Revisiting Barcelona

Although I feel I have nothing wise to say today, I decided to use the possibility to do some blogging. Unfortunately for blogging, I’ve been too busy finalizing conference papers for summer research conferences, writing texts for blogs, like the EMES Junior Expert’s Blog, and planting our allotment (garden).

Currently, I’m in Barcelona for a workshop concerning social entrepreneurship teaching and research. Consequently, I have a great chance to revisit a nice place, this time Barcelona. I seem to enjoy revisiting since it tells me what has changed in the place I like (if anything).

What has changed in Barcelona after my last visit? I’m told that the Sagrada Familia has progressed. Judging from my bedroom window, this is the case; I can see some new white statues. Indeed, I’m staying over at close friends who live next to the Sagrada Familia and have windows facing the Barcelona monument. This is the view from the guest room:

Sagrada_Familia2 Sagrada_Familia1It is very impressive to see and hear the church while spending time at the apartment. I’m also impressed by the fact that they are building the monumental cathedral only with income generated from the admission tickets.

Otherwise I feel the Barcelona spirit has not changed. People are as relaxed as before, at least on a sunny Sunday like today, parks are still lovely, and I can always get a drink and something good to eat. By the way, I guess I just listed the three things I value the most in any city.

Perhaps the temptation to revisit (nice) places is the feeling of arriving to a potential home. I could easily imagine myself living in Barcelona although I have no idea what I could do here for a living. Maybe one day I will move here for some time. To me there’s only one thing that beats revisiting: Living the everyday life away from home.

Always looking for an oasis

Currently, there are two things that characterise me as a traveller: I like to revisit places twice and I’m a park and garden enthusiast. The first goes to say I love visiting nice places twice or more let it be a country, a city, a restaurant, or a park. My park & garden enthusiasm means in every urban setting – after eating regularly – I’m most eager to go and find a park or a garden.

Parks and gardens are the city oasis. In some way they reveal the essence of the city too. Besides, usually you find locals at parks and gardens. And a good sign for me as a tourist on any trip is the ratio of locals. Then it is more likely to be something I might enjoy too. A kind hint to all those visiting Finland during winter: you don’t see many locals dipping in the sea or lake via a hole in the ice although it is said to be something very Finnish.

I stayed in Trento, Italy, for few days due to work and this trip made no exception in my park & garden spotting. Time will tell if I visit the nice North Italian town again, but at least I found a park and visited it twice. This park via Via Livio Marchetti and Vicolo San Marco has a peculiar air to it, as it has been there for a while. Moreover, the worn-down benches and cigarette butts are a valid proof of high use of the area. In addition to flowers and trees, it has a kitchen garden and this gives the park a very practical feeling. The area is not very big. A garland-covered brick wall and two old three-storey houses create cosy cover from passers-by. And yes, it had mainly people from Trento with their crossword puzzles and shopping bags, just popping in on their way to somewhere else.