About the Post

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My name is Scott and I like to travel. There I said it, wow that does feel better. There is probably a program for my affliction somewhere. I am what I would consider a Normal Guy. I am a native Arizonan, sometimes we are called “Zonies”. I am in my mid 40′s and enjoy a great life. I am self employed and have a wonderful daughter and Partner. Although I would say my life is a fairly normal one, I am also quite lucky in that I have the ability to travel and enjoy the world, I enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the world around us. I want to be right upfront about the type of travel I enjoy and the type I don’t. You will probably not ever read a story of about me backpacking my way through the serengeti during the height of summer, nor will you probably read any stories of me sleeping in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton in Paris. I am not a budget traveler, nor am I an uber luxury traveler, I fall somewhere in the middle, where most people fall I believe. I started this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my stories, my views and my excitement for traveling around this world with my friends, family. However it doesn’t stop there for me, I also wanted to make friends with others around the world, those who travel and those who dream of travel. Blogs and Websites evolve over time, mine will no doubt expand over time as well please come back and see what has taken place. However if you have come to my blog to schedule a flight or a hotel, this is not the place.

Icon’s of a City….Barcelona, Spain

I have found Barcelona to be one of those Cities that begs you to come back, again and again.  It holds in it’s shadows mysteries that have yet to be uncovered, people who are just waiting to surprise you with their kindness and a beauty that is uniquely Barcelona.  It’s easy to look past the icon’s of a city because they are always there, but these icon’s deserve to be noticed and revered, they are uniquely Barcelona.  These are the icon’s  that have come to shape a city, it’s feel, it’s character, it’s ambiance,  these icon’s make a good city, GREAT.

In Barcelona there are the obvious icon’s, but there are also some that are not so obvious or at least not that easy to put your finger on.  Barcelona is like all great cities around the world in that they have much in common, Great Food, Sights, and History that is unique to that city.  Barcelona also seems to have the “IT” factor, there is simply something about IT that makes this city so special.  The city has it’s own Icon’s, those indisputable “things” that make it Barcelona, placed anywhere else, they probably wouldn’t be as special as they are.  It’s not really a shock that Barcelona has become such a hot destination.  What is surprising is how long it took most of the world to discover Barcelona’s diverse charms, which draw architecture and design fanatics, foodies, culture hounds, history buffs and those merely in search of an all night party.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya, Barcelona has an identity distinct from the rest of Spain.  The fiercely independent streak of the Catalan people is derived from a special, unique history, language and culture prompting Catalan’s to refer to their semiautonomous region as un pais (literally, A Nation).  The most prosperous region in Spain, Catalyunya has often maintained a testy relationship with Madrid and the rest of the country.  The long, insular Franco dictatorship outlawed the Catalan languages, but the ancient tongue has experienced a dramatic resurgence and is now the principal language in public schools and on the streets.

The first Icon of Barcelona

The first Icon of Barcelona; has to be it’s frenetic pace and friendly people.  Although Spanish and the Catalan language are what is spoken here, you won’t feel left out of the conversation as most everyone speaks or at least understands English.  Barcelona is a big, busy, bustling city with a frenetic pace which makes Barcelona feel as though it never sleeps.  You will find yourself sitting in a Cafe or Tapas Bar at 11 p.m. or midnight,  enjoying your dinner, barely aware that it is so late.  From my experience the majority of the people are friendly, helpful and will stop and talk to you.  Barcelona feels younger, faster paced, more aggressive and progressive than the Madrid.  Although I loved Madrid, I will save that for the Icon’s of a City…Madrid post.  For all the beautiful things that encompass Barcelona, it really is it’s people who make it a GREAT city.

Food and Drink

I would be remiss if I left Food and Drink off my list of Icon’s of a City…Barcelona.  I throw Drink in there because Spain is very well known for it’s Sangria and Sherries.  Sangria is a Wine Punch usually punctuated with macerated Fruits such as Apples, Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Peaches etc. To this a little Brandy and a sweetener are added to give it just the right balance.  It would be a surprise if you visited Barcelona and didn’t try the Sangria, sacrilegious even.  Along with the Sangria, you will most likely enjoy a few Tapa’s.

The word tapas means “lids” or “Cover” in Spanish, and refers to a slice of bread being used to cover the top of a wine glass. Legend has it that such tapas were used in Spanish cafes with standing bars to prevent fruit flies and the like from getting in the wine glasses of the customers. Spain’s custom is to gather at wine and sherry bar cafes after work, before dinner. Patrons of the bars usually stand and drink their sherry and wine and enjoy selections from an extensive tapas list. This evolved from the bars offering free snacks, like a slice of ham, piece of cheese, olives, mussels, or bread. Basque tapas started on toothpicks, called pinchos, and eventually became something on a piece of bread, such as anchovy toasts. Gazpacho and paella are also offered in tapas bars, as well as Manchego and quince paste, flan, and tres leches cake.

Tapas today are small, delectable portions of food, served individually, or in groups as a custom designed meal. The use of lean, grilled meats and fresh seafood, vegetables, olive oil and that wonderful flower of flavor, garlic ensure not only a heavenly taste experience, but also a light, healthy fare. They can be enjoyed sparingly by the dainty eater and in more abundant assortments for hearty diners. They are traditionally enjoyed with beer, wine, sangria, or the quintessential Spanish drink, Sherry. The enjoyment of tapas is a way of life for the Spanish casual dining in an unhurried atmosphere where spirited conversations flourish and are shared among family, friends and new acquaintances.

Antoni Gaudi and La Sagrada Familia

A Human Icon who is well known as the architect of Barcelona.  Now that doesn’t mean he built the city of Barcelona, but it is a given that he is the mastermind behind its unique architectural modernist style.

Antoni Gaudi built some of the worlds most photographed and recognizable buildings in the world, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, La Pedrera and Parc Guell.  Although Gaudi is famous for so many buildings, he is most famous for La Sagrada Familia.  I have written about La Sagrada Familia before, you can find it by clicking here for a more in depth look.  As Icon’s go, this is literally the biggest in  Barcelona.  This Church, La Sagrada Familia can be seen from your plane as your flying into Barcelona, and it’s not even finished yet, It will be significantly higher upon it’s completion in 2030. That’s right, completion.  At this time, this Church is 129 years old and is not even finished.

Walking through this extraordinary building is mesmerizing.  The design, the building materials, the way the light shines through it’s beautiful stained glass windows.  It’s interior height is spectacular, 100’s of feet above you is the artists recreation of a Forest. If any one Icon epitomizes the City of Barcelona it is La Sagrada Familia.  Frenetic in its organic design, moving and changing with the changing light of the day, the hospitable feeling you get when you enter, it is Barcelona.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon.

Happy Travels

http://www.travelwithscott.com

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