If New York is a Big Apple, what is Barcelona? I would go and say it is a Big Strawberry. It is full of flavor, it’s colorful and juicy. Or there is this tasty Spanish word for “raspberry” – frambuesa. La Grande Frambuesa, that sounds good for this city, doesn’t it?
I have spent some time here now, and maybe some of you are wondering why there is no mention of it. I must admit, the longer I stay, the less I feel like mentioning anything 🙂 This city has swallowed me into its emotions, noises, flavors and colors, it has filled me with impressions which I still work on processing.
It is called the Great Enchantress, this city, it is known to have passion. And today I felt like the right color to describe this place would be Red, the color of passion. I have seen it everywhere recently. Even though these images are kind of old, some dating 2 years ago. But they still do the job – so why not? 🙂
In “Eat.Pray.Love” (the book and the movie) there is a fun discussion of which word would suit perfectly to your city. They say that Rome’s word would be “sex”, New York’s word would be “achieve”, and Stockholm’s one would be “conform” (and I agree that the last one would also go for Oslo). I tried many times to capture Barcelona’s essence in one word – and every time it was difficult. There was just so much to one city. Maybe, you have to live in this place to understand – but it dawned on me after the first weeks upon moving. And I wonder how I couldn’t see it before?
If every city had one word describing it well, Barcelona would have “temptation”. But of course, what else? It is the city of temptations. Anywhere you go, there is a temptation peeking at you, charming you with its sweet voice.
On every corner there is a bakery sending its warm smells all around. And the pastry is displayed in the window, winking to you with its red berry eyes. If not bakery, on every corner there would be a bar. And people would be sitting there – anytime, anyhow. Working day or weekend. Winter or summer. Coffee or beer. Friends or family. Or even alone, with a dog or without (but often with).
There will be menus on clapboards, promising full lunches for some laughable prices. There would be smell of the seafood cooked with garlic and potatoes. There will be many different shops with all kind of different things. Especially, if you would walk in the local neighborhood, you’d be surprised at how many shops would be there on the main street, one next to each other, selling something. I like that the big shopping molls didn’t steal all the activity. I like that the people still go to small local shops for different needs. And chat there with the salesman.
There will be markets with fresh fruit and fish, and there will be lots of supermarkets. And the people here seem to love going to all of them! I don’t know how much time I will need to get used to all this variety – and to know where the things are on their shelves. In Oslo, big city, we had 3-4 big supermarket names, and they all were easy. Here you have local (Mercadona, Bon Area, Dia, Bon Preu, Condis), Amettler Origen for local products, you have Lidl from Germany, Carrefour from France, then some others like small Keisy and huge Alcampo. And also stand-alone fruit and vegetables shops.
There will be glamorous designer shops on Passeig de Gracia, cool discos with fancy drinks wearing a fruit or a card on its top. There will lots of tourists and just people to watch on a lazy Saturday morning when you sit with your coffee on the terrace of another bakery (in the middle of winter!). And the pastry is winking through the window, wink-wink.
This city and its temptations… I don’t know if I should be complaining here or not :)))
If you have a word for your city, let me know about it in the comments!
And may you walk in beauty!