Square by square, Barcelona pulses colour, movement, life. People are out, they are in the parks, in the tall, skinny alley ways and with each other. OId women drag along their colorful shopping bags and young families tot their toddlers around the parks. The sun is full and hot, and the children are happy. Paloma has told me about 'square life' before, it's where childhood memories are made and where parents catch a break. Where old people play Petanque and love birds take their first awkward flights. It's not a British thing, where those able prefer to stay in with a 'cuppa and generally avoid public contact with strangers. Nor American where we stake our own damn land and drive our kids to others well deserved damn land. Freedom. It is a lifestyle derived from close quarters and hard times, from local communities and large families.
My five days in the city were spent wondering between two worlds. One: organised, air-conditioned, and academic. Two: busy as hell, hot as well, and cool as hell. I didn't go to any of the major monuments - although I tried several times - I didn't go to any museums or movies. I walked and even talked with some locals, bought a few little things, and ate like a southern european (to me this = king). The rest of the time I was walking and taking pictures. Some of the environemnt.
But really this trip was on people and how they interacted with the city, in detail and at large.
Everyone uses a moped, even the businesmen
The markets and big and bustling.
Looking back, I am somewhat mixed on Barcelona. There is something essential there that grabs me, the livelihood and colours, the people and the food. But it is so busy, even in the quieter neighborhood I was in there was a constant flow of mopeds and cars and trucks and people and bikes and so on. While this a main contributor to what I like about the city, it's that compromise that has always kept me away from the big places. Back in Cambridge, people are indoors, and that's OKAY, at least while I'm writing my thesis.