Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Travel Diaries: The Upcoming Barcelona Trip!

Sultry summer is about to make her exit, making room for the cooler, colorful days of fall. No one can deny the beauty of a DC autumn, with fluttering gold and brown leaves dancing through the streets. Yet we’ll have trouble keeping our envy under wraps this October as an Art League Travel Workshop heads to Barcelona, Spain. Leaves, schmeaves; we’ll be glued to our computers waiting for the group to post their vacation photos.

Jim Burford, artist and instructor at The Art League School, will be leading the adventure this year and says the group is in for a visual treat.

“I think every city has a distinct architecture that is uniquely theirs,” he says. “But Barcelona takes it to another level.”

Known for its Barri Gotic, or Gothic Quarter, in the city’s center, Barcelona is home to some of the most breathtaking buildings in the world, a few of which date back to the medieval era. Yet mixed along with the ancient structures are some iconic symbols of modern architectural innovation. Antoni Gaudi turned the city into his Art Nouveau canvas, creating the towering works of art that draw millions of tourists each year to the Catalan. “Just seeing the buildings up close, you realize that photos don’t do them justice,” says Burford. “In photos, they’re beautiful. In person, they’re startling.”

Because of the city’s array of different cultural corners, it’s easy for each visitor to carve out a niche…a favorite spot…a place that will define their trip. For Burford, that spot is Les Quatre Gats, or “The Four Cats.”

“That was where Picasso used to hang out,” he says. “I found it when I was wandering the streets of the Gothic Quarter. For the rest of the trip, I kept coming back to it, learning more and more about what he did there and why it inspired him.”

As he plans the upcoming trip with the The Art League, Burford says the most he can hope for is that each person finds a place that inspires them as much as Les Quatre Gats did for him. “There’s so much to see here,” he says. “It’s a magical city. If I had one piece of advice for everyone in the world, it would be this: go.”

For more information about the trip to Barcelona and The Art League Travel Workshops, visit the website

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