Beach holiday or city break?
One of the decisions that any travel agent might require of a prospective client, but for the indecisive Barcelona is the obvious solution.
Most great European cities have a connection to the sea, but few are as close as Barcelona. London makes do with the mighty Thames.
Historically Ancient Rome relied on nearby Ostia. The Greeks tried to feel closer to Piraeus by building long curtain walls to bridge the gap.
Nowadays Paris pretends to be a seaside resort each summer with the creation of the Paris-Plages where sand, palm-trees and more are imported for some very popular set-dressing.
Barcelona has no need of such artifice, having the real thing in abundance. On the morning of my arrival it was deserted, but then it was late October and raining heavily so that when a squadron of Segways arrived their ponchos created a uniformity suggesting something closer to an expeditionary force than a group of sightseers.
The sun was already breaking through by then so I hung around while waiting for the Montjuic cable car to open. I was soon rewarded with bright sunshine and soaring temperatures. Barcelonetta, the name of the beach area, didn’t stay deserted for long, though most of the other visitors had a direct flight!