Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Magic Realism is the genre that would need to be used if you were to set a story in Barcelona. It is an ultimately urban realm, but full of fantastic and impossible to believe sights. It is almost as if a kid set out to build a grown-up version of a modern, square-block, metropolis; and then grew bored with the uniformity and gave into tremendous flights of fantasy every few blocks.
Everything from Gaudy architecture (literally), to palm trees, to open markets selling every strange species of fish imaginable, to living statues of devils, demons, and angels, to kiosks selling exotic animals is available. When one ventures off the normal-everyday streets into the Gothic Quarter, the real world is left behind and extremely narrow, silent and tall, cave-like alleys run in every direction.
Hidden gems are available to the adventurous explorer: like the restaurant founded in the 1800s named “Los Caracoles.” If you are not looking for it, you might not find it. It looks, from the outside, like a small bar scarcely large enough to allow you to walk past the patrons sitting down to a drink. Squeeze past this and into what looks like a “back room” (duck if you are over 6 feet tall) and you will find yourself headed into a large kitchen and through a labyrinth of rooms and tables into a large and fancy restaurant!
Time seems to stand still in this magical city too. Spanish culture spreads itself out into all corners of the day that never seems to end. No matter how late you explore, you will never cease to feel the bustle and the safety of the crowd. This city really does never sleep, no doubt fed and maintained by a constant stream of their excellent coffee!

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