Opinion | Antique architecture adds culture

I often enjoy going through old towns and cities in the United States and seeing old building and houses. I find it fascinating to think about the history behind it and all what it has been through.
Now I have gotten to take that joy to Europe. But instead of seeing buildings that are one or two hundred years old, I see ancient Roman roads, columns and walls that are around 2,000 years old.
It is amazing to think that these are still standing and yet roads in America seem to fall apart only years after they are built.
All of us on the GALA trip saw the ruins and much more today as we took tour of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.
Aside from seeing some Roman remains, we saw La Catedral which is one of the largest cathedrals in Barcelona. The architecture was beautiful. We did not go in the cathedral because the church charges for admission.
We saw a monastery near the cathedral, and its facade was covered in pot marks which were clearly from an explosion.
Our tour guide explained that there had been explosion in that square during the Spanish Civil War, in the 1930’s.  The tour guide said that the city had not repaired the monastery to keep it as a monument for those who died during the Civil War.
Aside from the different landmarks, the tour guide showed us several of the countless tucked away shops and restaurants.
There was a candle shop that had been around since the 18th century and the guide said that the shop’s original purpose was to provide the many candles needed for Catholic masses. But with time; it had switched to providing more decorative candles along with those for the church.
We also saw a tapas restaurant where customers bills are determined by how many toothpicks they have—the whole menu is displayed on the counter with all of the food on skewered on toothpicks. Members of our group went there later in the day and said it was good tapas for a decent price.
Tonight we explored a little more of Barcelona’s nightlife and went to a few bars. At one bar we met students from Belgium, France, Germany, Lithuania and two from America.
It’s always interesting to talk to locals, but I find it more interesting to talk to other foreigners to see how their experience has been compared with mine.