Easy To Miss
When visiting a foreign city for the first time, a lot of one's first exposure tends consists of tourist attractions. Don't get me wrong--landmarks, guided tours, museums, and other such activities provide much of the city's history, and are often frequented by natives and tourists alike. But often it isn't until you get past these "prerequisites" that you can really get a feel for a city's character. Places like flea markets, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and the lesser-known art galleries; places where the frequency of English-speakers tends to drop are often much richer culturally. This isn't to say that knowledge of such places instantly makes you a native; but they do provide a bit more intrigue than the average tourist attraction. For example:
A seemingly discreet storefront...
...turns out to be a tiny restaurant dedicated to Alfred Hitchcock.
Complete with spectacular food.
Outside on the street, we stumble across a local flea market, overcrowded with people and antiques.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the city center, the one-of-a-kind "vertical garden" indicates you've stumbled across...
...the well-hidden Caixa Forum.
Unfortunately, photography of any kind is forbidden inside the exhibit.
(except when no one's looking)
Now that the preliminary stage (read: the landmarks, guided tours and museums stage) of my semester abroad is over I'm hoping to do a lot more exploring of places like these...stay tuned for more discoveries.