of the city. This massive undertaking began in the 19th century with Gaudí himself devoting 40 years to the cathedral.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

Directly below La Sagrada

Perspective--Joe and Kate walk up the ramp

Note the difference between the new and old parts.

The outside of La Sagrada is amazing; intricate details and scenes of religious stories adorn the walls.  The inside, however, is like nothing I’ve seen before.   It’s a huge space, but Gaudí has filled it with such light!  His detailed plans allow colors to fall throughout the entire cathedral, accenting the white space.  It’s amazing!  and still unfinished.  There’s no way the pictures can communicate what this was like, but they get pretty close with our 2 photographers!

Inside of La Sagrada Familia

The Ceiling

La Sagrada

Vivid Stained Glass

We waited in line to get to go to the top of the cathedral and look down over the city.  It was a long wait, but totally worth it (even though there wasn’t much room at top).  It was neat to see the spires still in construction and then to walk down the spiral staircase and stand out on some small balconies.  Joe even found us waiting for him at the bottom!

Looking Out Into Barcelona


At the Top!

Looking up The Spire from the Staircase

Aaaand looking down!

Where's Waldo Again?

Overall, La Sagrada was fascinating.  We even got to eat dinner the first night at a nice little Mediterranean restaurant near Sagrada, so it loomed over us as we ate.

Joe, Kate, and Lauren dining in front of La Sagrada Familia

Whew!  There’s so much more to say about Barcelona.  Look for more soon.  I’m tired!

56 responses to this post.

  1. That stained glass was beautiful. Looked like a wonderful time!


  2. Looks great. I’m going to work on Mallorca for some months soon. I really wanna get to know some more about Spain and it’s language. Your pics make me wanna go right away 😀

    Best regards


  3. Love the picture of La Sagrada!!!


  4. You’ve captured such amazing HISTORY…breathtaking photos! 🙂


  5. Posted by evilcop on October 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    the second last one is my favorite.


    • Ditto- the detail! Amazing. I’m supposed to go in Feb…this post is tipping the scales for sure. Wow. Looking forward to a post about the cuisine….


  6. Wow! That is SO amazing. Love the La Sagrada pictures. Breathtaking!


  7. When we were there about 9 years ago we couldn’t enter the La Sagrada.
    Barcelona, so far is the only city i want to come back to and live there. Love the city, the culture, great post, thank you for sharing it.


  8. beautiful pictures


  9. Ich liebe “Wo ist Waldo!” Sounds like you could make a whole blog about the Barcelona visit 🙂


  10. Looks absolutely beautiful! My friend and I are wrapping up 2 months in Costa Rica and I’ll be sad to leave. Wish we could’ve lived here even longer!


  11. I lived in Barcelona during a study abroad stint in college.
    Your photos are beautiful! If you get a chance, go to Park Guell. It was one of my favorite places in Barcelona.
    Wonderful blog by the way!


  12. *sigh*. i’m so jealous.


  13. Loved the part where you say, “Aaand looking down!” (I’m scared of heights, too). Beautiful shots of the city. When I am able to, Barcelona is one of the places I’d love to visit. Thanks for sharing. Hope the day turned out better upon your return home (and that you got yourself good rest). 🙂


  14. Love all the photos. The “ceiling” photo is especially cool. Amazing architecture! Thanks for sharing, and congrats on making Freshly Pressed


  15. Love the photos! Thanks for sharing and safe travels.


  16. The sagrada is so amazingly beautifull its something that i want to go see before i die! thats going in my bucket list now!


  17. Thank you both so much for your wonderful photographs…I feel like a just took a little “virtual vacation!” And since architecture is something that has always spoken to me, I feel incredibly blessed to have run across your blog. I look forward to reading more about your life and travels! ~ Jean


  18. Posted by antoniodonaciano on October 13, 2010 at 8:51 pm



  19. Barcelona is one of the most beatiful cities of the world !! I like you enjoyed it !!


  20. The photos are gorgeous! The colors in the stained glass windows are so vibrant! I love to travel, and it looks like you guys are having a wonderful time!


  21. I can’t believe how gorgeous the architecture is…seems like a city that has to be seen to be believed. But until then, I shall live vicariously through your pictures…thanks for sharing!


