I had been told for a long time that I would like Barcelona. I hadn’t made the trip when I was studying abroad and had sort of regretted it. Lucky for me, my family and I had planned to meet in Europe for a summer trip, and our first meeting point was Barcelona.
I arrived from Amsterdam in the evening. The contrast between the northern coolness (in every sense) and the southern warmth was immediately apparent to me. I already loved this city.
With my family, it’s food. We talk with food as a context and as metaphor, and we spend a significant amount of time thinking about the current meal, the previous, and the next. So accordingly, we researched and placed ourselves in a position where every meal would be better than the first.
Three restaurants were particularly memorable. One was Bar Cañete, a lively tapas bar with amazing food, recommended by my wonderful friend Gabe, who had studied abroad in Barcelona. The restaurant was more on the traditional side, and every single dish was worth our hour wait, which only goes to highlight the quality of the restaurant.
Gabe also recommended a Chinese tapas bar called Mosquito. It’s a very casual, rustic little restaurant with oriental prints and embellishments hidden in the afternoon shadow. To be honest, we weren’t expecting much because as Asians, we have high standards for Asian food abroad (mwaha), but we were curious enough to give it a go.
We ordered at least half the menu. But all of the dishes were impressively good, especially the dim sum. Gabe led us well again.
Our last dinner was at Tapas 24, a modernized tapas bar with a playful, modern interior and once again, amazing food.
The food, especially the tapas, exceeded expectations (would’ve passed O.W.L.’s – if you get that reference, marry me). But even aside from the food, Barcelona also happens to be home to my all-time favorite architect Antoni Gaudi. His pieces are organic, colorful, and beautiful entities that add to the breadth of life in this passionate city.
The genuine warmth and ease I felt with the Spanish people struck a deep chord with me. I felt alive and relaxed at the same time. I love the language, the pace, and the true, unguarded enjoyment of life. Barcelona is an incredibly vibrant metropolitan city, but it is also seaside, allowing me to enjoy my two favorite environments.
It’s a city that ebbs and flows with the sea surrounding it, and I will make sure I find my way back to my soul city soon.