Walking around the local neighborhoods of Barcelona has given me much appreciation for their way of living. I was grouped with an amazing set of people to explore a local Barcelona neighborhood, Gracia.
Being away from the tourism and venturing through the neighborhood gave me a sense of calmness and serenity. As we approached different checkpoints of the map, we were presented all different types of plazas. Thought they had a different vibe in each, there were a few similar characteristics that made it similar: Open space filled with a pleasant sight of greenery and benches to relax and enjoy the weather. It was eye opening to find all the plazas blocks away from each other. The area was very accessible as there were wide walkways and ramps for everyone to access the plaza.
Strolling around each checkpoint was just as delightful as the plazas. In most streets, trees flourished with leaves to provide shade as we walked in the beating sun. The streets were filled with beautiful art of graffiti and I loved the close proximity to the small shops, cafes, and produce markets.
Though I was told the Catalan locals hated tourists, I felt a sense of community and support. I felt really welcomed buying a croissant at a local bakery and when I was also accepted to try a unique juggling technique. From this walk, I now have a sense of why the local Catalans hate tourism. Locals are trying to preserve their effortless lifestyle and traditions as they see tourism as a plague, breaking their bond. The local Catalans need to be more accepting to foreigners as the tourist need to be more respectful to the culture. I hope when tourists do visit local neighborhoods like Gracia, they would admire the authenticity of the area as I did and respect the Catalan community for the ahead.