More of us are choosing city breaks in 2016 according to recent research by Sainsbury’s travel insurance. Barcelona is the now the fourth most popular city in Europe after London, Paris and Rome.
I was there in March when there was still a soft chill in the morning air. It’s an extraordinary city rich in architectural beauty and history, rich too in shops and places to eat, in golden beaches and ancient churches.
And then there’s Gaudi
You can’t claim to have visited Barcelona without seeing examples of his work. The most famous and the most must-see is the Bascilica of La Sagrada Familia, still a work in progress. Its voluptuous lines – nature doesn’t do straight and neither did Antoni Gaudie – makes it a controversial building. Outside it is an in-your-face fantasy of organic forms with the walls undulating like a country landscape. Inside the light from the stained glass windows create the same kind of spiritual uplift that you can get from the Notra Dame in Paris.
True, there are touches that seem extravagant and silly: for me it was the parasol over the crucifix in the main body of the church. But turn away and you notice another feature that forces you to hold your breath such as the intricate detailing on a minor side entrance near the main one.
A door as a work of art.