S. Rabbani: literary fiction, instructional articles, essays & translations
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From Barcelona

By Sahand Rabbani


from Barcelona


Dear Friends,

It is now more than three months after my trip that I write this account as a desperate attempt to ensure its memory. I arrived in Barcelona (or "Barna," as it is called endearingly) late on a Friday on a flight from London, meeting my friend, who had flown in earlier, for dinner with his generous brother and his wife, our hosts for the weekend. Retiring to their modern luxury apartment on the beach, we wound down the evening with some conversation and rum as I practiced my Spanish.

The following day, my friend and I awoke lazily and limped over (by subway) to La Sagrada Familia, the famous and unusual Frankenchurch whose construction began over 130 years ago and still continues. An incongruous quilt of old and new styles on the outside, the inside is, well, yet unseen by me. The line for entry was estimated to be two hours, and our half-hearted attempt to return the next day during opening hours failed miserably.

Following this aborted attempt, we took the subway and tram to the Tibidabo hill to the northwest with its unhindered panoramic views of the city and the sea.

Next, we descended to the Ciutat Vella where we strolled along Las Ramblas, a vibrant boulevard filled with street performers and vendors of obnoxious noise-making toys that kids like.

That evening, we attempted to connect again with our hosts at a concert venue in the nearby seaside town of Castelldefels, but understandable confusion over the difference between two synonymous but physically distant institutions, the Club Náutico and Club Marítimo, resulted in a severe delay and caused us to miss the concert. We did arrive in time for dinner at a rustic inn where we enjoyed ample servings of jamón, pan con tomate, and sirloin steak.

The following day, my friend and I explored more of the Ciutat Vella and walked along the beach boardwalk to the Port Vell, stopping along the way to enjoy a lunch of arròs negre (squid ink paella) and white wine.

In the old town, the locals were preparing for the city's annual festival of La Mercè. Amid parades and lights, we found a heavy-metal-themed bar where we put down some drinks and talked about life, all in a manner that still allowed us to rise in time the next morning. When our pre-ordered taxi did not show up at the scheduled time, we hailed one off of the street and were on our way to the airport and back to London.

Sahand









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