Crumpled commutes, packed pubs and stressy shopping experiences are afoot. But instead of putting up with the inconvenience, why not book a holiday? I’ll be sharing some escape ideas to tempt you away this summer.
First on the list is beautiful Barcelona. This fabulous Spanish city hosted the Games back in 1992, and is all the better for it. There are many renovated buildings thanks to the event, but possibly the best improvement for a visitor is the seafront. This is now a great place for an evening stroll and Barceloneta Beach is the perfect place to catch some rays. It was even crowned Best Urban Beach in a documentary for the Discovery Channel in 2005.
Any Londoner who feels skeptical about the Olympics aftermath will be soothed by Barcelona. Public art commissioned for the event still adorns the pretty streets – look out for Roy Lichtenstein’s Barcelona Head in the harbor area.
Residents enjoy a different pace to Londoners, who will be shocked at early closing, siestas, and a religiously observed day of rest on Sundays. Meander along the cobbles, sip your coffee and feel yourself slowly unwind in the sunshine.
There are plenty of distractions here for the ‘sportaphobe’ (just remember to avoid match day). Las Ramblas are fantastic to explore, with plenty of boutiques and independent shops to tempt you. There’s also some great street entertainment. The Ribera Quarte and Gothic Quarter are also great areas to have a nose around.
The most famous sight is the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s enormous gothic temple. Don’t be disappointed by the scaffolding – this towering basilica has been under construction since 1882, and it’s estimated that there’s still about 50 years to go. The project has far outlived its visionary, so it’s difficult to say if it is exactly how he would have wanted it. Many other examples of his work are dotted about the city.
If you arrive on a rainy day, head to the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (or CCCB). This fantastic museum hosts a range of changing exhibits including paintings, sculpures, frescos and photographs from different periods around the world. Or head to Tossa for some fantastic tapas, it’s really close to the Sagrada Familia.
Image courtesy of Flickr