Barcelona had been on my list of top 5 cities to visit (along with Istanbul, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Rio) since high school. Reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind after college only deepened my interest in the city. It was therefore somewhat natural that we made Barcelona our first destination after moving to London and made a quick 3-day trip to the north of Spain in late February.
It was entirely my fault. Soon after I transferred to London in January 2013, I had to go on a business trip to Krakow, Poland. Perhaps it was the fact that it was not very cold in London at the time (at least compared to what I was used to in the Colorado mountains), but I failed to look at the weather forecast for Krakow and did not take my heavy winter clothing. Plus I failed to remember that humid cold (as in much of Europe) feels much colder than dry cold (as in Colorado). What resulted were some freezing days and nights in an otherwise charming old European city.
It all started with the Argonauts. I read The Jason Voyage by Tim Severin about 20 years ago in high school and was fascinated by the description of the Bosphorus and the grand city that straddled the famous passage — Istanbul! Ever since then Istanbul has been on my list of places to visit. I finally got the chance to turn that wish into reality during a work trip to Europe in September 2012. Took a few days ahead of a meeting in Amsterdam and flew down to Turkey.