Barcelona, ​​t’estimo!

According to Google Translate, “Barcelona, t’estimo” means “Barcelona, I love you” in Catalan, the language that shares the official title with Spanish in Catalonia, where Barcelona is situated.

I spent only 3 days in Barcelona and within the first few minutes I fell completely in love with the city. And when I look back to the early stages of my trip planning when I did not want to include Barcelona at all, I am thankful everything conspired to make this amazing place part of my trip.

I loved Barcelona because it made me feel at home.

People’s smiles and helpfulness and being genuinely kind reminded me a lot about the place where I come from in the South of Brazil. Similarities between the state of Rio Grande do Sul where I come from and Catalonia, where Barcelona is situated are not just limited to the people. The intonation of speaking, the motherly attitude of the older ladies everywhere, the overall laid-back attitude yet very professional and of course, their very strong cultural identity.

Tourist friendly street signs everywhere, in Spanish and Catalan
Tourist friendly street signs everywhere, in Spanish and Catalan

The fact that I can speak Spanish might have helped, but every time anyone heard my daughter speaking English they went out of their way to try and speak English with her and make sure we felt welcome.

Walking through the narrow streets and getting lost in downtown Barcelona was really amazing. It somehow made me feel like an 8 year old walking around downtown in my hometown holding my grandma’s hand. And the funny thing is I was in Barcelona holding my 8 year old daughter’s hand.

Narrow streets in the downtown Barcelona area
Narrow streets in the downtown Barcelona area

The beach and its boardwalk made for fantastic end of day walks. There are some restaurant options overlooking the beach but we ended up skipping them, since we ate so much during the day. Just the view of the beach was enough for us.

The beach
The beach

I’ve been reminded that Catalonia is not Spain and I understand why the Catalans feel very strongly about their identity. The place is truly magical, but I need to see more of Spain so I can compare notes. But only if I can stop in Barcelona for a day or two. 🙂

Catalonia's flag
Catalonia’s flag in a building

Because, Barcelona, ​​t’estimo! And I will be back!

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