Spanish Flag Barcelona, Sep. 2001 Catalan Flag

My memories of Barcelona will always be colored with the terrible events of Sep. 11th.

In September, I took a business trip to Barcelona, Spain. It was meant to be a short trip to take in a couple of workshops over the weekend, and then either home or possibly continuing on to California for more work visits. I was due to fly back on the 12th, but on the 11th everything changed, for the whole world. It took me three days to get home. (My saga.)

How can I properly express the grief I felt and will always feel, first for the passengers on the doomed airliners, then for the thousands of victims in the targeted buildings, and lastly for those that remain, and suffer the consequences? I cannot.

Barcelona is in the Northeast of Spain, on the Mediterranean, near the French border. It is the second-largest city in Spain, and the capital of Catalonia, a region with its own culture, cuisine, and even language (Catalan). The city itself has about 1.5 million people, or about 4 million in the metropolitan area. (It thus compares with Norway's entire population of about 4.5 million!)Map of Spain

It's a marvelous city, between the mellow lifestyle exemplified by the outdoor cafes on Las Ramblas, the fantastic Modernisme architecture of Gaudí and others (who bring a very special touch to the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau style), the deeper historical context from the Romans to the medieval counts and kings, the surrounding landscape leading up to the Pyrenees, and lastly the people: largely warm, friendly, and tolerant of struggling foreigners.

I've organized the pictures into the following sections, more-or-less in the order I explored them:

Barcelona is mix of reasonably compact neighborhoods that are great fun to walk around, but is also spread out enough that one can't just walk everywhere. There's a great public transportation system, and I got quite familiar with the Metro, and also took a few buses and the suburban train. Multi-trip tickets are great!

For guidebooks, I relied mainly on The Rough Guide, and the Guide to the Ruta del Modernisme put out by the city. Many of the following sites can only be visited through guided tours, which may be infrequent or have odd hours, especially for an English-language tour. This requires either a lot of advanced planning, or more realistically, the flexibility to come back later or hang around the neighborhood for an hour or so until one can get in.

Other resources, from my own architecture library:

And a search on, say, Amazon.com will reveal any number of other books on Barcelona, and on Gaudí specifically.

Again I went wild taking pictures: in seven days in the city I took 345 pictures, from which I've created these 163 images. There are about 25 megabytes of content here, so a broadband connection will be more pleasant than using a modem.

I used my little digital Canon S100, which is basically a point-and-shoot. There were times when I would have preferred some of my more sophisticated equipment, especially longer and faster lenses. Optical quality is also an issue, with the tiny lens exhibiting obvious barrel distortion and color fringing. But the fantastic convenience of this tiny camera is undeniable, and it does a very good job for what it is.

These pictures were taken with a Canon S100 digital camera, downloading to my laptop every night. Color balancing, cropping, etc. were done with Adobe PhotoShop LE. Panoramas were built with PanaVue Image Assembler. My apologies to various tourist sites from which I abstracted map graphics.

schooler@alum.mit.edu