Today I went to Barcelona for the first time since I got here 20 days ago. I went with a newly-made friend from the apartment complex where us graduate students live. I must admit I approached this trip from where we live, Bellaterra, to the big city with some trepidation. The U.S. Embassy has issued a security alert to American tourists advising them of “an increase in violent crime in the city of Barcelona in the summer of 2019, specifically in tourist areas. Local authorities have reported a significant increase in the number of petty theft schemes that have included acts of violence, such as aggressive thefts of jewelry, watches, and purses. In some cases, these incidents have resulted in injury.” On the advice of the Facebook group The American Society of Barcelona, I took a cross-body purse to keep my personal belongings as close to me as possible.
But the trip turned out to be much more relaxing than I had anticipated, and I have my friend to thank for that. He knows the city well and he moved within it with confidence and ease. That confidence and ease rubbed off on me and made me less stressed out.
We visited a taco place, where he had tacos and I simply had a clara, a beer with very low alcoholic content mixed with lemon extract. The place had an eighties vibe with neon lights everywhere.
What really attracted my attention was a Virgin Mary with a neon halo. Mircea Eliade would be tickled pink with this.
We then went to an Asian supermarket where I was finally able to get crystallized ginger, one of my favorite snacks and perfect for my stomach ulcer. We then walked through La Rambla to the most gorgeous stationery store I’ve ever seen, called Raima. There was even time to get hazelnut ice cream. On the way back on the train, we saw jabalíes, wild hogs, in the distance. I was so excited because I’m an animal lover and I’ve been wanting to see jabalíes ever since I got here.
All in all it was a good day and I didn’t even mind walking in the heat. And I have my new friend to thank for that.