|Hotel Mihlton, Eixample|
Our return to Barcelona was sweet. That is not to say, however, that we did not find it unchanged from our last encounter with the Catalan city. It was...hotter. Muggier. Almost intolerably hot, actually.
And secondly, there were far more tourists than before. In fact, we were told time and again by almost everyone that there were more tourists this year than any other. The metro was stifling, the streets were full, the museums were full, the restaurants that you never needed a reservation for were suddenly queued out the door. And that was...a little sad. To find a place you left only two years before to have... so fully filled up.
But, Barcelona for me is Patri and Eva. My dear friends who live in the city and take time out of their schedules to make me part of their life. Patri, especially, is someone I talk to throughout my normal week at home. We are always on whatsapp, and IG and facebook. We are talking about our lives and our jobs and our relationships. She knows all about the new dress I bought, and I know all about the new restaurant she tried last month. Coming to Barcelona might have been a kind of tourist nightmare, but it was a dream come true to spend time on her terrace, drinking wine and eating vinegar marinated sardines and homemade tortilla and cheese from Jerez.
We have been so lucky to find special places in the world, touristy or no, that are filled with people that we love. It is the people, after all, and not just the place that makes travel so necessary. We find shades of ourselves all over the world, in those people and in those places.
So, visit Barcelona. Make some friends, drink some wine and eat some pintxos. But...maybe go in the autumn when you aren't as likely to physically melt onto the street and then be trod upon by an entire gaggle of tourists.