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Barcelona Beckons. First Impressions.



While flying into Barcelona I got a tingly vibe telling me that I’m gonna love this city.  First, we flew over the beach front. I look down seeing winding roads dotted with lights snuggled up to the vastness of the Med. Generous expanse of sand. Then the airport came into view.

Like Wow.  I mean Double Wow.

It is a huge glass box with a wild swoop on the roof.  Hmmmm. I love glass buildings.  As we taxi toward the big green box, reflecting light and life, I can see that even the jetways are glass.  No narrow dark tunnels.  Once we were inside I loved the high ceiling, tiled in white, shining floors, sleek seating and excellent signage.

Feels futuristic.  Lots of shops, eateries, a spa, a chapel and more.  Great design.  It sure sets a tone for a city in love with art and architecture.  If I have to be stranded someplace, it would be here.

It was especially welcoming after an extremely frustrating and inefficient transfer in Paris where we encountered the stereotypical French rudeness within five minutes of landing.

My only thought about this airport though is to wonder what Gaudi would have thought? The architectural hero of this city very rarely, if ever, included straight lines in his buildings.

Bumble Bees Welcome Us

Next impression was another Wow, but this time with an amused smile.  We make our way to the taxi stand and see a swarm of zippy little bumblebees quequeing up waiting for us.  The shining clean black and yellow taxis are a happy sight.

Antoni Gaudi is every where.

I can’t imagine a city more influenced by one architect.  Designer and architect friends, help me out. Can you think of a city with an architect so closely tied?  Everywhere you look, it seems that this man or his disciples had their hands in the look and development of the city.  I’m going to blog more about him and his work after I have finished all the tours I can manage.  May take all week.

The city feels happy.

As I make my way around the city I feel an underlying joy of life.  Folks line La Rambla, dressed in sometimes hysterical costumes, other times just cute.  They earn a few coins posing for photos with tourists.  Shops abound with stuff that make me smile and I often look up and see something to chuckle about.

Biking is Big

We notice lots of tourists visiting the city on bike.  Most major roads have clearly marked bike lanes. The city has a rent-a- bike system like we’ve seen in Paris and other major metropolitan centers.  And we found a cute touring option–a young man pedaled us around the city, explaining what we were seeing in a lively fashion.  It was a great way to get an overview.  An alternative to the big tour buses.

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Oct 20, 2010 Reply


    This is wonderful — reminding me of our trip to Barcelona for our 25th.
    Be sure to see Parc Guell (Gaudi). I can’t wait to see your impressions of Sagrada Familia.
    What a magical place!

    Ruth Butler

  2. posted by
    Oct 20, 2010 Reply

    I agree with Ruth…a truly “magical place”. The public art is part of the magic….it’s everywhere! In addition to Familia and Parc Guell, several museums not to miss: Museu de l’Historia de la Ciutat (Museum of the History of the City), Joan Miro Foundation and Picasso. We also hired a driver and drove to Montserrat and wine country. Apparently Gaudi spent time here and drew inspiration from the rock formations…was it the rocks or the wine….one will never know!

  3. posted by
    Kim Cornetet
    Oct 21, 2010 Reply

    I’ve been all over Spain but never to Barcelona… I know I have to go. I especially loved the doorways with the glass. Unbelieveable! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more.

  4. posted by
    Barcelona: More Impressions | DesignDestinations
    Oct 25, 2010 Reply

    […] DesignDestinations Exploring Design Destinations Skip to content HomeAboutFavorite PhotosIzzyLife Story ← Barcelona Beckons. First Impressions. […]

  5. posted by
    Oct 25, 2010 Reply

    Kim, You need to go and take your children. I think they’d love it. sjs

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