I moved to Barcelona almost 20 years ago and chose to live in La Barceloneta, a neighborhood surrounded by water, feet in the sand.
If the places are defined by their people, here, the inhabitants were close, simple and welcoming people, who seemed reluctant to let the rhythm of the great city absorb them. I fell in love with the neighborhood right away.
Every day of the year, as if time were not passing, its inhabitants take out their chairs by the shore, open their folding tables and begin their rituals: playing cards, dominoes, a beer, fresh water, sometimes grilled fish. They count points, argue with the opponent and swear that tomorrow they will win the game.
This neighborhood is now full of tacky tourists, European teenagers with perpetual hangovers, Barcelonians running for miles down Passeig Maritim. Meanwhile, my neighbors continue to play dominoes like yesterday and the day before.
I no longer live in La Barceloneta, but I still need to feel its rhythm, breathe its sea air, and whenever I can, I let my steps take me through its streets until I step on the sand in front of the Mediterranean.