Barcelona was good. I’ve had time to reflect.
El Raval feels a bit like Ukrainian Village in it’s hoodie restaurants, relaxed bars, and grunginess combined with weird shops. Why the bad reputation? Sometimes I feel like the same information gets recycled by content creators and no one bothers going anywhere.
The next place I visit, I’m going to get to know the city by jogging through it. Traveling light (and preplanned laziness) prevented me from bringing my running shoes, but perhaps next time I’ll chance it.
But there are no joggers in Spain. Not once did I see anyone sweating in work out clothes. Any exercise must be got naturally by the 12 miles of strolling about that every Spaniard must do every day. And I didn’t see as many strollers. They must train their kids to walk, no whining. If ever I got comfortable comparing it to Ukrainian Village in terms of feel, the almost eerie absence of joggers snapped me out of it.
I regret not spending time alone. I regret not going to the beach. I regret not going to doing more research on where the hell to get a good meal, because we could have eaten better. Tourist cannot live on greasy prix fixe and tapas alone. I’m sure lunches could have been better, but definitely not dinner.
Dinner doesn’t exist. Want a little sandwich and a beer? Fried balls of something with simple delicious plum wine? Maybe some anchovies wrapped around olives and a glass of cava? No, I’d like a hearty stew that will fortify me against a long night, and a break from all this damned drinking. Alas: “Eso, no.” I kept getting drunk on accident, and the best meal I had while there was doner kebab.
We found a Flat Iron and a Blue Line while in Spain. The Flat Iron was a rock and roll bar called Valhalla with a mixed crowd where everyone sang along to Pantera’s “Walk“. Linea Blaua was just a bar/breakfast joint (also by a Blue Line subway stop) where you could get a beer and fresh squeezed orange juice.
I eat croissants more regularly since I’ve been back, and my cafe con leche is still going strong, but I can now think of it as cafe amb let.