A weekend in…

- Arne Adri­aenssens Au­thor Celebrations · Barcelona · FC Barcelona · Spain · Catalonia · Belgium

I vividly re­mem­ber the first time I set foot in Barcelona, on Christ­mas Day 2017. I had never vis­ited Spain – let alone Cat­alo­nia – be­fore, but had de­cided to spend my hol­i­days here with my Cata­lan part­ner and in-laws. Com­ing from the brisky coun­try­side of Bel­gium, celebratin­g the hol­i­days in 15 de­grees and just a light jumper was a nice change. The city it­self was charm­ingly hud­dled with lo­cals do­ing their fi­nal Christ­mas shop­ping and fam­i­lies en­joy­ing a stroll through its stun­ning streets. The big herd of tourists that de­fines Barcelona dur­ing the sum­mer had left the city months be­fore, ac­cen­tu­at­ing the au­then­tic spirit of the Mediter­ranean metropole.

Lit­tle did I know that in less than a year, I would my­self set­tle in this fantastic place. When my boyfriend re­turned to his roots, ex­actly as I reached a cross­roads on my own lifepath, I took a leap of faith and fol­lowed him south­wards – a de­ci­sion that I haven’t re­gret­ted for even a sec­ond. Love is the thing that brought me here, yet Barcelona’s joy­ful, sin­cere and ever-sur­pris­ing char­ac­ter is the main rea­son why I may never leave again.

The nice thing about ar­riv­ing in a new city is that ev­ery­thing, even the small­est de­tails, seems like an in­trigu­ing enigma: for ex­am­ple, the habit of not say­ing ‘hello’ but ‘adéu’ (good­bye) when pass­ing an old friend in the street; or the amount of time they spend in the kitchen in or­der to eat two mul­ti­ple-course, hot meals per day; or the fact that not one, but two of their Christ­mas tra­di­tions are re­lated to poo (I’m not mak­ing this up, I swear). These quirks are what makes Barcelona unique. And if you opt to ven­ture down a not-so-touristy street, you might just dis­cover more of them your­self.

That is what A Week­end in Barcelona is all about. It is an out­sider-in­sider’s view on the city: an in­ter­est­ing jour­ney be­yond the im­pres­sive peaks of the Sagrada Fa­milia and the flower ven­dors at La Ram­bla. If there is a way to dis­cover the real Barcelona in just one week­end, this guide might just help you to do so.

So, no time to lose. Crack the cover of this quirky travel guide and dis­cover a Barcelona that most tourists miss out on wit­ness­ing. I sin­cerely hope that the beauty of the city – in the broad­est sense of the word – will amaze you as much as it amazes me, ev­ery day.

Bon Vi­atge!

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