KOSHER VACATIONS: THE GORGEOUS, UNIQUE CITY OF BARCELONA, SPAIN

Thursday, March 6, 2014

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Barcelona, the beautiful.

One of the most beautiful cities in the world for Kosher vacations, Barcelona has a long and rich history and a cultural heritage which stays to this day, both in importance and magnificence.

It was founded in the Middle Ages as a Roman city, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

The city is located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, thus being the target of several sieges since it&rsquos founding, in around 15 BCE. It continued to be an artistic and cultural center in modern times, sporting architectural marvels from different eras. In 1999 barcelona won the RIBA RoyalGold Medal for it&rsquos architecture, the first and only city to win that honor (rather than an individual artist).   Some of its particularly famous architectural works by Antoni Gaudi and Lluis Domenech i Montaner, have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Barcelona is built on a terraine peppered by small hills, most of which became neighborhoods, that were named by the hill upon which they were built.

If time is limited , I&rsquod advise a visit to the Tibidabo Mountain, a 1,680 ft elevation, which offers astonishingly incredible views of the city.

For the adventure seekers, getting there is half the fun. Catch the quaint trolley car,(for a minimal fare, or a free ride if using the coupon book). the trolley is called Tranvia Blau and is on Balmes St. and Sant Gervais. It will take you to the base of the funicular which lifts you  the rest of the way up the mountain. Be sure to visit the building  at the top, on the older lower level which is stunningly  Byzantine and ornate.

If you enjoy walking/hiking, leave an extra hour for the gently sloping trail  which starts just above the upper drop off point of the trolley. It is called Carretera des aigues and provides beautiful views and sea breeze. . 

If you take the lower trail it will take you to the TV tower and to a beautiful little village . After a breather,you can continue on the paved toad to the top of Tibidabo (about 20 mins) .

It&rsquos important ant to note that this is NOT a physically challenging hike, and because of the moderately warm climate, will only invigorate.
For the kids among us there is an amusement park on top,  with a dozen rides and all the usual treats like cotton candy and cool drinks.


Speaking of children, a visit to the Museu de Xocolata (the Chocolate Museum) is mandatory.

Visitors learn about the history of chocolate, it&rsquos symbolic, cultural economical and nutritional value, while enjoying numerous chocolate statues. When I visited, they handed out samples of delicious chocolate, which was made in front of us.

The Barcelona Aquarium is the biggest in Europe and is one of the city&rsquos greatest tourist attractions. Add to that the Cosmo Caixa (The Science Museum), with it&rsquos wonderful permanent exhibits and Planetarium. The Poble Espanyol will introduce 117 replicas of buildings, streets and squares and has the whole family enjoy a miniature of Spain&rsquos famous sights, in this open air museum. For Socceer afficiandos there is the Museu de Futbal, a hit  with Furbal lovers the world over.

If you have time for only one outing, make certain you see the Sagrada Familia, the fantastic, still uncompleted medieval influenced cathedral. it is an architectural marvel and when completed will be 50 percent higher than any any in existence today. It&rsquos a world famous Masterpiece, which begun construction in 1882 by the great architect Antoni Gaudi, who has 

his stamp on many of the city&rsquos buildings.

Another one of Gaudi&rsquos masterpieces is La Pedrera, a madcap Gaudi creation, built 19095-10, a combined apartment and office block, with undulating grey stone facade.

Another amazing spot is the Merquat de Boqueria, possibly La Rambla&rsquos most interesting buildings (built from 1840-1914) in the Modernista influenced design. it&rsquos a market filled with the greatest smells, sound and color sensations in Europe, spilling over with gorgeous produce, with rich and varied color. This market has has been in the same spot since 1217, and restaurateurs, local and foreign gourmands have been frequenting the place for the freshest and best produce.

The Picasso museum is fascinating and gives a wonderful representation of the works of the local born Master, with works organized by the period they were created, tus giving an insight into the progression and evolvement of one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century.

For absorbing as much as possible of the local atmosphere, la Rambla is a broad pedestrian Boulevard, crowded every day until down with Barcelonians and visitors. it&rsquos dotted with cafe, news stands, pavement artists mimes and performance artists.

The Miro Museum, the best known 20th century artist, bequeathed his art foundation to his hometown in 1971, and it&rsquos light filled rooms are crammed with works by the artist.

Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. There&rsquos no bad season to visit Barcelona, and regardless of one&rsquos age and tastes, there will be something for every palate.

Barcelona is the home of many points of interest declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCOBarcelona is the home of many points of interest declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

image credit tripadvisor.com





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