Read here about my other Barcelona trip
It’s my first time in Barcelona and I’m quite surprised that I don’t know much about the city. For years, I ran away from destinations like Spain, Italy and Greece as all Romanian were making a queue to go. But why be where everybody is? At those times I was in Beijing, New York or Hague. Ok, getting over this, I arrived in Barcelona at night and settled in right next to the Agbar Tower – famous for its’ condom resemblance.
First stop, the rooftop bar of the hotel for drinks and pictures, then a walk to La Rambla, the popular street of Barcelona, where you can find restaurants raging from Turkish, Korean, Japanese to Italian, the best tapas places, great cocktails and wines and some Christmas lights, now in December.
I’m feeling a bit melancholic a bit numb, but altogether I enjoy the company of A. from Egypt, whose birthday we’re celebrating tonight and J. from Philippines, who offered me his coat on the way back. Aviation is crazy is so many ways, but the people make the best of it. During dinner I told a bit of my story and J. asked if I paint. I said yes and added I have no talents, but it helped me to calm down. I said I used to calm on the outside and agitated on the inside, but now I’m agitated on the outside and calm inside. Yes, there’s all kinds of people, but most of them treat you the way you treat them, so here’s a tip from me: treat people right. I was raised to treat all people with the same respect and give priority to good manners over anything else, first of all. It’s not only what my parents told me, but what they insufflated me by the power of example and even though I was conscious of their position in society since I was a little girl, I saw how well they talked and approached all people, from their work superiors to the women who cleaned our house.
And, of course, I cannot ignore number 11 following me. It’s the 11th of December and my room in on 11th floor, first floor I see is 1111, my desktop background is a picture of gate 11 in the Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport, I have 11 emails in my desktop, when I look at the watch it is either 10:10 or 10:01.
December 12th 2015, Barcelona, Spain
It’s 7 AM and the alarm clock rings and rings and rings. As in many other days I wake up wandering where I am and stay there in confusion for good seconds. Oh, yes, Barcelona and time to go.
I’m walking towards Sagrada Familia, the top of list sightseeing attraction of Barcelona (and no. 11 on my map). It’s still morning and there are not many tourists here yet. I look at the reflection of the 4 towers in the pond in front of the church and I keep my purse tight.
Yes, this building is absolutely amazing and I try to catch the details of its façade with my zoom in lens. This time, I don’t want to visit the interior and I’ll leave it for future visits. I don’t have much time and I feel the need of being outside, of walking, of gathering my thoughts of packing them and unpacking them, of adding a big ribbons and then unwrapping the colored paper fast just to wrap it again.
Stores start opening and most of the locals walk their dogs at this time. With my very asymmetrical haircut I walk confident changing the lenses of the camera now and then. I love this part of the day when the city wakes up because, being an utterly night person, I don’t get to see it too often. Huge slices of jamon iberico hang in the windows of local goodies shops. The architecture in the area around the Sagrada Familia is lovely and even the flat buildings look like museums. I walk on the streets intersecting with the Avenida Diagonal – Sicilia, Valencia, Mallorca, Arago, Cartagena, Dos de Maig.
What I notice is that the fruit and vegetables shops are amazing, with a rainbow of fresh products, with no dirt, arranged in the most attractive way on stacks, pyramids, boxes and bags. Then, the bicycles on the small balconies at 5th or 6th floor, looking at the sky, staying only on the back wheel, ready for a stroll in the city. Rushed locals leave the stores pulling small baskets with the groceries for the day. The city is back to life and The Blue Starred Flag (Estelada), the pro-independence flag hangs on most of the balconies. Every now and then, the flag of FC Barcelona and a family with two kids wearing both T-shirts with Qatar Airways/FC Barcelona.
Although it’s a bit chilly by night, here it is still autumn. You can still enjoy a platter of jamon and a glass of wine outside, looking at the great creation of Gaudi, walk through the yellow-brown leaves or capture some good snapshots of the city architecture through the autumn colors trees. On a city light pole with two lights, two pigeons rest. I find this picture perfect, so symmetrical, so harmonious. But then, as I try to capture it, one flies away, leaving the other alone and indifferent.
On the back side of the Basilica, I notice three words Honor-Poder-Forca. I think about things that matter in life, things that matter to me.
The retiles and snails on the church make my thoughts twist and turn. Most of the times, and especially when I am in new places, I connect to the environment and I think I receive messages at each step. It’s maybe part of the evolution I’ve been striving for when I embarked on this adventure and of the personal work I’ve done so far. It hasn’t been easy and the rewards are not quite here yet, but I tried my best and gave all my patience and kindness, I spread the good and good came back to me.
I walk on the streets, like always, without using the map. Besides my innate sense of orientation – of which I joke saying I have an incorporated GPS – I don’t like to have a preset route, I like to get lost in the cities, discover small corners of the world that might not say much to others, but which make my heart pound, or which remind me of other memories of other emotions of other people and places and adventures and… As my instant memory right now of Seoul and N Tower.
On one of these streets I stop at a coffee shop to have breakfast and I stay at the bar, listening to the music of coffee cups hitting their small plates, fresh orange juice machine, Italian and French, the sound of newspapers and of the crack of the door opening every now and then. I ask for omelet, but I get a tortilla, which is made of potatoes and eggs and chorizo.
It’s almost time to go, but before I go back to the rooftop to take some pictures of the city by day from above. The Agbar Tower is not at impressive by day, but the view of the buildings laying at the basis of Sagrada Familia make up for it.