On the other hand, Barcelona was much more cool, less pretentious and seriously laid back. You'd be hard pressed to imagine that we're so close to the old man and his sledge. I did not spot a single Christmas tree and the street vendors were busy shouting their usual football badges, flowers, puppets and celebrity pencil drawings. The shop windows are a designer-shoes extravaganza, the tourists numb in their pic-fever, the cranes busy as ever over the unfinished church and the locals cool as cucumbers. For me, a kebab at lunch time with a friend from Bahia was the best hour of the day. Sounds lame but hey, friends are above shoes and sightseeing right? Right?