I met you 11 years ago. I liked you enough. For 3 days, I walked up and down Las Ramblas and drank cervezas by the beach with my girlfriends. I said I checked you off my bucket list and felt no need to return.
But, this weekend we reunited again.
I must say. You’ve changed. Or maybe I’ve changed.
Because, quite honestly, I love you.
You’re amazing, Barcelona. For 4 days you wooed me. I’ve traversed your ancient-city Guadi walls, walked cobblestone sidewalks, watched tango dancers, sipped Catalonian wine, filled my belly with mas tapas than I care to admit and most of all, I fell madly in love with your culture.
You eat lunch at 4pm. You chat over dinner for 3 hours…starting at 8pm. You share laughs over wine-stained tableclothes and pass around tomato drizzled bread. You don’t require me to tip. Although I do a bit, because I’m American and inherently feel guilty for not tipping such a fine place.
If I sound like a food-obssesed lover, you’re right.
But you made me so. You did this to me.
I sat across from my girlfriends reveling in the moment under a sun drenched umbrella in a small, colorful plaza next to a church. “This is it,” I thought. “This is why we travel.” I so wish my husband could meet you. He would love you too, mostly because you offer the best football team in the world. But also because he appreciates the great things in life. Like you.
Every corner of you offers something different to discover. Vastly different buildings juxtapositioned next to each other. Neoclassical apartments sitting right next to Guadi filled mosaics. You’re fascinating.
The Spanish I learned in middle school and high school suddenly came out of the dark, dust-ridden corners of my brain. I’ve surprised myself. I may not speak as eloquently as you. But I tried. And you happily, sometimes with a giggle, obliged and let me attempt your beauitful language.
Your people, especially, bring your eccentricities to light. They love you. They want to brag about you.
I can understand why.
I’m taking off for Lisbon now. But don’t worry. I’m not cheating on you. You’ll always hold a special place in my heart. Like a moth to a flame…I shall return.
Muchas gracias, Barcelona. Until next time.