First impressions of Barcelona

I can’t bear that habit of taking photos of your meal and putting them online. So take it as given that I am now sitting in what looks like an OK restaurant sipping some rather nice red wine.

After 6 1/2 hours on a train, I was happy to walk whatever distance from the station to the hotel. Just as well – it took me 90 minutes (with map and photo stops). Barcelona is clean and civilised from a pedestrian point of view, with an almost Germanic adherence to the green man. Tall buildings, with detail on the top storeys. Lots of flats, which allows for high-density living in the centre. My hotel is near the port in what looks like an area of former warehouses. It’s noticeably windier than by the station. So much warmer than home! People are sitting outside, albeit still in their winter coats. (Me, I’ve ditched the cardigan.)

I’m doing my best to embrace the strangeness of being in a foreign land where I’m not sure what will arrive when I order something. (How come I didn’t realise that Barcelona is practically bilingual in two languages that I don’t speak?) The rest of the tour group I am with arrive tomorrow by plane, so I will be wrapped back up in an Anglophone safety blanket.

Here are some sights that I enjoyed on my walk here:

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Arc de Triomf

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I don’t know – electricity HQ?

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No idea. A warehouse? I just liked the windows and the tiles. Not to mention the graffiti.

(Actually the restaurant wasn’t that good, but I made two useful discoveries: coffee came in a glass, and what passes for risotto is eaten with a spoon. Best to avoid king prawns and beetroot if I intend to wear these clothes again in the next five days.)

And to be completely accurate, these are second impressions of Barcelona: I was here thirty years ago. However, my recollections from that time are purely of the people I met. Apart from a faint memory of the Sagrada Familia, I could almost have been anywhere.

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