Barcelona, a city loved by many, never visited by us, until recently that is. Somehow we always end up in Paris when it comes to city trips: that one occasion, that one expo drawing us in. So when Spanish airline Vueling invited us to go and celebrate San Jordi in their hometown, we made the proper arrangements and were on our way to the colorful city of beach, tapas, sun and Gaudi.
The reason for our visit? Vueling wanted to introduce us to the Catalan spirit of Sant Jordi, one of the most celebrated holidays in Barcelona. You could call it the Catalan version of Valentine’s Day. The difference? A different date, something with a dragon and a rose in the color of it’s blood, nothing to do with sending commercial post cards and everyone joins in the fun and love. The result? Streets filled with happy people, roses and books. If you happen to be around at Sant Jordi, you’re bound to get swept into the atmosphere and end up buying a probably funky colored, overprized rose or book for the people closest to you. Not a bad tradition, much more genuine feeling than our standard Valentine’s. The mood was set.
Although our trip was short and sweet, we managed to visit as much as possible. Too little time to properly stage an itinerary, you’re much better off visiting our friends’ and travel companions’ website The Epic Guide for that. We had just enough time to get a first impression of a city that has much more to offer. Our favorite spots that weekend? The Montjuïc hill where we had a perfect view of the city, were just in time to witness the starting of the fountains and get swept of our feet by the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion. El Nacional for the ultimate introduction into Catalan interior architecture, the perfect mix of high-end materials, warm colors and a little kitsch, and the best local food. The Hospital of Sant Pau for it’s extraordinary preservation and rich Art Nouveau style.
What we would definitely go back for? The tapas and other food, the colorful abundance and the use of organic elements in architecture, the beautiful trees in the wide streets, the bunch of funny looking dogs walking those same streets and first on our list when we go back to Barcelona: the Jardi Botanic of course!
I want to thank Vueling for showing us what Catalan hospitality means, for teaching us how to make the perfect paella among other tapas and for hosting us a stay in your nice hotel.
If you go to Barcelona, fly with Vueling, the Spanish language will get you in an instant holiday mood!