I didn’t want to go. I had to drag myself away from London kicking and screaming, quite literally. But fuck me if Barcelona doesn’t just quietly take over your heart.
It does so quite without pretence. Yesterday we met in a park for a picnic. Parrots flew overhead (yeah, I know they are a pest here). And Gaudí is all over this town.
From the top of a hill we could see all the way across to the Balearics. It’s sunny in January. People sit outdoors and have wine with their lunch.
But that would not have been enough.
FC Barcelona is fan-owned and the players display UNICEF logos on their kit. The club doesn’t get paid for it, it donates. And it is sticking it to its richest rivals.
The place is crawling with tourists, but the locals don’t mind. The Catalan language and sense of identity are strong here, yet Barcelona is international. Closer to Europe than to Spain, closer to the Continent than to London it has the heart of a world city.