Urban Love Affairs

Why I love living in Barcelona. Because on any given evening I can walk out of the house with camera in hand, stroll aimlessly and feel inspired. And feel exploring. And feel love.

Last week I went out for a stroll to a neighborhood, not far from mine, called Sant Andreu. Sant Andreu looks like a little pueblo, a village of its own. And it is has the truth in it, because it used to be a separate village before being integrated in the city of Barcelona. Sant Andreu is full of narrow streets shaded by orange trees, cobblestone walks and sweet little houses. But this text is not going to be about it. Neither the photos (well, some are but not exclusively).

Walking in those narrow streets, I breathed in and realized that the air I breathe in – is love. The love for a place. Barcelona at that moment reminded me of three places I love so much: Kiev, Malaga and Rovinj.

red and electric is for passion

Kiev – because the spring evenings here are just the same as in my home country. I forgot how warm and romantic a spring evening can be after twelve years living in the North. Rovinj – because it was also all about cobblestone walks, narrow streets with tables on them, happy people by those tables and happy me. And Malaga – because Malaga 🙂 Because it was my first Spanish romance with a city.

I forgot this feeling. Or better say – I never lived with it. I always joked that I see myself like married to the boring and stable guy, this city Oslo, which gives me peace and comfort – but I constantly keep on falling madly in love and having affairs with all these other places. Paris, Egypt, Rovinj… And now, in this season of my life, I suddenly discovered that I live with a guy, I mean a place, that I have passion for. Maybe, this is pure luck. Or maybe, this is getting older and wiser :))

With all its noise, and moving, and overstimulation at times – I feel love for this place. When I stand on my balcony at night and watch a tram waiting at the stop, full of cold light and some figures moving inside. When I walk the streets that have flower print pavement. When I see palm tree shadows on the ground. I smile, I breathe in slowly and feel so lucky to be here.

And for the first time in my life I don’t want to travel out. We are going to a wedding in Italy soon, and I just don’t feel for leaving town like before. Before I used to count days. Now I am like: “Why again are we going? Do we really have to?” :))

look, honey

It is strange that after eleven years in Oslo I never felt really at home. Coming back to Oslo felt like coming back to some place familiar – but not home. However, surprise surprise, it seems I will be going to Oslo for a month or two this summer. And guess what, for the first time I feel a true excitement about it. When every Oslonian looks forward to leave the city in summer – I am looking forward to get back there. So there must be some love in my heart for this boring stable guy too, no? :))

I already made a mental list of places I want to go to. Neighborhoods of Frogner, Grunerløkka, Torshov, St. Hanshaugen… To eat ice-cream by the waterfront. To go dancing salsa. Ironically enough, I miss salsa in Oslo, because the community there is not so big and I know so many people there. In Barcelona I am still in process, and community is way bigger, if there is a ONE community (maybe, not).

So this is a pleasant turn to my old story. Now I live with this dynamic and passionate romance of a city – and I can go back to my old  and charming husband in the North. And nobody is jealous! This happens once in a lifetime, no? And this is a reason for celebration (which are quite numerous here) Viva la vida! :))

What are your relationships to your places? Romantic, boring, safe, exciting? Where do you feel like falling in love?

And may you walk in beauty!

a man between doors
a door between a woman and a bike

15 thoughts on “Urban Love Affairs

  1. I love to travel but home is wherever my husband is. In truth, I feel much more at home in Nice than anywhere else. We’ve recently returned from the Bodensee, where we lived 25 years ago, and while it felt familiar, home is still the Cote d’Azur.

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  2. I think if I change the names of the cities, I could have totally written this post!! I have same feelings for a few places… Spain is where I’m from and where I’ve lived almost all my live and family and friends are. But after 7 years living abroad, every time we go there I feel it’s more visiting than being at home (all the rush visiting my husband’s family and mine, friends… it’s always so busy that it feels are always running to see everybody and do everything we want… it’s so exhausting!!!!)…
    My first love was Stockholm… 2 years there and I always had that feeling of being discovering a new place, a new culture… I loved it and I was really sad when we moved to Ireland!! I cried during the flight!! Hehehe.
    Dublin didn’t really feel like home. I think it was the weather…. 3 years of almost constant rain, cold and wind with a few exceptions… it was a bit boring until I started with photography. But funnily, now that I don’t live there I don’t mind travelling back to Dublin and visiting friends and familiar places. I think it’s because it’s a temporary thing, only for a few days… And being in a comfy hotel instead of in a small apartment full of mold makes a huge difference!! 😛
    And Zurich… I think it’s the love of my life!! I fall in love the first time I visited it, 5 years ago… And I don’t think I’ve been happier in any other place. It really feels like home! Even if Swiss people have the same fame as people in Scandinavian, I find them always nice… specially when they see that you’re trying to be part of the community, learning their language and everything. I love Swiss nature, the mountains and lakes and the Swiss way of life, so connected to this nature. And the cities… they are so cute!! I’m never bored of walking around Zurich, watching the stylish people walk in the main street or enjoying the sun by the lake, that super nice feeling of security, tranquility and peace everywhere you go… I wonder sometimes if this is even real… hehehe. And yes, it feels like home!! 🙂

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    • Amazing story, Mercedes! And fun to hear that you could find yourself in this story with other names. Though your first love was Stockholm, the part of the world where I don’t find myself, hehe. But hey, my first love was Hamburg, this can be weird enough too 😆
      And from the Central Europe I felt the best in Austria. People were so warm and welcoming and the country so beautiful. Though Austrians don’t have the best fame either. But in the end you don’t go for the nation – you go for the people you meet.
      You know what I mean. It is hard to talk in general. It is just the Swiss or the Norwegians we happened to meet. This is our image of the nation. And of course, that may vary a lot from person to person.
      I am doing my baby steps in Spain, and you are from there but love Switzerland – and it is so amazing to hear other people’s love stories with the place because you will never know what happens))

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    • Uuh ooh, sounds not summery at all.
      Barcelona at last got stable good temps. And this is when we left for Italy, haha. Just a short trip to celebrate the friends’ wedding. So I would love to send you all the warmth and the lemons of Amalfi coast

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