My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon in Spain and Portugal. We waited a few months after our wedding which allowed us some time to plan the perfect trip. We got married in July and knew we wanted a fall honeymoon. After some research, we opted out of the all-inclusive resorts for a trip that involved learning about history, culture and new languages. Europe, fit all of the boxes. We decided on Spain and Portugal as these countries had great weather during this time of the year! Our first stop was Barcelona!
Barcelona, in my opinion, had the most interesting history out of all the places that we went to. The city is divided into those that call themselves Spanish and Catalunyans. I didn’t understand at first why Barcelona’s most spoken language was actually Catalan. My questions were answered however, in a free walking tour that we took part in by a company called Sandeman. I first tried out the Sandeman free walking tour last summer in Paris, and our Barcelona experience was as fantastic. We had an excellent Irish tour guide who gave us the rich history of the Catalunyans vs. the Spanish.
Another amazing aspect of Barcelona’s history that we loved, was the work of their most famous artist and architect, Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi had an eclectic style influenced by nature and his work can be seen all over the city: in buildings, on the sidewalk and even on lamp posts. However, his most credited accomplishment is the Sagrada Familia:
The interior of the Sagrada Familia. Can you see the forest, trees and branches interior?
The Cathedral de Barcelona was also another monument that dated back hundreds of years. The cathedral dated back to the Roman Catholic era and is dedicated to Eulalia, whose statue is situated at the top of the cathedral (you can see her arm raised at the very top of the image below). Eulalia was a thirteen year old young girl, who suffered in the power of Catholicism as she refused to leave her faith of Christianity. She was hung naked in the square of the cathedral (to mimic Jesus), and when she didn’t die, she was put in a barrel that had sharp objects and was rolled down a hill 13 times. Each roll was to represent her age, 13. At that point, she had still survived the torture so finally, she was beheaded in the middle of the square.
Eventually, when the Roman empire announced Christianity as the new faith, those that were responsible for Eulalia’s death in Barcelona decided to honour her instead. She became Saint Eulalia and her statue was placed at the very top of the Cathedral. There is also an area of the Cathedral that has a pond and they placed 13 doves to live in her memory. However, doves kept flying away so the church brought in 13 white geese to live in the pond. The pond still maintains that tradition and there are 13 geese that currently inhabit a part of the cathedral.
My story may not be 100% accurate so if you’d like further reading, you can find some material on Wikipedia.
One of our favourite visits in Barcelona was the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona. The city of Barcelona was built 5 ft. above the original Roman ruins. These Roman ruins were still preserved and the museum took you on a walk through of the ruins, old homes, wine making and fish salting facilities. The photo below is me staring up at an ancient Roman wall.
Here are some more of the amazing sights we got to see in Barcelona, a beautiful city with rich culture and history.
All images are captured by me, except for title image.