Exploring Barcelona (part 2)
Part 1 is about the monuments, art and culture.
This is a three month review of our experiences living in Barcelona, taking phone snaps as we observe everything with fresh eyes.
I’m a towny at heart
I’m from London. I had to train myself into feeling comfortable in the countryside because I was scared of the dark – my imagination goes haywire! I’ve always loved visiting cities though, with all the life, architecture, shops and art galleries. When we used to live remotely, we used to visit urban working areas for our holidays, now we can be like normal people and visit nature when we have time off!
We can get delicious local cava and home-made vermouth, which is poured directly from the barrel and traditionally served with an olive.
Food & drink
Cafes, bars, shops and restaurants
All the bars, cafes and restaurants are closed on writing this, though we can get take-aways and world cuisine delivered straight to our door. The croissants are so good here, though our nearest baker often smells like they’re burning them (bad marketing) – France is just a two hour drive away! Though, at the moment, we are not allowed to leave the municipality at weekends.
A city for all abilities
Cycling into the centre town makes me feel young and free again! We try and stick to the cycle paths, being careful to mind the locals, who whizz around on all sorts of wheels – scooters, bikes, silent but speedy electric fold-up scooters, electric unicycles and skateboards. In the hilly areas, there are loads of outdoor escalators and lifts but we mostly try and run up all the long staircases. Public displays of fitness are common place, especially now that indoor activities are suspended – people have always uninhibitedly trained on the numerous outdoor gyms that are located in all the parks and beaches. People are holding various exercise classes in the ramblas, blasting out high energy tinny music as they work out.
Dogs are allowed in the shops here!
There are so many beautiful dogs to stroke (beagles, scotties, chihuahuas, grey hounds, little white yappy fluff balls, silver collies, dobermans, big old mongrels, dachshunds, muscular dogs, with huge heads and wide smiles). It’s kinda like wife swapping, you have to have a dog to put in, in order to join a puppy party!
Fauna and flora
There are loud, squawking, vivid green Monk parakeets everywhere and we’ve got wild chickens living on a piece of scrap land near us. There are about eight shiny plumed cockerels and hard nosed ginger cats, who slay the baby chicks (there are still some left). Wild boars venture into town at night, after the rain when no one’s around. They dig up the neat verges and do the bins, free from the threat of hunters. It’s cooler than in the south of Spain but still bright and sunny and so much greener. I don’t have to water my pot plants all the time. We’ve found pockets of nature nearby and some proper nature walks a couple of kilometres away.
The consequences of various COVID preventative measures, especially of places for the public to use toilets, has not been thought through properly. It’s something to take note of if you go travelling with a weak bladder. It must be humiliating to be taken short in town, where normally the cafes and bars supply ample comfortable washroom.
There are plenty of public drinking fountains and well used multi-purpose community spaces, which are generously dotted around the city – complete with climbing walls, gym equipment, legal graffiti spaces, pétanque (type of bowls), dog parks, children’s play areas and public ping-pong tables. There are benches and seats everywhere and lots of trees.
Thank you for reading! While you’re here, take a look to see what’s in my gallery and if you haven’t already, feel free to join my art mailing list to keep up with my latest creations and arty adventures.