Love your city. This is what a sign on a wall of a building in Cologne says. I really love my city and this is why Barcelona doesn‘t have any chance to win a battle against the most beautiful city which is located at the River Rhine. Anyway, I had to admit that my anticipation rose when I got on the AVE, a Spanish high-speed train, in rainy Figueres to got for Barcelona. Barcelona, yet full of tourists wearing cameras and always stopping in front of a possible motive, welcomed us with sunshine and heat. A city full of tourists like Cologne.
The object of desire was also a church, The Cathedral of Barcelona, which towered into the sky in front of us at the Gothic District. Although it was not built by Gaudí, it had a mesmerizing effect on us.
We went along the Passeo de Gracia, one of Barcelona‘s most visited shopping precinct, which can‘t be compared to the ones in Cologne – “Hohestrasse“ or “Schildergasse“. It offeres H&M and Bershka but also Prada, Boss, and Chanel and has four lanes which means a lot of traffic. An alley of trees in the middle of the street invited us to sit down for a break and the shops wanted us to come in and find out. In Barcelona, you also follow the crowd without having to take any step on your own. I nearly felt like I was home in Cologne.
Away from the buzz of the centre, through little backstreets in the Gothic District, which contained alternative shops, we could feel the charm of the city that has 1.6 million inhabitants. They reminded me of Cologne‘s districts as there where small balconies containing clothes lines, flowers or Spanish people who were having a conversation across the backstreet.
I suddenly felt that there were those people as well. Those people that love their city. Those, who love being in the buzz of the city, laughing at all the tourists and who like dousing into the anonymity of the city. Those, who prefer withdrawing into their districts, enjoying the silence and searching for a green place to relax. In Cologne, we call our districts “Veedel“.
Don‘t mind if it is Sagrada Familia or the Dome of Cologne, Plaza Catalunya or Cologne‘s “Domplatte“ – in both cities, the time in which they were built has left his mark on them and comparing them would be like uniteing fire and water. The feeling that you get by strolling along the cities, which is characterzied by a bit of a rush, a wide offer of arcitecture and freetime activities, definitely is comparable. Love your city, don‘t matter if Cologne or Barcelona.