After having lived in Bay Area (California) for eight years we are back to Barcelona. It is a curious sensation to be walking in a city where you have spent your college years. The bars you used to go still exist, the book stores are on the same corners, the food and wine taste as wonderfully as in the past and the streets might remember the passionate words we used to say after the midnight. And you feel young and happy again, and almost at home.
I took my camera to the city and made some shots of the things that still hold sentimental value for me (and make me smile).
Plaza Catalunya. It is much cleaner now than it was eight years ago. It is still one of the most crowded and touristy place in the city.
The Zara stores where I used to buy a lot of my clothing as a student. Even though I am not captivated by the brand any longer I still like to see its stores as I walk through the city.
The fountain with decorative tiles at Portal del Angel. Always was one of my favorite places.
Pans & Company. First as student, then as recently married, I used to love this place. With friends, roommates or my husband we ate there almost every time we came to Barcelona. My favorite was Normando sandwich (Serrano ham and melted brie cheese). I am not sure whether or not they still offer it.
A toy store with toy soldiers. As a kid I had twelve tin cavaliers on horses. I loved to play with them. The store did not have anything similar to my childhood memories, but I still spent couple of minutes in front of the soldier display every time I passed the store.
Gazpacho & wine! The best lunch ever in Barcelona in summer.
It was a coffee place before, right now it is a restaurant. We used to go there with my husband when we were dating and later on when we just got married. We usually invited our friends to meet us at the bar. We sat there for hours, drunk coffee, talked and made tons of fun pictures in 2000 and 2001. One of the reasons we loved this place is because it was hidden between tall houses, in one of which the painter Joan Miro was born. The place still holds a lot of charm for me. It also has a Custo store in front. I always loved their dresses. Being inside the store feels so much like Barcelona. You are in the middle of the store, you touch the clothing, you see the colors and then you say to yourself “This is Spain!”. And you like how it sounds.
At Custo I liked the dresses and tops and was surprised about the sizing. The sizes run from 1 to 4, 1 being 34 or 36 (size 4 in US) and 4 being 44 or 46 (size 16 in US). I observed something similar at Desigual, where the smallest size the store had was 38 and it only carried from 38 through 44 (6 through 14 in US sizes). Things are changing in Barcelona.
Café de la Opera. Well, the place is always open and we ended many times at its tables in the mid of a night walk or after a performance. Later we have been going there a lot too.
La Boqueria (the city market). This is the first time we entered the place. When you live in the city you do not do your grocery shopping on Las Ramblas (unless you live close by but normally you do not), thus there are mostly tourists on the market. Still it is colorful and beautiful.
Last thing to mention about Barcelona is Barcelona in August. Having lived in USA for the past eight years I forgot how dead Spanish streets look in this last summer month. Outside of the touristic center everything is closed, everybody is on vacations. And it is way too hot for the Spaniards to be on the streets before 8pm. Thus, during the day the city looks like a desert.
with love from Barcelona, August 25th 2012