A familiar voice at the other end of the line: “Hey man, we found cheap tickets and we are going to Barcelona. In or out?”. I guess you know the answer. It came as a no-brainer as Barcelona has always been on my mind as a possible place to… migrate. Out of no particular reason, because never did I know a lot of things about the place. Just a vague word of mouth about how great life is there, about its famous supercomputing center and the hardware architecture group of UPC (remember I am computer engineer) and a few other bits and bytes, mostly related to its political past/present, anarchists and the such.
Yes, I know, everyone will tell you that there is Gaudi, the architecture, Miro, so many things to see and admire. And no matter how you slice it, Barcelona is rich in this domain. You just have to take a turn from la Rambla – ok, simply make a tick that you went there and just pass by – and everything spreads out in front of you magnificently.
In fact so magnificently, that I had real issues on just being able to photograph. I felt lost. What can I photograph here when I feel bombarded with images and overstimulated? No idea at all. “Focus on a concept, or even a random detail. Forget about street photography”, a friend told me on the phone, when after a full of excitement little speech of how great everything was, I had to confess that… I didn’t know what to photograph.
It seemed strange in the beginning. Never had I really focused on something in particular while traveling (photographically speaking). Yet, suddenly, in trying to find a photographic focus, I realized that my eyes were actually working closer with my mind. Details, little pieces, the life around me didn’t just pass along. It was thoroughly examined.
And how wonderfully vibrant it was!!
It seemed as though you could solve the riddle. The vibrancy of people could be the result of this overall city architecture planned to put the wonderful mediterranean light at the center stage. The crazy and playful creations of Gaudi matched the happiness around. The darker and more strict Barri Gotic put a balance in the mix and the lovely alleys in Raval and the crowded squares set the carpet to accommodate flirt and passionate interactions.
Speaking of love, flirt and interactions, as much as I loved Paris, it is the place where things are supposed to happen. Where “l’amour” and “le passion” is supposed to be in the air. Well, in Barcelona I felt I was in the place where things actually happened. I loved how the passion substantiated and got physical, with the way people talked, touched firmly each other without fear and kissed.
Everything felt more real.
Even in its brutal unkind form. I found this sincere. I always prefer truth to politeness.
And it was not just about passion and love. It was about the vibe. The crazy stuff that happened unexpectedly as you wondered the streets. Like for example the carnival or something at Barcelonetta, that we knew nothing about and suddenly found ourselves in a tornado of screams, dances, fires and festivities.
Good vibes with good friends.
I wonder, was there a black spot in the Barcelona experience? The bicycle ride around the city was great, swimming at the beach while drinking mohitos was super, the festival in Barcelonetta memorable, seeing superman flirting every tourist girl in park Gueill with the company of his fellow superheroes was hilarious, getting bullied by hookers and their pimp in La Rambla because you had a camera with you was …unexpected, playing hide and seek in the terrace of the Miro foundation was childish, thinking that you should have bought that beer on the street for just one euro instead of paying some unthinkable prices at the bar was frustrating until we saw where they kept the beers (in the sewers… aouts!). Ok, since we talk about beers… well Estrella is awful. Sorry. And in general, I cannot remember eating something worth remembering while staying in the city. The jamon is super amazing, but I actually bought a big piece of it and ate it when I came back home.