Barcelona is the capital and most populous city in the region of Catalonia as well as being the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid, with a population of almost 4.5 million people living within the metropolitan area.   Located on the Mediterranean coast in the east of Spain, Barcelona is the most popular tourist destination in Spain (receiving over 5 million tourists every year), as well as being one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Barcelona is an important economic centre with a rich cultural heritage. Particularly renowned are the works of one of Spain’s most important architects of recent times, Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi’s principle works are found in Barcelona, where he built private residences, such as Casas Mila and Batilo as well as the yet unfinished Cathedral, Sagrada Familia, which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Barcelona enjoys a Mediterranean climate, without excessive differences between minimum and maximum temperatures. The summer lasts about 6 months, from May to October, although sometimes temperatures in November and April rise above 20C. Winters, lasting from December to March, are mild, with average temperatures over 15C during the day and 5C at night.

We saw some flights advertised with the cheap and cheerless airline, Ryanair. At just 39 Euros for the two of us return, from Malaga to Barcelona, how could we resist?

Our first day was a heady mix of emotions from reaquaintance with the wonderful Boqueria market and strolling along La Rambla in the sunshine, to the very near loss of Michael’s wallet to a cunning pickpocket whilst we were negotiating the Metro underground system. Fortunately Michael became aware of what was happening and managed to grab his wallet back from the thief’s hand, though sadly due to the amount of people around he got away. However, the experience served as a reminder of how careful we needed to be with our valuables. Well done ….Michael!

We particularly wanted to revisit some Gaudi masterpieces … Casa Mila and my favourite house in the world, Casa Batilo, which were an absolute joy. Later, a wonderful dinner at La Fonda restaurant on C/Escudellers brought an end to our first day in Barcelona.