Most of our days in Barcelona, as has become our habit, are spent quietly working away in Nettle. We often joke that we live a normal life, like anybody else, except the view out our window changes. Currently, my studio window overlooks a little bit of Australia, planted and thriving in Barcelona:
Barcelona Day Trip #1
When we do venture forth, it looks like we could be anywhere on the Mediterranean. Has everyone living on the Mediterranean, despite cultural differences, decided to all build to a tightly regulated and pedantically defined aesthetic? It has the very pleasant side-effect that Barcelona actually feels rather familiar, and all of our misanthropic concerns about the criminally-inclined flotsam haunting Barcelona’s shamble streets melts away.
We catch up with Hayden, a university friend of Mike’s who’s been living in Barcelona for the past 5 years or so. We also meet his lovely Spanish girlfriend Andrea and discuss the inevitable topics of inter-cultural conversations — politics and language. Hayden and Andrea leave me feeling like I definitely need more piercings and tattoos.
Barcelona Day Trip #2
We got it into our heads that clothes shopping in Barcelona would reward us with unique and quirky, yet wearable items. We head to the trendy Eixample region first, unsure if anything will be open in the middle of the afternoon, and sure enough nothing is. I end up taking photos of the Art Nouveau architecture with the iPhone (hence the crappy), instead and am just generally chuffed to wander the streets.
We grab some lunch to kill the time whilst waiting for the shops to open for the evening. Cue “Els 4 Gats” (4 cats): emporium of darkling hollows and uncanny witchery.
Ahem… it’s actually rather cozy on the inside and our waiter didn’t even look a little bit like Edward Scissor Hands (more’s the shame):
Anything with goat’s cheese has become our obligatory dish whilst in Barcelona and once again, it doesn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, the main dishes live well up to Sebastian’s dire warnings of bland Spanish food. However, the all-male wait staff combined with the pure novelty of the place succeed in making it an experience.
Back to shopping and we decide to hit the Born-Ribera area. It’s promised to be “rich in small-crafts shops, young designers, and an endless potpourri of artisans and merchants operating in restored medieval spaces that are often as dazzling as the wares on sale.” I’m ready to fall in love with this place but instead of artisan wares, a sea of generic, mass-produced street-wear is replicated on every street we venture down. We’re about to give up when we spot a promising looking men’s wear store and manage to get Mike some much needed gear.
We’ve said it before, but the staggering consistency of this phenomenon warrants repetition. The gaping chasm between the description of a place and our lived experience boggles the mind. Has Barcelona been over-run by chain stores since that quote was written or were we just in the wrong place?
Barcelona Day Trip #3
Today is Sagrada Familia day. We’ve become amazingly spartan in our sightseeing endeavours so this is the only attraction we’re going out of our way to see. We had planned on going up the top as well but upon arrival neither of us feel particularly moved to do so.
Horribly uncultured plebs that we are, the highlight of our day is the smashing Irish pub meal we have at Michael Collins just across from the Sagrada Familia. The interior is gloomy and decorated with creepy old domestic flotsam – think dusty doilies and Catholic themed cross-stitch. We feel like we could be in a pub in Dingle and it’s fantastic.
Barcelona Day Trip #4
Not so much a day trip this one, as it’s just the beach across the way. Barcelona’s beaches are dotted with bare breasts (amongst other bits) so I decide to try out topless swimming for funzies. On a side note, being exposed to all these bare mammaries grants me the insight that shape is much more important than size. Honestly, it’s a revelation.