The Ensanche, Eixample in Catalan, is the expansion of the city from it’s medieval center in the late 1800s. It was a utopian plan, with wide streets for public transport, open intersections, big interior public gardens inside the four walls of every block, trees everywhere and limited building height. Socially and environmentally friendly, way back then. Not much of the plan ever came true except the distinctive grid and apple shaped blocks. So, looking down from high above and far away is its popularized and famous angle.
The cupolas of the Ensanche...cupcakes in the sky.
Today the youngest in our family received her membership credentials for Barcelona’s infamous soccer club. But not us grownups. If you are an adult and you have not lived here your whole life, it is pretty much impossible to be one. Here FCB membership is DNA. Anyone under 18 can join, anyone over 18 has to be directly related to a current FCB member. So now us two can wait for 6 more years so that our daughter can pass down her status to us. But the good news is, their tough rules mean games are family friendly and hooligans not welcome! Go Barca!!!! http://www.fcbarcelona.com/web/english/
Moving day. Again. And again. Almost two months to the day our sea shipment arrived from home. Most impressive...movers magic...they got our garden furniture onto a rooftop terrace! From the inside you can only get to the top by a nautical spiral staircase. Have no fear, send anything and put it anywhere!
One of my favorite things to do is choose a way home down a street I haven’t been to before and cruise for the surprise of pastry and bon-bon shops. They are decoration, design and desire all in one. An art show you can eat. And eat. And eat.
Yesterday, I met a man outside my door, a door that opens right out onto the street in a paved pedestrian zone. His dog was peeing on my front wall, and he greeted me with “hola,” without a downcast eye or any other hint of embarrassment. On Sunday mornings when I walk to the bakery early for our weekly splurge on butter croissants, I am alone, but for the men of the family walking their dogs and stopping to watch said dogs poop on the pedestrian streets. Without a downcast eye or a hint of embarrassment. In fact the inevitable pause in the dogs’ excited walk allows for a chat with the neighbor or a glance down at the newspaper in hand. This would be downright gross...well still is, but made less so by the fact that the street cleaner comes EVERY single day, even on Sundays. One person drives the truck with the water and brushes and another person walks ahead doing the pre-scrape. I don’t want to ask who pays for this service, but love for our dogs, poop and all, seems well integrated into Spanish law and city budgeting.
How I practice spanish. Now addicted to “Hola!” That’s my excuse anyway! Getting to know all those obscure royals from countries that don’t even exist anymore, local TV personalities, wealthy euro business heirs and other non-hollywood personalities!
Parc del Laberint d’Horta, gorgeous garden in the north of Barcelona, in a creative collaboration between three artists -- Italian, French and Catalan.
Walking through layers of gardens, listening to the birds, breathing the flavor of eucalyptus, tilting my face in the sun. An amusement. Figuring out the maze, easing up the steps, fingers skimming the pool, jealous of the people who really lived there. Amusement, delight, diversion, frolic, hoopla, merriment, mirth, rejoice, riot, romp, treat, whoopee. Parc del Laberint, a bit of New Year’s fun. www.barcelonaturisme.com
By Maia Pay Ozguc
Barcelona Impressions. Be curious. Be present. Be Barcelona!