Texture Like Sun

Barcelona, Spain. What can I say that hasn’t already been said by those both more eloquent and insightful than I? All I can do, I suppose, is give the most honest account that I can of my time there and the impressions the place made on me.

NOTE: The entire image gallery from this trip can be found here.

I had never been to Europe before this excursion and, as I am wont to do, I went alone. The opportunity to attend a technical conference in Barcelona for three days begat a plan to perhaps stay a bit longer. A few days delay on the return flight to the US and I would able to spend my birthday there as well. A happy coincidence.

In the end I would stay in Barcelona for two weeks. Three days would be consumed by “KubeCon + CloudNativeCon” which was quite well done and one of the more valuable conferences I have ever attended. The other eleven would be mine. I made no rigid plans beyond that. I would simply wander the city and let it come to me in it’s own way and on it’s own schedule.

While the city is affluent with stunning architecture and a rich history steeped in mercantile tradtion, the influence of modern tourism is evident. Throngs of tourists wander the Gothic Quarter, Gracia, and more at all hours of the day. Thankfully for me the areas most heavily visited by international tourists are easily escaped and I was able to find many a quiet street and cafe outside the immediate downtown area.

For two weeks I bicycled or walked exclusively. From the airport at the southern extent of the city, north to Badalona, and up and down the low hills to the north and the Meditteranian Sea to the south. I indulged heavily in the cafe and street culture, sampling many a tapas bars, cortados, and wine depending on the time of day. Wandering by foot with no specific plans and no tourist destinations in mind was, for me, the perfect way to get to know the city.

What impressed me the most, writing about it now, so long after the fact, was the utterly relaxed pace of life in Spain’s capital city. No one seems to be in a hurry. People sit and talk and seem to take more time to simply live. The further you get from the city center the more noticable it is and as an American I found it to be delightful.