There is something so magical about seeing a city transform. In my opinion, no city just has one personality. The lives of a city’s inhabitants shift effortlessly to adapt to changing environments, be they the shifts from day to night, from fall to winter to spring to summer, or major events taking place. I’m always spellbound by these changes, and I was fortunate enough to see Barcelona transform from a grey, hazy, sleepy city to a vibrant, bright, bustling metropolis.
Saturday morning we woke up to a steady rainfall and gray skies. We headed down to La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous pedestrian street (it’s actually really baller, the peds walk in the middle and the cars drive down each side of it). Now I had heard that this street was supposed to be lively, full of street performers, and tourists/locals alike. But all we saw this morning was an abundance of umbrellas, trench coats, and people scurrying around trying to get to their next destination.
As the morning wore on, we kept hoping that the rain would let up, especially since we had planned to go to Parc Güell, designed by a famous architect named Gaudi. I would tell you more about him now, but I think he deserves his own post because of the incredible influence he left on Barcelona.
There was something surreal about visiting Parc Güell on a foggy day. Barely being able to see past the next few trees made navigating the park a little more of a challenge than expected, but we eventually found the entrance to the park. Yes, we entered it from the top of the hill instead of from the Gaudi entrance a little ways below. We found the gingerbread houses all right, but we weren’t entirely sure we were in the right place until we got close up. Somehow the fogginess made the architecture seem that much more …out of this world. More on this later, I promise.
Once we left the park and headed back to downtown Barcelona, the sky started to lighten up. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that the rain stopped. What it did mean was that the fog lifted (or maybe we were closer to sea level again?) and we were able to actually see more than 20m ahead of us. We wandered through the streets off La Rambla and saw adorable houses – and trees with leaves! It was barely the middle of March and these trees were in bloom. Goes to show what the weather was supposed to be..!
The next morning we woke up expecting to see the same grays. Instead we were greeted by a sky that just couldn’t seem to make up its mind. Did it really want to be cloudy? Or did it want the bright blues to shine through? Or did the sun want to make an appearance? Click on the image below to expand – you’ll see what I mean about the fickleness of the Barcelona sky Sunday morning.
Barcelona is really beautiful.
No, really, Barcelona is beautiful. By the afternoon, the sky had settled on a bright blue with the occasional cloud clump floating by. This time when we walked through Barcelona’s lovely streets, we could see exactly how lovely the trees are. Today, there were neither rain jackets nor umbrellas. I loved seeing the grey shadows of the leaves against the buildings/on the ground – it was a reminder that the sun had come out to play.
The thing about natural light is that it makes colors seem so much more vibrant. I saw some flags yesterday (see the picture of the Barcelona streets above). What I really liked about this set of photos below is how the sunlight makes the colors stand out more. In the top left photo, the little piece of the green building? tarp? shows through the arches and forms a shadow on the leftover rainwater that’s barely interrupted by the woman walking by. In the top right and bottom left, the flags are what stand out. In the top right, the flags are almost like clouds against the sky, but in the bottom left, the green-yellow-red are such a contrast to the shadow of the alley. Finally, in the bottom right, I loved the couple in the front; his teal shirt and her purple shawl/wrap are just so refreshing against the sea of dark winter colors.
I came to Barcelona to see Spain and I left inspired by the city’s colors.