Barcelona 2011-2012

So there I was, back in Barcelona! Told you I would come back here. . . This time, the 4th actually, I was planning to stay longer, no vacation now, the reason was studies, Master’s studies. During this bit more than a year of stay at the Catalan capital, I gradually felt some sort of identification with the city and its people. Well, even though I could never get used to the sound of Catalan language or try to speak it (don’t tell my classmates, OK?). You see I’ve always being fond of the Castilian Spanish, the core of the Spanish languages and I prefer to see Spain as a whole, a country that consists of a great variety of cultures united.

14 months of living in a city gives you undoubtedly plenty of time. I seized the opportunity to go sightseeing to almost every piece of art created by the hands of genius renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, explore the bars in Raval, Barri Gòtic and Gràcia, celebrate goals at the temple of football Camp Nou, walk along the Barceloneta beach at night, climb the Tibidabo Mountain by the Funicular de Tibidabo, watch the correfoc at the central streets during La Mercè Festival and smell the freshly picked roses while buying books along the Rambla on Sant Jordi’s day, Catalonia’s patron saint.

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4 flatmates, 3 continents, 3 mother tongues, 1 flat. From left to right: me, Yoko, Héctor and Natsumi.

I was lucky enough as to have flatmates (in Barcelona the rents are sky-high, so everybody shares) from Ecuador (1 guy, Héctor) and Japan (2 girls, Yoko and Natsumi), which means that we managed to accommodate 3 continents under the same roof! Actually, my Ecuadorian friend Héctor was half Chinese, so Asia was by far the prevalent continent in the nationality blend. What, did you just ask about communication problems? Well, one thing’s for sure, we were tactful enough to schedule everyday use of common areas of the house in order to avoid conflicts, which in fact worked. Apart from that, very few common nights out as no one could stand alcohol, but they did walk me to La Mercè Festival as well as to a spectacular international air show at the Barceloneta beach, where apart from the plane formations the highlight was when the sky got filled with parachutists, some of whom had the Catalan flag, the Senyera, tied to their parachutes.

Barcelona had unimaginably more colors in store for me, though. Half my classmates originated from countries that spread throughout Latin America (mostly Mexico, but also Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Chile) few from Europe and there was even one Chinese girl who had spent the previous year in Valencia studying Spanish. Thanks to my Mexican mates I had the chance to become familiar with the pre-Columbian Mexican custom of Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, celebrated right after Halloween on 1 and 2 of November. It was quite shocking yet extremely interesting when they took me to this Mexican bar downtown where an exhibition was on and I was standing in front of the altar filled with sugar skulls and marigolds, along with some wonderful samples of paper cutting art decorating the whole scenery. A feeling that death as a phenomenon has the power to inspire not simply art but, surprisingly, can be the source of magic, hit me for the first time.

This city is the only one that made me break my one and only travel rule so many times; you know, I’ve promised myself to always visit just once every place and then head to another (well, to be honest, there is one more that fits in the same category, Castellón de la Plana). But after all these trips, I know each time I leave a greater part of me back in Barcelona… nostalgia my ancestors would call it. Next visit will be in my plans forever.

Second part coming up . . .

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One response to “Barcelona 2011-2012

  1. Pingback: Barcelona 2011-2012 II: The obscure part | kouremenosmallias

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