It’s the heart of winter in Barcelona.
People walk the streets with a sort of cold, brisk pace layered in sweaters, jackets, and scarves. There are no leaves on many of the trees, and the only flowers left are the hardier ones planted by the city that can survive the lower temperatures. Oranges line some of the streets by Port Vell (the old port). Coffee shops are full of people ordering carajillos (espresso with cognac), and meals consist of the more comforting items of the Catalan menu. Escudella (stew), canalones, soup, or calçots with romesco sauce. Everyone has the same dry cough and has become more discouraged to go out to the bars or clubs favoring to stay inside, relax, and stay warm.
I’ve had my heat on for a week straight at all times that I’m home. My blankets have become less about comfort and more about necessity. I even went out and bought some teas today to warm up after classes.
This morning I braved the cold and the wind to walk to the Museu d’Història de Catalunya and spent several hours in the heated facility exploring the 4 floors of exhibits. The most interesting exhibit was a temporary photography exhibit that displayed photos from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s by famous Catalan excursionists from their many travels around the world. (Some of the photos can be viewed here but the information is in Catalan).
After a few hours in the museum, I challenged the weather even further and sat on the beach and read for a while. It was nice to have the beach to myself and have the background of the waves while I read. I noticed that far away you could see the snow covering the top of the Pyrenees and thought of the mountains back home, shivered, and looked back at the sun and the Mediterranean. I didn’t stay long because of the wind blowing the sand everywhere. Even as I type this I am still scratching sand from my hair.
Here’s a close up on the mountain with snow:
You may think that I am being sarcastic, or even mocking you all especially considering the temperatures you are enduring today. But I assure you that the low last night was 2 degrees, and even with the sun today we only managed to reach 12 degrees. No, I am not mocking you; I am empathizing with you.
Oh, and here’s another way to know it’s winter: Bunyols