By Nancy Todd
1. L’Eixample (meaning The Expansion) is Nancy’s neighborhood. With thousands of Art Nouveau buildings with their twirly vines, stained glass roses, and rippling facades, Gaudí was a big influence here. La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, and the famous Sagrada Familia Church loom skyward in L’Eixample. Cerdà was the genius who designed this grid in the late 1800s. The street corners were chamfered to allow the trams and cool Mediterranean breezes pass. It is a photographer’s dream. Peek in through the huge doorways into lobby’s with old gas lamps, colorful tile floors, and elaborate graffito work on the walls. Damn, I love my neighborhood.
Fav street: Enrique Granados.
2. In Gracia there are few folks with floppy maps in hand. It’s a neighborhood with bohemian roots which continue to this day; reefer is in the air, drums beat. Kids play soccer in the plazas, old folks shop for bread, and cafe life teems. Gaudí’s first obscure house is here, Casa Vicens, and it is a discombobulated creation worth the walk. Squeezed between the Green and Yellow Metro Lines, Gracia is easy to get to. The Gracia Festival in August is several days of partying, dancing, and displays. And did I mention reefer?
Fav street: Verdi Street for its original version cinema and fun bars.
3. To the left of La Rambla, as you head to the sea, is the Gothic Neighborhood. In its crackled web of lanes, many of which are so skinny that a fat American car would have it’s mirrors torn off to a jagged nub, is one of the largest preserved medieval neighborhoods in the world and the Roman dudes also left their mark over 2,000 years ago. We love to go bar-hopping here with friends on the weekend. No plan except an initial meeting spot and we are out till at least 3:00 a.m. The Barcelona Cathedral has Sardana dancing, which is Catalan folk dancing, on Sunday afternoon, about one. The Frederic Mares Museum and The Shoe Museum are quirky stops. Watch your wallet day and night. Plaza Felip Neri is one of my top three plazas in the city. Oh, you are going to love getting lost here!
Fav street: Carrer Comtal, lots of excellent shopping!
Have you stayed in an area of Barcelona that you really liked (or hated)? Tell us about it!