Port Spotlight: Barcelona, Spain

[caption id="attachment_16503" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Royal Clipper taken off the coast of Barcelona on a dark, stormy night. A beautiful chance shot by Carlos Castillejo.

Barcelona has a distinct quality that separates itself from the rest of Spain. Besides the chatter of Catalán (the city’s native language) that you’ll hear instead of Spanish, Barcelona boasts architectural sights unlike anywhere else in the world.

There’s no way you can roam Barcelona for long without coming across La Sagrada Familia, a massive but incomplete Roman Catholic church designed by the late Antoni Gaudí. Described by Paul Goldberger as "The most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages,” La Sagrada Familia is perhaps one of the world’s most spectacular churches.

In true Gaudí fashion, the church’s exterior has a system of angled columns and complex geometries with finely crafted adornments depicting the life of Jesus Christ. Equally stunning is its interior. Filled with bright colors reflecting off ornate stained-glass windows, you will be in awe of just how small you feel relative to the sanctuary.

La Rambla is another must-see while in Barcelona, a mile-long bustling street capturing the essence of Barcelonan culture.

Lined with restaurants and little shops, you’re most likely to experience a favorite memory at the Boqueria Market right off of La Rambla.

Once inside, you are surrounded by stands of brightly colored fruit juices and affordable fruits among palatable meats and cheeses.

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