I‘m standing at the entrance to Park Güell, eyes closed, awash in a sea of voices speaking different languages. It’s one of the things I love most about traveling: losing yourself in the sounds of another culture, forced to be an outsider and at the mercy of the kindness of strangers. It reinforces that, no matter how much you prepare, inevitably you’ll fall short; and with that knowledge in hand, how you act towards yourselves and those around you will determine how much you will or won’t enjoy the adventure.
You are lucky if, not too late in life, you discover a second city other than your place of birth which becomes a true home town.
-Robert Hughes, “Barcelona: The Great Enchantress.”
I’m happy to report that, with little exception, Barcelona welcomed us warmly on all fronts. Delicious food, beautiful sights, and inviting people, I felt at home in a strange land; which is probably the best compliment a visitor can impart on a place. Whether exploring the delights of La Boqueria, quietly contemplating the nave inside the Sagrada Familia, listening to guitarist Mariano Olivera play in a quiet tree-filled spot above and behind the hustle and bustle of the crowds at Park Güell, or lost in the noise of the crowds themselves as they chatter away under the blue sky of the Mediterranean, there is a romance to the people and culture here that charms, intrigues, and encourages one to pause and embrace the beauty and detail of the Great Enchantress. Gràcies, bonica Barça!