When I arrived, I was warned about the pickpockets and bag snatchers that are rife in the tourist haunts around the city. I had prepared myself mentally that it might happen to me and that something important might get stolen. The first-hand experiences people shared with me had just reinforced it even more. Through the narrow, cobblestone, slightly undesirable backstreets, I had remained cautious and ever-vigilant - always holding my bag tight and staying alert.
The only thing stolen from me in Barcelona was my heart. But it was returned to me filled with love and admiration for this city, its passion, its people and the joy of life. Those less desirable streets became part of my neighbourhood and I looked forward to exchanging a "buenas dias" with the drunks hanging on the corner at nine in the morning.
It has been a place to pause, my home for almost one month and although these feet are starting to itch for new adventures, it will be sad to leave the friends and the familiarity of a city that has been so welcoming.
It will be hard not to miss my favourite cafes, listening to the animated locals, the gorgeous policemen, yoga clases in Spanish, people-watching in the plazas, getting hugs from random strangers, walking everywhere, the bubble-making busker, the inhibition-free beaches, the generous 'standard' drink servings, the food, the music, the vibe and the colour. I will miss being in a place that is proudly and staunchly Catalonian, that fought long and hard (but unsuccessfully) for its independence and where men are not to proud or macho to greet each other with a hug and double-kiss.
I will miss being able to sit in awe listening to one of The Three Tenors and being treated to the visually spectacular (and free) 'Magic Fountain' - a synchronised water fountain/light/music show. There is much to miss about Barcelona.
Although the mountains of the Pyrenees are about to steal me away, it becomes clear that home doesn't have to be somewhere permanent - it can be anywhere the heart is.