Barcelona gets talked about a lot.
Always hailed as such a big, beautiful, sunny European city right on the beach. And I feel like I always see pictures of people on the beach, never anywhere else in the city. Not that it doesn't deserve it or that there is anything wrong with that, because it does and there's not.
But sometimes I wonder why for the life of me I can't seem to remember the beach?
I remember watching an IMAX about the ocean entirely in Spanish, just to kill time while the whole city took a siesta. I remember paying to go to the Sagrada Familia (a church that has been in continuous construction since 1882), and eating the best seafood I've ever had. There is an Olympic Village perched on the hill above the city and I remember it had museums that cost like 2 Euros and were actually interesting, and one of those big water fountains that put on a light show worth remembering.
One evening we drove across the border to France for some pizza. Which was surreal, by the way; driving from Spain to France eat Italian food for dinner. I remember the drive back, coming into the city at night and half awake, relaxed because I wasn't on navigator duty.
I remember being a kid, and the way the city looked from my vantage point then. I remember what the wind felt like, sunny, but chilly against my bare arms in the evening. I remember the sandals that walked me down miles of Spanish cobble stone roads. The wide wooden slats from the boardwalk, all slightly damp from the salt spray of the sea, and the steam that came from the massive seafood fryers. The Hard Rock Café was loud, I remember, which is exactly what you should expect from the international designated gathering place of American tourists.
I also remember this city for it's terrible maps. One night we wandered around at midnight for way too long trying to find the metro station, just to discover that it was closed. When we got to the stairs leading underground to a locked gate, I remember stopping and laughing for a long time before we had the energy to then find a taxi in the emptying streets. This was the city where our elevator got stuck and trapped us right as we were trying to leave for the airport. I remember the gap between the elevator floor and the ceiling that was just large enough for the employees to poke their heads up to speak to us in Spanish, which isn't very helpful when you don't speak Spanish. This is a city with bad customer service and thin hotel walls, and I remember that it's a city that makes for tired feet.
I remember Barcelona in the spring. Right in between the rain and the tourism, you can have the city for all the things that you won't forget. You'll remember the people who you love, you'll remember what it felt like to be who you were at that exact moment in time. You'll remember thinking that there is so much more to this city than anyone could possibly experience in a week, but the memories you made will be enough for you.
I remember Barcelona, I've just forgotten what color the sand was, and I think that's okay.