Barcelona’s Barri Gotíc is a labyrinth of narrow streets dotted with imposing cathedrals, shady plazas, and time forgotten mom-and-pop shops. It’s the bustling epicenter of a modern, cosmopolitan city, but a stroll down some it’s hidden alleyways will transport you to another time. One of my favorite streets happens to be in my own backyard: Calle de Petritxol.
While friends have jet-set all over Europe for recent holidays and long weekends, I’ve set out to rediscover my city. Setting to the streets with nothing but a camera allowed me to view Barcelona through a different lens…literally! I wasn’t wandering the streets with a list of errands to run, or distracted by a phone call, or rushing off to work. Wandering…I was doing just that. I could have strolled to countless landmarks anywhere in the city, but without thinking I found myself in my absolute favorite plaza in all of Barcelona: Plaça Pi with Plaça Sant Josep Oriol. Tucked just behind the ever crowded and over commercialized Las Ramblas, Plaça Pi is a gem. No matter the season or time of day, there’s a certain feeling of calm that consumes me every time I find myself here. I can sit here for hours with friends at a terrace cafe or simply browse the art collections and fresh foods market on the weekends. I am always at peace here with Santa Maria del Pi, the gothic cathedral standing proud over this little slice of heaven.
Just beyond Plaça Pi is a tiny gateway to another time: Calle de Petritxol. This is one of my favorite streets in all of Barcelona for a few reasons. For one, it’s tiny! At the entrance from the plaza, I can almost touch both sides of the street with my arms outstretched. But don’t be fooled for this street is a melting pot of old and new; vintage and modern; chic and bohemian. I can’t get enough of it! While the store fronts have stolen my attention in the past, my camera encouraged me to look, well, up! I had never noticed that the street is illustrated with beautiful tile mosaics that essentially tell the story of this time-forgotten portal. Capes and top hats, horse-drawn carriages and lanterns of light – the street below may have evolved with the times, but the street above is of a bygone era.
My walkabout didn’t take me far, but I felt as though I had traveled to another time entirely. Returning home I felt relaxed, fulfilled, and awakened to the pulse of Barcelona once again.