A week in Barcelona is barely enough. Photographing Barcelona is a tall order, particularly if time is limited and daylight is mostly spent inside one of the most brutal conference centres I’ve ever had the misfortune to visit.
I haven’t really scratched the surface with this collection, but it has convinced me to go back and keep going back until I know the city well enough. My impressions are many and varied, there is architecture ranging from the extraordinary Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudi, a gothic modernist masterpiece that for my money ranks as one of the most spectacular buildings I’ve ever seen. There is the brutalist modernity of the university district, typified by the hotel I stayed in, Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I. Be aware that this is primarily a conference hotel and looks and behaves like one. Impersonal, spectacular and brutal. Consumed one of the most disgusting hamburgers I’ve ever eaten and one of the nicest omelettes. Go figure.
The first evening was probably the best from the photographic perspective. I had decided to only take the Canon G1 X on the trip, a decision I didn’t regret since it is light and inconspicuous. I hightailed it to the Ramblas, Barcelona’s equivalent of Piccadilly, a street that is essentially pedestrian, lined with shops, bars and cafes, where people stroll, photographers photograph and life just carries on. The prices are high, but off the main drag, there are lots of cheaper, more friendly places to linger.
The harbour is well worth visiting. Avoid the shopping centre style area and head for the older parts which in January are much quieter and more interesting. I finally broke free of my conference on the Friday and headed downtown to photograph the Gaudi Cathedral. It is as wonderful as it is famous, but four blocks to the north east there is the Hospital de la Santa Creu i de Sant Pau – a fabulous building designed by another of the Catalan modernists, Lluis Domenech i Montanet. Not quite as breathtaking as Sagrada Familia, but definitely in the same league. It is being restored at the moment and the site is inaccessible, but can still be viewed from the road and well worth the 15 minute walk to get there.
The whole collection of photographs from Barcelona can be viewed here. (http://electricalimage.com/galleries/travel/spain/barcelona/)