Two Weeks in Barcelona
San Francisco based photographer Tom Hood spent two weeks in Barcelona this summer, delighting in side-streets and tapas. It seems the city's laid back schedule is great for urban exploring and great photography.
The aroma of Barcelona is hard to describe. Think of smoky pimenton mixed with perfume and add in a slight touch of diesel exhaust. The smell is just one of the ways your sense get altered when you travel.
That’s the thing, people talk about traveling and ’seeing new places’. But, for me and most, the stimulation happens in all the senses. The way the humidity feels on your skin when you step off the plane. The way the sun sets a little later than you’re used to. The overheard conversations in a new, different language.
Barcelona had pastel dawns out of an impressionist’s painting. We walked through the back alleys and parks alike, looking at the Judeo- Islamic-Chrisian influences that evolved with the city. Walking and the Metro were unbeatable modes of transit in the early autumn weather. You could pop under ground and shoot back up in a seemingly different area of town, completely removed from the last.
We visited during La Dieda, or Catalan independence Day on September 11, when Catalan’s show their national pride and bring attention to the Spanish conquest of their county by Philip V of Spain in 1714. The residents drape flags around themselves, attend a massive rally in town and politicians show their support for once again being a free Catalonia.
And the food. Tastes of the Mediterranean spilled out of doorways to dimly cafes. We sat at tables on the street eating olives and grilled octopus and foie and drinking vermouth. A coffee shop served strong espressos and wrote the orders on the marble slab counter in pencil, to be erased at the start of each new day. The dinner was always late, slow and reflective, all good things.
Religion, art, architecture, grand parks and a maritime trading history abound in everywhere you look in this city by the sea, surrounded by mountains, vineyards and farmland. Go there, exhaust yourself walking from the Miro Foundation on Montjuic to the Sagrada Familia to the Maritime Museum to the Gothic Quarter then relax at the beach.