Keep Looking Back at 2014?  Look Forward to 2015!

Keep Looking Back at 2014? Look Forward to 2015!

As we usher in a new year, shake off the inevitable hangovers, grimace at our waistlines and look ahead at the year to come, many of us also look back on the previous year.  We assess our achievements, successes, adventures and the missed opportunities.   2014 was my second full year living in Barcelona.  I had …

Exploring Catalunya: A Waterfall Adventure in Campdevánol

Exploring Catalunya: A Waterfall Adventure in Campdevánol

If you follow my blog regularly you will know I am a fan of social networks as a way of meeting people and doing things I might not normally do.  So, feeling a little restless and in need of adventure I decided to get back on the Meetup wagon as I hadn’t done anything with …

What is the Worst Thing About Solo Travel?

What is the Worst Thing About Solo Travel?

The world is full of adventurous souls, discovering new and exciting lands every day, and many of these travellers are doing it solo.  Going it alone can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it is not without its trials and tribulations.  So what is the worst thing about solo travel? For me, it is …

My Head in the Clouds: Spectacular Views of Barcelona

My Head in the Clouds: Spectacular Views of Barcelona

I love a beautiful view.  Nothing makes me happier than gazing at scenery that stretches as far as the eye can see; it gives me an amazing sense of freedom and relaxation, a feeling that all is right with the world.  Add to that clear blue skies and my blissful smile gets just a little …

The One Year Itch?  Or just another mosquito bite?

The One Year Itch? Or just another mosquito bite?

It has occurred to me that my last couple of posts seem to be moaning about a lot of things that get on my nerves.  I hope you don’t think I’m ranting about everything and hating Barcelona because that really isn’t the case – it may seem that way, but it is just these little …

My Love Affair with Barcelona

My Love Affair with Barcelona

It all started for me when I was at University in Leeds back in 2003, and the time had come to choose our year abroad options.  I was studying French & Spanish, and for me it was an easy choice to pick Spain over France, but as for a specific location I didn’t have a clue.  It was actually my brother who suggested Barcelona, having visited there once before with friends, so it was through a combination of luck & a lack of other recommendations that I came to live in Barcelona.I Love BCN

I don’t think it was love at first sight; I was a fresh faced 20 yr old, frankly terrified about finding a flat in a strange place in a different language.  I was certainly taken with the city though; I found a flat that was a stone’s throw from the beach, spent the days wandering around or drinking in a bar opposite the university (we were students after all), made friends with some amazing Spanish people (you know who you are!) and generally enjoyed myself.

When I left Barcelona 9 months later I was definitely in love.  The time had gone so quickly it felt like just a few weeks, and before I knew it I was back in Leeds studying for my final year.  I continued living in Leeds for another 4 or 5 years after graduation, always thinking that someday I would like to go back to my beloved Barcelona, but with always some reason not to – a good job, boyfriend, and I suppose fear that I wouldn’t find a job there.  Things began to change after my 4 year relationship ended; as I suppose happens when relationships end, you look back at past ones; and I remembered Barcelona.  I wasn’t ready for that yet but I was restless & as much as I loved Leeds & all my friends, I yearned for more.  I looked (slightly) further afield, and moved to Liverpool for work, then back to Leeds for another 9 months, then to Manchester.  It was when I lost my job in Manchester that I finally realised it was now or never – and took the plunge to go back to my old flame Barcelona; with a one way flight & my life in 2 suitcases.

As soon as I arrived I felt an enormous sense of achievement – I was back, and doing it – what I had been wanting to do for nearly 10 years!  All the old feelings came flooding back; I caught up with my old friends, wandered around the Gothic Quarter, and saw that incredible view of the city from above Parc Guell.  They say never go back to an ex, but sometimes it’s worth it.  Since I arrived back here on 1st November last year I have loved every minute.  Of course, not every relationship is perfect, and there are parts of Barcelona that irritate me – as every lover has their imperfections – the constant ‘cerveza beer?’ every time I go to the beach, walk down the street in the evening, or sit in the park.  The non-stop stream (sometimes flood) of tourists walking so slowly they might as well not move, asking me directions in various languages, inquiring about  how they hire a bicing when I am late for work…..  But I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, and certainly the positives outweigh them many times over.

Ciutadella ParcBarcelona definitely has something special about it, and many a restless soul has found its place here in the city.  People from all over the world have chosen to settle here, and I have met wonderful people from places like New Zealand, China, India, Syria, Canada, America, all over Latin America & of course other Europeans who now call Barcelona home.  Some come here for a holiday & don’t leave, some follow a lover here, some come to leave a past lover behind, others merely for an adventure; but all have fallen under the city’s spell.  Perhaps it is the location between the sea & the mountains.  Perhaps the architecture, the history, the culture, the night life, the food….  I am not sure exactly why they, or I, fell for Barcelona, or how long my romance will last.  But as I sit here on the grass, in the shade of a palm tree in Ciutadella Park, with the squawks of the green parakeets in the background, I know I’m not ready to end this love affair any time soon.