Thursday, January 15, 2009

On Barcelona

After a while, you tend find a place you feel really connect with. I´m not sure why it is, but when you ask people, they´ve always got one place that´s special and that they rave about. You ask them why, and it´s always about something unique that happened to them and to no one else. One thing´s been pretty constant, though - Barcelona is everybody´s second favourite city.

It´s a pretty special place. I was taking a walk along the marina this afternoon. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the esplanade was lined with plam trees. There were seagulls swooping on halpless snacking tourists and, well... it was just perfect. It reminded me of San Francisco along the Embarcadero, with the palm trees and the trolley trams and the smell of the sea coming from the Bay.

The Gothic Quarter is right off the waterfront, just off the Mirador de Colom. It´s a warren of buildings and shadowy streets. You keep walking and get lost, and keep walking and eventually you wind up at La Rambla. Everything seems to lead to La Rambla. And it´s something you can keep walking down forever.

And then there´s Gaudi. Sometime in teh 19th century, Barcelona got rich. Very rich. It burst through its city walls and expanded into the countryside. They drew up plans for a grid of the new city, one that was full of tree-lined streets and broad avenues, like a Paris with more class. It´s where I´m staying now, in a 100 year-old apartment just off one of the main avenues.

It´s a stroke of good fortune that I´m plonked in the middle of a host of Gaudi´s stuff. It´s the oddest thing to walk along a street filled with stolid 19th century buildings, and then come cross a riot of colour and shape and weirdness. Took a walk through the Parc Guell the other day. Spent some time sitting in front of the Casa Batllo today, and wondering if 16€ was a fair price to see probably the weirdest house I´m ever likely to see. Probably have to do it tommorrow.

Off to see the Barca-Atletico game now.


Anonymous said...

Nice to know you are having a whale of a time.

Your brother

Connolly's agent said...

It's alright. Bit tired, but chugging along. Staying in what seems like the Indian/Pakistani suburb of Barcelona now. Had a kebab and watched a Bollywood flick for dinner. Exotic.