My place in Barcelona is a lovely 2nd-floor Airbnb apartment tucked away behind the facade of a old building in the Gothic Neighborhood. The street’s narrow, with five-story buildings, consisting of ground floor retail and residential above. Every now and then the street widens out into a little “park” with trees and benches.
My place is well-situated, near a large central market and several large parks, and between two major boulevards. It’s five minutes walk to the ancient Roman walls of the city, which enclose the cathedral and constitute a major tourist area.
Looking down from my second floor balcony, I see a thriving neighborhood with plenty of old folks with their grocery trolleys, students, parents with their children, tatooed and pierced young people, and a few tourists. Bicycles, scooters (gas-, electric-, and foot-powered), and skateboards, too. Even the occasional car and truck, although it’s tight in places. It’s a nice area, close to all the tourism infrastructure but hidden away from the hordes of tourists. A case of very clever research on my part? Not really, I just got lucky.
Everyone does their grocery shopping frequently, as we can’t load up the back of a mini-van with several weeks worth of stuff as we do in American suburbia. Bread is purchased daily from bakeries that are often cleaned out by 2pm.
I don’t understand it, but the store in the photo above sells “cooked vegetables”. Things like garbanzo beans, white beans, and even noodles. Not mixed together, without any sauce or seasoning, just six kinds of basic foods, cooked. Why this is so popular is a mystery to me and I’m tempted to ask someone in line what the allure is.