Filed under: travel
I’ve been waiting to visit Barcelona for five years. When I lived in Italy in 2001, I had the choice of going either to Barcelona or Sicily. I chose Sicily partly because I’d heard so many bad stories about Spain, about how Barcelona particularly is full of thieves and muggers. Stories about unsafe and mafioso Sicily is proved false for me (ask me about how I accidentally left my handbag in my friend’s unlocked scooter for an afternoon in Cefalù). Equally, the stories about dreadfully dangerous Barcelona proved unfounded, in my experience.
Don’t get me wrong, Barcelona is no Cambridge, where you can flit about at worst worrying that someone will steal your bike, or perhaps you’ll fall in the river Cam while drunk at night. There were a few dodgy alleys in Barcelona we avoided, and I probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable walking around at night without Ian by my side. That said, when I struck up a drunken conversation with a possibly dodgy young bloke who murmured the usual ‘hola guapa’ as he passed by, while Ian was talking on his mobile phone, the guy turned out to be a pleasant Argentinean who worked at a nearby hostel. First impressions can be deceiving.
In Barcelona, there are a lot of unusual things. It’s not just the Gaudi architecture. It’s the pet stores set up like market stalls along Las Ramblas. It’s the fact that people walking around Barcelona airport in flash suits stand out as unusual, whereas people with quirky hairstyles or colourful pants blend in.
Ian got his haircut just before we left Seville. They gave him a fullet (a front mullet). I chopped it off in our hotel pod in Barcelona. It’s a pity, because it made him look more Spanish. At least now he looks presentable for when we reach Japan.
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