Monday, June 27, 2016

Barcelona Impressions

Start up the blog again. Dust it off. I'm darting around a lot in time and place, so bear with me.

At a vegan bar in Barcelona, Flounder tries to teach me to use manual focus. I fail repeatedly.

And now, in Barcelona for a month.

First impression: My how things have changed! I thought this of myself, not the city. You see, we took a taxi from the airport to our apartment for the month. A taxi is an extravagance I simply never would have allowed myself in my past travels. So yes, things have changed. I’m willing to exchange money for convenience now. In the past, with my restrictive budget, the idea of taking a taxi when two metro rides were available would never even cross my mind.

Out the window of an extravagant taxi

Second impression: Ah yes, Barcelona is Mediterranean. Not the lush green of Alabama nor the dusty gold of Dubai. Rather, rocky cliffs dotted with stubborn shrubs, flowering cacti, rosemary growing to tree proportions.

I need that sweater and hood. I blame acclimatization. 
 
Flounder suns himself for warmth.
Third impression: It’s cold. I’m cold. Where are my pants?

Walking! Everywhere!

Fourth impression: I can walk everywhere! Walkability!

Broad, tree-lined sidewalks

Fifth impression: In addition to the constellation of stars on my google maps, denoting the choicest vegan restaurants, I’m constantly walking by cafes and restaurants and bars advertising vegan options. Praise!

Sign in a random bakery we walked by

Many restaurants here are Happy Cow approved :)

Sixth impression: Gracia is the hipster neighbourhood. And to me, hipster is not a pejorative. Because Gracia is where I find two shops selling food in bulk—committed to eliminating packaging and waste. It’s where I find a plethora of tattoo shops using only vegan ink, thankyouverymuch. It’s where the art gallery that is hosting Flounder’s month-long residency is (the reason we’re here, BTW). It’s where I find a vegan bakery and the cheapest vegan restaurant—the one that sells an eat pussy not meat tote bag that I’m pretty sure I have to get.

Watching a street festival in Gracia

Seventh impression: Dogs! Not only is our apartment cat named, contrarily, Dog, but literal, actual dogs are everywhere. 

Dog

This is a city that loves its dogs. We see dogs of all sizes walked on leashes, set loose in numerous dog parks throughout the city. I yearn to pet each adorable dog as it passes, but they’re all so damn well trained that they cannot be distracted even by promises of behind-the-ear scratches. Some dogs are so behaved that they walk through the busy city street sans leash, following a delectable scent here and there, but sticking close to their humans.

Puppy, part 1

Puppy, part 2

Eighth impression: Breakfast at noon. Lunch at 4 pm. Dinner at 9:30 pm. Café con leche all day long.

Ninth impression: Bottles of cava (Spanish sparkling wine made in the same way as champagne, but legally not allowed to be called champagne) for 2 euros. Glass of wine at lunch = normal. Yet I see very little drunken debauchery. For debauchery, head to a Friday all-you-can-drink brunch in Dubai.

Sangria on tap.

Tenth impression: Lots of beaches. Lots of crowded beaches. Good lord, is anyone swimming? The breeze is cold and the water colder. I think living in Dubai, where the water approaches bathtub temperatures in the spring and pools are refrigerated in the summer, has dampened my excitement for cold-water swimming. Not when we live so close to a beautiful white sand beach where dipping into the water feels like a relaxing spa visit, not a cold shock that triggers an autonomic panic/survival response in your body.

Eleventh impression: This Gaudi guy designed some strange stuff. I snapped some photos as I walked by on my way to Spanish lessons.

La Pedrera
Casa Batllo

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