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Barcelona’s skyline, dotted by beautiful Gaudi architecture. (Photo by MorBCN)

WHAT TO EXPECT:

This is a young people friendly city. It’s energetic and busy, a bit like a North Italian city. It’s walkable; the Paseo runs much of the length of the center of town. It has two amazingly good museums, cheap (for Europe) shopping, is home to the masterpieces of one of the most famous architects in history and a very active nightlife.

Barcelona is a laid back London. The street near our hotel was filled with piercing/tatoo studios and smoke shops, it almost reminded me of Haight Street in San Francisco—except cooler because it was in Spain.

Stella knows cool when she sees it.

WHERE YOU SHOULD GO:

The art pours out into the streetsMUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

A spectacular venue to see modern art! The building, designed by Richard Meier brings light from the south through a solid wall of windows into three floors of packed with art you never get to see in the States. Outside, on two sides of the museum are large empty squares which slowly fill up as the day moves on. By afternoon they are buzzing with music and people spilling out from the cafés. Also a good place to start looking for some of the spectacular street art that covers the city.

THE PICASSO MUSEUM

Picasso a go go. This is Picasso as a teenager, as an art student, as a copy cat, as Toulouse-Lautrec, as a Matisse, as warmed over Corot, and finally as a frustrated old man. It’s everything you don’t see at the Picasso Museum in Paris which features some of his most popular work. A must see to fill out your understanding of this most influential 20th Century artist.

I was really surprised when I saw some of Picasso’s earlier work. It wasn’t like his later work at all. Not crazy, just sort of normal.

Aki Laflin

TAPIES CENTER

A big surprise, a beautiful space, a great homage to a modern Spanish artist and on top of all that it has a garden on the roof where you can swing in the hammocks and draw and paint at your leisure. The building is small and uncrowded and beautifully arranged; perfect for a relaxing and edifying trip after, say, lunch.

WHERE YOU SHOULD EAT:

Most is tourist fare. View it as a chance to get good at finding the places where all the local young hip sophisticates eat. Take a walk down LAS RAMBLAS. The best places will probably be off the main drag. And remember: you’re in Spain. People aren’t having dinner here until 9:30 at night (ahem. 21:30).

MAMA CAFÉ (Carrer Doctor Dou 10, ph 93.301.29.40)

Down a little side street near the Museum of Modern Art. Microwaves and processed foods are strictly prohibited and it has all the style you need for lunch or dinner. You’ll be happy you went.

ES (Carrer Doctor Dou 14, ph: 93.301.00.68)

Mama Café spawned an upscale daughter next door. The quality of french cuisine with a Spanish focus and (best of all) Barcelona prices.

There’s also a great little square past the Picasso Museum. Keep following the street the Picasso is on, and don’t give up—you’ll find a square with trees, a great little cafe, and lots of locals. You might get lost, sure… but that’s how we found it in the first place.

WHERE YOU WANT TO GO:

A magical journey through Gaudi ParkLA SAGRADA FAMILIA

Ever see a cathedral being built? No!? Here’s you’re chance. There’s lots of oooing and aaaaing at Gaudi’s masterpiece—even though it isn’t yet finished. It is certainly the most unusual of all public monuments.Walk up one of the spires for a terrific view of the city. Try pictures at sunset.

PARK GÜELL

Read The Lord of the Rings? Think “The Shire” but designed by Antoni Gaudi and made with cement, stones and tiles.

EL PASEO

Just wander, walk, move about, and join the throngs. Well, maybe not join them. But the spectacle of it all can be very nice.

THE BEACH

Need we explain?

Barcelona seems to have this free spirit that manifests itself perfectly in the Gaudi architecture spread through out the city. His stuff is crazy. It looks like it could be straight out of a Disney movie on LSD.

Stella has never used LSD. We swear.

WHERE YOU WANT TO STAY:

For the adventurous and seafaring, you can’t go wrong with this boat…it’s the perfect base to go to Barcelona’s famous beach and to explore the city.

This story was brought up to us by the San Francisco Art and Film for teenagers

Comments on: "A travelers guide to Barcelona" (2)

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