As I’ve mentioned before, ”Harriet” and I have very different personalities. For one thing, Harriet is a cosmopolitan globetrotter, whereas I prefer to travel in my armchair. But when I was in Barcelona for Eurocon, I took some time to do the things Harriet would do.
Like strolling around the Barri Gótic with no particular goal in mind, looking at architecture and art exhibitions and tourist traps, stopping for paella and a glass of wine when hungry … The difference is that Harriet would be able to speak Spanish and would pick up Catalan quickly, and she’d talk to people and make new friends.
(I did make new friends, but at the con, where I knew I was going to meet people.)
And like going on a Gaudí safari, thinking I knew sort of what to expect, seeing sort of what I expected in Casa Batlló, La Pedrera and the facade of Sagrada Família (all of which were certainly spectacular and inspiring), but then being utterly blown away by the interior of Sagrada Família.
Both Harriet and I enjoyed this in solitude, in awe of what humans can create.
Then ”we” went down to the Mediterranean. It was the very first time I’ve seen it in person; Harriet has of course seen it uncountable times, swam in it, sailed on it, but we both stood for quite a while with our feet in the sand letting the waves wash our legs. That really never gets old.
Harriet’s favourite after-dinner drink is an espresso and a grappa – in Barcelona we had orujo instead of grappa, and it was very nice. Thanks to new friends we also found the restaurants Flax & Kale and Teresa Carles and had excellent vegetarian food.
Harriet would have:
– Brought proper tea and not have had to settle for teabags; she knows the perils of travel.
– Brought her swimming suit and not have been intimidated by the huge waves, being used to swimming in all kinds of oceans.
– Known all the food words in Spanish and Catalan and not have had to wonder what was vegetarian and what was not.
– Taken at least one extra day to go walking in the hills and mountains outside of town.
Maybe next time. We have to go back when Sagrada Família is finished in 2026, after all.