Well, this is it. Or, as Macaulay Culkin put it so eloquently in Home Alone: “This is it, don’t get scared now.”
After months of saving, weeks of planning, and… well, a couple of hours of packing, I’m here in Barcelona once again. Only, this time it’s personal. I don’t know what that means, exactly, but it sounded good in my head. Like I mean business. Which I do.
Seriously, though. This is it. This is the staycation-slash-writer’s-retreat-slash-return-to-the-scene-of-the-crime I’ve had my sights on for ages. The story, such that it is, goes like this: a couple of years ago, I had an idea for a book, which became a first draft, which I sent to an editor, who liked it very much but made some strong suggestions about the structure. The rewriting began in earnest last summer, but then had to be put on hold as I grappled with the various challenges of my main job as a primary school teacher. However, while the writing slowed down to a halt, the desire never died, nor did my belief in the story, or in Barcelona as a setting…
I get a fair few sarky comments when I say I’m going back to Barcelona, mainly along the lines of: “You know, there are other places…” But for me it’s a no-brainer: it’s become a home from home, a source of inspiration, and a place where I’m able to get into a groove very quickly.
So, here I am.
The apartment I’ve booked for the two months or so I’ll be here is in Poblenou, which is one of the few areas of Barcelona I really don’t know. So far I’m liking it a lot: it’s away from the main drag, but close to the beach, and yet it has its own vibe, including its own little ‘rambla’, lined with the usual bars and restaurants. It’s quiet—relatively speaking—but on a Sunday, or as soon as the sun goes down, the whole place springs to life with a decent mix of locals and tourists.
Coincidentally, just before I left, someone sent me an article about how tourism is “killing” Barcelona. There are certainly spots where this can appear to be the case, but my initial feeling is that Poblenou is not one of them. That said, there does seem to be a city-wide appeal for tourists to respect the locals, even here. On the way back from a busy burger joint last night, I saw a poster on the side of a bus-stop that said: “Your holidays, our everydays.” For anyone that might notice such a sign, the message is clear. Don’t be a dick. And given that my “everydays” will be spent writing, I’m down with that.
Words written since arriving: 218