After France, here’s a selection of street portraits I took when I traveled to Spain (in 2007 and 2009).
I’ve been to Barcelona and Figueras, both of which are situated in the autonomous community of Catalunya. Here, like in Quebec, the common language (Catalan/French) is different from the main country’s official language (Spanish/English). They also have their own culture and traditions.
I know that the political situation is complex so I won’t get into that. For now, this region is still part of Spain and it made such a good impression on me that I went back a second time after my initial visit. Exploring other parts of the country is definitely something I plan to do in the future, because of my love for the language (I’m working on learning it right now!) and my general fascination with that country’s culture, cuisine and landscapes.
People ask what my favorite city in the world is. I can’t pick one so I usually give a top 3: Montreal, Istanbul and Barcelona. I don’t think I have to explain the first one, as I’ve professed my love for the city I live in quite often on this blog. Istanbul is a city I’ll gladly address in another article.
This is what I wrote about Barcelona last year on another blog (in french):
Much has been said about this city in the last few years. Young people head there for the legendary nightlife. Art lovers go to visit the numerous museums and to contemplate the architectural gems. Foodies try to get reservations at Ferran and Albert Adria’s restaurants and upon failure, go to visit the many other eateries serving a tasty, audacious cuisine.
Most travelers that visit Barcelona come home truly entranced and enchanted by their visit in the Catalan capital. Everyone will find something that they like, even those that don’t usually like urban environments.
The effervescence and the warm atmosphere will almost assuredly succeed in casting a spell on the most blasé of travelers. Furthermore, it’s geographical situation is ideal, mixing the sea, the mountains and a Mediterranean climate (mild winters, warm summers).
Barcelona does not carry the historical weight of other big European cities like Paris, London or Rome. In a way, it is possibly what makes it so interesting and so modern. The first stones in this city where laid more than 2000 years ago but the relics of the past are not what characterizes it.
The city as we know it now exists mostly since the end of Spanish dictator Franco’s rule, in 1975.
Once they were released from the tough censorship (particularly severe against the Catalans), barcelonians took over the construction of their city, which had not really progressed since the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. In 1992, the holding of the Olympic Games served as a pretext for the renewal of several of the city’s infrastructures and for the construction of new, more modern buildings that remained in tune with the dominant architectural styles of the city (modeled mostly by famed architect Antoni Gaudi).
Here are photos of people, taken in the streets of this lovely ciutat:
The small, sleepy town of Figueras (Figueres in catalan) is where notable surrealist Salvador Dali was born. Fans of the artist should make the day trip from Barcelona to visit the Teatre-Museu Dali which is dedicated to his work. The building and premises were imagined by the artist himself, making it all the more interesting a place to view his paintings, sculptures and various creations (like the famous living room setting in the shape of Mae West’s face).