The quiet darkness was broken by the sound of pots and pans ringing from the balconies. I looked up confused, curious about the reason behind this cacophony of sound. Attiya, the person I crashed with the second half of my time in Barcelona, lived in Gracia. Every night at 10pm the residents here use sonic resistance as a way of showing support for the referendum. The sound continued as we made our way to her apartment to drop off my luggage. The vibe of this neighborhood was much more residential then my friend who lived in the Gothic Quarter. The pace moved a lot slower, the streets narrower, the large placa's filled with life and familial energy.
Staying in Gracia with Attiya was like moving from Dupont in DC to a row house in Georgia Ave Petworth. Both are integral to the constitution of the city but one is the face tourists see while the other is a more private, more intimate, and importantly more local. I was standing in a bar on a Monday the musical nuances of a language I couldn't understand washed over me. There was a large half-empty jar of sangria on the counter but this is not the kind of establishment where wone drinks sangria. Instead, beer and vermouth pour from the hands of the bartenders as they greet the customers by name.
The signs and sounds of discord mixed with a vibrant creativity as I explored the neighborhood in the daylight. I could understand the deep anger and dissatisfaction that Catalans feel as a DC resident who despite living in the government capital has no vote in either chamber of the United States legislative branch. The walls in Gracia were covered with graffiti that referenced artistic legends like Frida Khalo as well as new forms of art that I hadn't seen before. Specifically, I noticed an artist who reused old soda cans and painted them to spell out various phrases that were then placed around the city
Gracia is such a young and vibrant neighborhood. It is even the site of Park Güell a huge park that was one of the major works by Gaudí. I tried to explore it but I got the light wrong so I guess I have to come back again!
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