Barcelona is a city with a good reputation. Architecturally rich, warm and friendly, beach bars, las ramblas, tree-lined romantic streets, a decent underground and apparently good red wine in every restaurant – it’s easy to see why visitors fall in love with it.

Having the luxury of having been here before has meant that I can afford to practice some slow tourism. That means not carrying around a guide book, not having an itinerary and not consulting tripadvisor for restaurant tips. It has meant going for a run along the coast, getting a bit lost on the streets, tumbling into random bars with various colleagues (attending the ERS 2013) and pretending to be a local by renting an airbnb apartment in one of the narrow and vibrant streets (and yes, by that I mean it can get loud) in the gothic quarter.

image

image

 Yesterday was the national day of Catalonia. This officially means a day of demonstrations to commemorate the defeat of Catalan troops in 1714. This somehow passed me by, apart from spotting groups dressed in yellow, albeit wrapped in Catalan’s flag, sipping beer and eating tapas in the plazas nearby. Leading up to the day however, I bumped into colourful street parties and a rather fun looking game of street bingo.

image

image

image

 What I like most of all about the city (apart from Gaudi’s work) is the feeling of family life despite the size of the city. The central boulevards along major streets where you can see retired couples, young families and not infrequently all three generations strolling together and looking like they have all the time in the world. This is the feeling I would like to take back with me as autumn sets in across Europe.

image