Dear Barcelona: Et trobo a faltar

Photo by Kristijan Arsov via Unsplash
Photo by Kristijan Arsov via Unsplash

Dear Barcelona: Et trobo a faltar

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

My dearest Barcelona,

“Com et trobo a faltar,” how I miss you … especially during the gloomy, gray weather we’ve had lately. You were a surprise from the very beginning. While not initially on my list of “must-visit” cities, you were my son’s number one. Granted, it was more because of the beloved FC Barcelona football team than anything else, but you were a warm, inviting and charming wonder. You were the first city outside of Germany we explored when we first arrived in Europe almost six years ago. From that very first meeting, I fell in love.

Landing at El Prat, I could see the turquoise water of the Mediterranean lapping at your shores, which was a nice change from the arrival of the chilly fall air in Germany. As we made our way into your heart, we saw a fascinating mix of architecture. Modern high-rises mingling with turn-of-the-century buildings that survived the Spanish Civil war in the 1930s and a few whimsical facades designed by famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. We soon discovered this eclectic mishmash was an excellent representation of the city and culture itself.

As we walked the neatly gridded streets, we happened across Camp Nou. I had never before seen a stadium as grand as this. Walking onto the roped off section of the famed pitch, I saw not only the happiness and wonder in my son’s eyes, but also how deeply engrained football is. Taking in the sights at Port Vell was magical. Boats coming into port with the day’s fresh catch and vendors peddling handmade wares to unsuspecting tourists made for entertaining people watching. Heading into the Gothic Quarter, we were treated to hidden history. Behind an unassuming door are the huge columns of the Temple of Augustus, dating back to the 3rd century BC.

Your food is simply amazing. Fresh seafood, piping hot paella in dishes the size of a large lazy Susan, crisp and fruity Rioja wine were just a few of the highlights we feasted on. The tapas bars stretching across the city burst with the vibrant sounds of music, conversation and tasty bite-sized deliciousness. I think we only made it to two before we had to call it.  We had planned to visit so many more on our next visit. I’m sorry we won’t have the chance for a while.

One of things I love most about you are the views. From the failed planned community dreamt of by Gaudí at Parc Güell, to the quiet hilltop of Montjuic, you are spectacular. Watching you come to life from above and to see the beauty of the Mediterranean was breathtaking. Of course, you have plenty of other spots — Sagrada Familia, Plaça de Catalunya, Plaça d’España and so many more — but Montjuic was my favorite. At night, after another picture-perfect sunset, the Magic Fountains would light up and have a brilliant water show reminiscent of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

While we can’t be together right now, please know I am dreaming of your warm temperatures, sunshine, friendly atmosphere and wonderful culture. I promise to see you again, even if it takes a lot longer to get there.

Sempre teu,

A writer dreaming of Catalonia

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