Our trip to Barcelona was wonderful — beautiful sights, great food, and spotless weather. So naturally, I’ve got loads of pictures and I thought it might be fun to share some of our excursions on ye olde blog. Fear not, I’ll break them up into separate posts to avoid lulling you into the (in)famous “vacation slideshow coma.” I think I’ll pick and choose some of the best photos to illustrate my tales, but if you’re really a glutton for photographic punishment, all of the photos are in a Flickr set here. Vaminos!

Sunrise at BCN

How about a sunrise over the Mediterranean to greet you when you land in Barcelona? The weather was warm and sunny in the mid-80’s, but with a cool sea breeze, throughout our entire trip. At night, the temperature dropped very little, so it was definitely a summery vacation that made it easy to see everything on our itinerary and enjoy evenings out as well.

Because hotel rooms are rarely ready for redeye travelers who arrive in the lobby at 8 AM, we were able to wander the Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter, at the heart of the oldest part of the city, on a peaceful Sunday morning before the rest of Barcelona awoke.

Barri Gotic Cathedral2

Like so many large European cities, Barcelona had its share of cathedrals. Like so many large European cities, Barcelona’s cathedrals were surrounded by scaffolding and construction cranes. Sigh.

Barri Gotic Cathedral

Behind the main area of the cathedral, there was a lush interior courtyard that was open to the sky above, our first hint that this Mediterranean city has lots of Moorish influences in its architecture to combat the heat and sun of its climate.

In fact, the most charming part of this slightly-too-touristy area was, to me, the number of courtyards tucked away off the main streets – we even stumbled across the oddest flea market / tag sale in one of the larger plazas.

Barri Gotic Placa Real

Still, it was a wonderful introduction to the city, to be able to wander its oldest streets and see its beginnings.

Barri Gotic D in Alley

Barri Gotic Placa (Archivo Coronoa de Aragon)

Barri Gotic Street Signs

Barri Gotic Iron Grate Closeup

Barri Gotic Caelum

Our arrival in Barcelona was also a momentous day for the locals, being Catalan National Day. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, where Catalan is spoken primarily over Castilian Spanish. We came across some folks preparing for a rally, and we watched the police get in place around some of the city government buildings, just to be safe.

Barri Gotic Catalan National Day Rally

Finally, I don’t think I’d be speaking out of turn when I say that the highlight of the neighborhood for Andrew was the local pig shop.

Barri Gotic Xarcuteria1

We saw jamon of every type, location, and preparation. The smell of the store wafted so strongly out into the street that it was like the neighborhood perfume! He was a happy camper, indeed.

Barri Gotic A at Xarcuteria

And it certainly whetted our appetites for all of the tapas bars that we intended to eat at while we were in town….

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