Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 2007: Barcelona

Barcelona makes me want to learn Spanish.
With its sprawling beaches, wild nightlife and breathtaking architecture, I feel like I could retire there if only I knew the language. My lack of Spanish combined with my inability to read a map made for an interesting beginning to my three day visit. 
Anyone who knows me can attest to my nonexistent sense of direction. Don’t elect me to be co-pilot or to ride shotgun. I will undoubtedly mangle even the simplest instructions, sending you farther away from your desired destination. As a rule, taking my advice and doing the exact opposite of what I say will get you there on time. 
However, I was traveling solo in Barcelona. Stepping off the overnight train from Paris, I opened my map and set out to find my hostel. Maybe I was holding the map upside down. Maybe it was an outdated copy from 1948. At any rate, I have no idea where I went that day. For four hours, I wandered small neighborhoods with unmarked streets in a sleepy part of town. When I finally made it to Las Ramblas, I was exhausted, dehydrated, and ravenous.
In spite of my circuitous route, my roundabout journey yielded some excellent street art. I loved the bright colors of these pieces; I felt like they reflected the sunny and welcoming vibe of the city. Big names like Above and Pez painted alongside artists I didn’t recognize, making for an interesting collection of photographs. While I didn't know anyone in Barcelona that first day, the city's street art never allowed me to feel lonely.
Also, thanks to Rio and Paul, two awesome Germans who helped with my street art hunt. Rio’s description of Berlin’s scene (combined with Yas’s photos) inspired my upcoming side trip. Fabulous! 

Tomorrow, we'll get the scoop on an Australian artist's new collection of prints. Definitely worth a look-see. 

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