I left London with a bit of nostalgia, the people of the city were so kind and friendly with their charming English way. Yet I would not let feelings of comfort get in the way of my grand adventure. Onwards to Spain.
I was presented with some difficulties arriving at the airport, flying with Ryan Air. I knew I had to pay for my extra baggage, which I was fully prepared to do. Yet I was charged over 200 euros for both flights for not checking in online and my baggage, twice. I let Ryan Air know that was outrageous and thankfully they reimbursed me for half of it.
I arrived to Barcelona on the extremely affordable Aerobus that goes from airport and back for 5-8 euros. I was dropped off near the Gothic center where I was staying. It was warm and sunny with bustling activity in the square with fountains and throngs of people moving every which way. Walking through the small streets in the Gothic area I felt transported into medieval times with the winding, narrow streets with no cars felt like a maze of antiquity. I loved the location of my airbnb, right in the heart of Gothic center. Sleeping like a baby the first night, I ventured out the following morning.
My first stop was La Familia Sagrada, one of the reasons I chose Barcelona as a destination point, being a lover of Antoni Gaudi’s style of modernista and his ingenuis designs. I found the trains in Barcelona relatively easy to use, the people in Spain were nice and warm once they warmed up, and the Spanish there sounds different to the ear then what I’m used to, I found more ease with situations when speaking Spanish, which I know a bit of. Stepping out of the train stop Familia Sagrada meets you and is beyond mammoth and quite astonishing in large towers with carved, intricacy in the facade. I opted for the inside tour, which was mesmerizing with geometrical colors, fractal lights, carvings and intricate braids in the detail. It almost felt like a magical palace in some fantasy land. Quite unreal.
I went to Guell park, on my way there was charging my phone in a cafe and met sisters from Algeria. We sat talking about our travels while our phones charged. One of the many reasons I love traveling, to meet people from all over the world who have their brilliant stories to share. Quell park had more of Gaudi’s colorful architecture. I walked around to take in nature and the quirky, unique structures.
I decided to test myself that evening and made it a commitment to let go of my quick, expectant, insta-have it and went to dinner at a beautiful place that had an outside terrace, phone-less. In this gorgeous upper area I sat, looking around, feeling a bit awkward at first, I relaxed and took in the whole of the environment, seeing how much everyone was enjoying company and the setting. Myself included. The table sitting next to me and I started up a conversation, two couples visiting from Germany. They were exceptionally gregarious and fun. We kept great company for the remainder of the evening. The food was exceptionally fresh seafood that tasted like it was caught that day, our server was sensational. What a brilliant place, taste and experience.
To the beach I must go, I thought to myself, one outside of Barcelona city. There was a train that went to areas along the sea to Sitges, that took about 30 minutes. This became the first time I had actually missed a stop on the train, I realized after a lady came by asking where I was going. It wasn’t just me, there were two girls from South Korea who also missed the stop. We grouped together determined to get to Sitges and hopped on a train going back that way. We AGAIN missed the stop and ended back up in Barcelona, realizing the first train we took didn’t actually stop in Sitges! Quite the back and forth yet once there it was more than worth it.
Sitges was like out of a mediterranean dream, walking through the Catalonian streets to find the beach, I was taken aback by the beauty along the sea, with the softly rolling waves and sun and restaurants, shops and homes up on the hills. A friend had mentioned to stop in Garaff on my way back. Which I’m so pleased I did. It had smaller beaches with less establishments, just as beautiful with cliffs and little cottages. I stopped at another Gaudi structure called Gaudi Garraf which I walked up and through, this was more like a small castle with interesting structures and design.
I walked through the city that evening, in appreciation, for life, for living, for now, and everything bringing me to it. I had released stress I didn’t realize I was carrying until it dissolved. The stress of doing my best to make my life work, so I am my best for self, life and others. I relaxed into the feeling of contentment with exactly how life is, right now, instead of how I’d like it to be different, or in some future reality. For what is meant to, will be. As someone recently said “Work smarter, not harder”
I’ll be back with my adventures in Morocco….