Above is the video I produced with my friend Brooks for our Spanish class — it explores the dark side of tourism in Barcelona….
Last week, I was blessed with a visit from my family: Mom, Dad, and my sister Holly, as well as Holly’s boyfriend Owen, who flew in from Kuala Lumpur. Nothing makes you feel more like a tourist than skipping through Barcelona with your family for a week, but that’s not a bad thing at all. After a couple months of sticking my nose up at the confused masses on La Rambla, I was able to let go of my pretensions for a week and stare up in awe at the ceiling of the Sagrada Familia, wait in line for the Teleférico at Barceloneta — or atop Montjuïc — buy postcards, souvenirs, and caganeros, and of course, snap endless photos. Showing my family around for a week made me realize how much I know about this city — it was a triumph of sorts, conversing about red wine with bodega owners and ordering bocadillos for the whole family entirely in Spanish, and without a menu. The woman who owned the café was even surprised that I knew what butifarra negra is.
Living with my family for a week in their beautiful apartment on Carrer Bruc was a dream — after classes were finished for the day, I’d either meet them around town for a delicious lunch, or return for a tinto verano and an enormous plate of cheese, crackers, olives, and chorizo. The highlight of the trip? Having my new friends for an evening of good conversation over nice wine and heaping portions of risotto and sausage, followed by a trip to a great divey bar called Quilombo, where we enjoyed a night of revelry with locals and sang along to Spanish guitar tunes (we even got makeshift Coke can maracas).
Even after Montjuïc, Montserrat, Miró, Rosario and tapas galore, its the most mundane moments that become the most intimate in your memory: watching the various waitresses poke fun at my dad’s Spanish, poking some fun myself at Mom for taking pictures of doorknobs, sipping cava with Owen at 11 in the morning, hearing the family history pour forth at 1 am, sitting on the terrace and reading about Sonic Youth while staring out at palm trees, seeing Mom and Dad hold hands across just about all of Barcelona. To me, that’s the difference between being a tourist and being a traveller.
More Blogs From This Author
<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hi! I’m a third year English major and film enthusiast at the University of Virginia. I grew up in Great Falls, VA – a suburb a few miles outside Washington, D.C. – but have always wanted the chance to explore a city like Barcelona independently. In recent years I’ve travelled through many cities in Western Europe – including Berlin and Prague – and I spent three weeks this past summer visiting my sister in Kuanton, Malaysia, where she was teaching English at a state school. The blog she kept up during her time in Kuanton inspired me to blog for IES. I hope you enjoy my musings!</span></p>