I am in love with Barcelona, and there are several reasons why.
Part of it is that it is the first city I went to in Europe as an adult. Why you ask, Barcelona of all places? Was it is the culture, the art, the architecture, or the beach? No it was simply the fact that the man I loved lived in that city.
I have been to Barcelona a lot of the years, and I think part of the charm of the city is the rather organic way I have learned about it. I have never read a guide book about BCN (as the locals abbriviate it), instead I have simply learned about the city through the eyes of the people who love it and call it home. (I suppose I am learning about Madrid the same way.)
It will always be a city of romance to me. Not only because I once fell more deeply in love there with my husband, but simply walking down the street there is a romance to the buildings.
Most of this trip was about family, and spending my first Christmas with my in-laws.
Christmas camels are big in Spain. (I love the smug look on this one's face). Spain has historically concentrated holiday celebrations on the 12th night of Christmas (January 6th) when the three kings arrived bringing presents.
Madrid is more spread out and even though there is more people that live there, they are less condensed (kind of like the difference between LA and NYC). There is also a comfort to know that most people in Madrid are speaking Spanish and not Catalonian. The cadences, and indeed many of the words, are the same in both languages and it can sometimes take some time to figure out what language a person is speaking.
In short, going to Barcelona is wonderful, but I am glad that I live in Madrid.