It’s days like today that I miss the Barcelona heat. Although we’ve had an unseasonably warm winter this season in NYC, the cold days still leave me missing my beloved Barcelona. Last summer, I finally got the trip to Barcelona I’d won in a family bet from the 2010 World Cup. I’d cheered for Spain faithfully while everyone else in my family cheered for Brazil, then Germany, then the Netherlands. On the day of the World Cup Final I prepared empanadas for breakfast, and paella, tapas, and a big batch of sangria for game time. If there was a God Spain was going to win and so they did.
A year later, I toured around Barcelona, from the suburbs into the city and back for a week. I paraded down Las Ramblas, ate tapas and paella (bottom left) with the obligatory sangria at restaurants I stumbled upon in cobblestone lined alleys, and took a few dips in the gold-fleck-laden waters of the Mediterranean Sea at Icaria Beach.
In addition to the touristy stuff – I spent my days taking trains all over the city and walking (and walking). Every morning my mother, sister, and I hiked one and a half miles to the train station in a suburb called Bellaterra, and every day we passed my little door that we affectionately dubbed – mi pequeña puerta (bottom right). I skipped through and around the Barcelona Arc de Triomf (top left) and posed with my sister perched on mermaid sculptures in Barceloneta (top right). I hiked up to Parc Güell, and then hiked further to the top of the expansive and stunning park that overlooks the breathtaking city and the landmark Sagrada Familia church (middle left). Although my mother was insistent that we find a flamenco dancing show to watch, I left unsure of what it really represents to the Catalan or Spanish culture. It was one of those moments that felt too contrived, if only for tourist amusement, and I’m not sure that I’d do it again.
Nevertheless, I left Barcelona with an amazing appreciation for the city’s culture, it’s undeniable that from the food to the art – there’s nothing quite like the spirit of that city. My next visit will be spent touring the Balearic Islands and perhaps I’ll catch a glimpse of my favorite tennis player – Rafael Nadal.