  22. I have also been to Barcelona! Did you see the Aquarium?

    Keep it green!


  23. Posted by Brita on October 13, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Wow…I feel like I am blogging with a celebrity!! You go girl!!


  24. Loved your photos.. Spain is one of my dream trips in which I am planning to take soon..


  25. Barcelona is a great city. Its been a few years since I was last there, but I hope to go back again in the new year.

    I dream about living there when I retire!

    Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did 🙂



  26. Beautiful pictures!


  27. Now, I’m not a religious person…. but this would make ANYONE a believer! La Sagrada is incredibly beautiful, and your photos are wonderful! I have always wanted to visit Barcelona. Your blog has pushed it to the top of my travel list now! 🙂


  28. Posted by Pam on October 14, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Amazing pictures and insightful writing! It is wonderful that so many others are having the opportunity to share your experiences!


  29. Ah, Barcelona! Fabulous! Gorgeous! Amazing! Me gusto mucho. Thanks for sharing these photos.


  30. whew! what a post..


  31. What a beautiful place. I hope I could visit on this place someday. And I love your photos. Congrats on being on freshly pressed, BTW.


  32. The ceiling of La Sagrada — WOWWWWW.
    Thank you for this!!


  33. Posted by Raquel on October 14, 2010 at 4:44 am

    que hermosas fotos…quiero conocer ese lugar tan bonito…


  34. Thanks for the photos – they’re gorgeous ! It’s also interesting to hear that they understand Spanish in Barcelona but don’t speak it – that’ll be useful to know when I study abroad in Spain this coming fall.


  35. fabulous spain.. you’ve captured it well;^)


  36. Guadi should have stayed in Santa Fe Longer, if he ever was here.If he never was here, I wish hecould have been an architectural influence inthe 80’s because maybea lot of what used to be would still be preserved or enhanced. Good job on photography.


  37. Cool pictures! I have seen some pictures of Sagrada in my photography textbook and it is true, it is such a beautiful place… Too bad they don’t speak spanish there, I would love to practice my spanish there too!


  38. fantabulous pics u capture..!!


  39. Posted by sayitinasong on October 14, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Ah Barcelona- one of the cities I have ALWAYS wanted to visit!!! The architecture looks so spectacular to me… I loved your account of your trip… made me vere jealous…. ;o)


  40. Posted by laotraperspectiva on October 14, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Barcelona is very nice, but is a modern city, enjoy the history of Spain visiting the mix of cultures in Toledo.
    The first capital of Spain, where spanish, arabs and jews was living in harmony in the past. Or visit Granada the last capital of the arab imperium in Europe, visit Lugo with his unique complete defensive roman walls, or Santiago the great goal of the pilgrims of the old Europe.
    Spain is a very old country, with a lot of history and a monument in each corner, please enjoy it. Watch
    the history, where they happens, the places, the real ambients, the help you learn why and how.

    Don’t stop at one place.


  41. barcelona is my favorite city IN THE WORLD! it made me want to learn catalan and become a hippie!!


  42. Hi Russ & Lauren

    What a fantastic blog. I loved the style of wriitng and the photos are terrific. I have been to Barcelona a number of times and I know that there are many other features that you could have blogged about or photoed but I am so pleased you focussed on the architecture and La Sagrada, you really brought it to life.

    If this is typical of your blogs I look forward to returning and reading the rest. Seriously, you have made my day. It is so exciting to find a new blog to love.


    TinaCortina x


  43. great pics. Just left barcelona and have been procrastinating to write about it. Great Blog


  44. Posted by euphoricsecret on October 14, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    oh seeing this again makes me want to go back to barcelona! La Rambla del mar ,the port ohh che bello!


  45. Posted by Kristi on October 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Hey Cuz! Barcelona is a great place to visit. They have some catacombs that are very interesting and all the mosiac art is beautiful. I am glad you are having a good time! Kieran, Jarret and I are looking forward to seeing you at Christmas time.


  46. In this time of instant everything – it is amazing to think of such a project taking so long to complete. It would be a treat to see for myself someday! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!


  47. Now I want to go to Germany AND Spain. Thanks Lauren and Russ. 😉

    Miss you both!


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