My husband and I recently spent our 25th wedding anniversary on a Luftansa flight that eventually landed in Barcelona, Spain. We planned this trip over a year ago and the five perfect days in the Basque city of this vibrant Northern Region of Spain was just what we needed to get a fresh perspective on our past, present, and future. We strolled the Ramblas along with countless other admirers of the architecture and people and took many little side streets and ally ways and discovered a city alive with pride, creativity, history, and perhaps above all an apparent happiness that I have not seen in my American counterparts for some time.
What struck me immediately was that everything was so beautiful. The architecture there is finished. Where we Americans consider a brick facade complete the Barcelona builders of centuries past and present consider bricks a skeleton that supports plaster and paint and fenestration. The ironwork alone could be documented in a book but combined with the friezes and forms that make you stop and stare, well, they obviously know something we don't. Evidence of Gaudi's hand is dotted throughout the city and one does not need to wander far before seeing references of his aesthetic.
This great city is also made for walking. Cars whiz by at 40-plus mph in the heart of the Ramblas but the road is incredibly narrow. The natives know not to jaywalk as this could be the death of one who does not respect the signals. When the pedestrian walk icon turns green a sea of people cross the narrow street and definitely stop when it begins to flash for the cars jump at the light change and many a tourist suddenly wishes they were wearing Nikes. The sidewalks are enormously wide allowing and encouraging foot transportation. On the waterfront there is a huge pedestrian presence as city planners essentially created one enormous walking zone while maintaining the miniscule road for cars that don't seem ever to be in a jam. It is counter intuitive but successful and we should learn from it.
While on the waterfront drinking CruzCampo beer and chatting with tourists from Sweden I looked up into the sky and saw the most incredible sight. As the puffy clouds reached a certain angle in the sky they took on every color of the rainbow. I had never seen anything like it in my life. It wasn't a rainbow through the clouds but the cloud itself was blue and violet and red and orange and yellow and green. As other clouds neared the same angle they, too, became a fauvist spectacle. At first my husband didn't see it and I questioned the ingredients in the local beer but then more and more people began to point to the sight above. I asked the waiter if this happened often and in Spanish he replied "Only in Barcelona and only when you visit." Well, my my my. Inquiring further he admitted he had never seen anything like it either. Only in Barcelona. And only when I visit. What if I lived there?
In My PassionFlower's business listing here on Sudbury Patch I encourage readers to ask me the answer behind the question "Is it Barcelona Worthy?" Basically I want to only surround myself with the people and stuff that I would go to all the expense of wrapping and packing and shipping to Barcelona if I were to retire there. Shipping is expensive. Wrapping and packing is time consuming. People near and dear are rare and may not transfer well. If I or any of my customers would go to the extents required to relocate a piece or a person to Barcelona instead of simply starting completely fresh in the acquisitions department once in Barcelona then indeed it should be part of your life package. Because I promise you the pickings in Barcelona beat Boston hands down. Boston doesn't have the Dali museum where the sculpture "Cubist Angel" might move you to tears like it did me. Boston doesn't have the Picasso museum or the gondola over the city or cafe con leche--largo de cafe". Barcelona does.
So if I decided to up and relocate my life to Barcelona how would I survive? Well, being fluent in Spanish helps but is not really necessary. A desire to walk about helps and in this regard I would fit right in. Having a source of income would be necessary and my flower shop might fly there. But flower shops in Barcelona are either kiosks that close up like origami or tiny storefronts that house more plants than peonies. Suppose I could adjust...
But the question remains: Am I Barcelona worthy? You bet.