Barcelona at Last by Pontus Gustafsson

If you have followed my blog since I began busking in May 2010, then you may remember Pontus. If you search his name you’ll come up with many posts, as my meeting him reverberated through my entire journey. One of my main aims for this second foray into busking was to meet up with him again. That’s why I was so intent on Barcelona, and why despite missing twice and getting distracted for a month, I did end up spending a full week there. He very kindly agreed to write me a guest post. I thought writing about something else might help him as he grieves for something unfathomably difficult.

In 2010 when people told me about Couchsurfing for the first time, I had no idea what it really was or why people used it. “Do you have to host someone if you’ve stayed at their house?” “Do you have to bring a gift?” “Do you have to make dinner for your guests everyday?” was a few of my questions. I decided not to think about too much and give it a try. So I started to host people. And the demand for a couch in Stockholm was big. I said yes to nearly everybody in the beginning with a good couch request. People came from all over the world. I had people from Argentina, Holland, USA, Norway, Austria and a lot of other countries.

That brings me to the summer 2010 when I got a request for a couch from an American guy who was “busking all over the world”. The request was very well written. Everything that I had written in my profile was commented. All the music I listened to and all my interests. I had been out busking myself in 2007 so I knew how it was so I decided to say yes direct. The couch surfers name was Terrence. We decided to meet at the train station right next to where I worked at the time. Terrance didn’t have a profile picture so I didn’t know what he looked like but we found each other at last. He spent a few days at my place in Stockholm and it was my, by far, best and most interesting couch surfing experience. During the days he spent in Stockholm I learned very much about important things in life. We cooked and played a lot of music and I introduced Terrence to my friends. Stockholm was one of the first stop on his trip so he had a long trip in front of him. After his depart I have been following him on Facebook around the world and since some time I understood that he was in Thailand being a music and art teacher and playing in a band. Then he wrote on Facebook something about maybe going to Europe. I told him that he should come visit me in Barcelona, which he did, together with his brother Brent. It was fantastic seeing ,the more hippie- Terrence, again and also to meet his brother Brent.

I have a few favourite places in Barcelona and I couldn’t wait to show Terrence and his brother my absolute favourite bar, l’Astrolabi. L’Astrolabi is a bar in Gracia. I lived in Gracia and the bar was about a ten minutes walk from my place. It’s my favourite bar but it’s not so easy to get all the people to like it. It’s not very fancy and they don’t have any special ways to serve the drinks or anything like that. It’s just a very nice bar filled with great people. On Tuesdays and Sundays when my friend is working there you always find people from different places in the world mixed with people from Barcelona. That’s why it’s such a great bar. And that’s also why I only go there on Tuesdays or Sundays. So we went there and Terrence brought his violin and people were impressed and told him to come to l’Astrolabi more often.

At l’Astrolabi you find people at different age and different background. You can find Ricky, a 66- year old retired professional guitarist that always plays everything that comes to his mind. You can find Nelson, a 46- year old singer from Chile. That’s just two example of very interesting persons you can find at l’Astrolabi.

I was really happy that I could show Terrence and his brother my favourite place in my favourite city in the world.

But why is that? Why is Barcelona my favourite city? I think it’s because there is something for everyone, rich or poor. I went there in the first place because I met the love of my life more than three years ago in Sweden. I decided later on to go to Barcelona to be with her. During these 10 months in Barcelona I have seen so many things in Barcelona. Some things I discovered with her. Some things I discovered thanks to my new friends for life.

Eugenia, the name of my girlfriend showed me around in Barcelona and showed me the real Spanish and catalan culture. It’s a very special culture. Eugenia sadly passed away the 21th of july but I will always love and remember Barcelona and will continue to go there thanks to her, the girl with the most beautiful smile ever.

Brent and I saw them together, happy and full of promise just days before. Pontus has been in our thoughts ever since.

Earnings: 0,00€, 1 hours

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