Archive | May, 2014

Barcelona – in general

31 May

I’m sitting in front of my hostel on a sunny Barcelona day sipping a cafe sola.  It’s an espresso served in the tiniest cup and it’s what everyone drinks.  Today is the first day I have seen the sun since I’ve arrived, and I’m leaving for Girona this afternoon.  

Girona wasn’t part of my plan, but then a friend of mine connected me to his friends, and now I have a tour guide and a place to stay.  I’d like to explore the area, and I definitely cannot survive another day in Barcelona.  I do not have the stamina.

In the rain, I have to stood for hours to enter the Picasso museum, and was more impressed by the Post-Picasso exhibit.  Accidentally, I went through the museum backwards, and learned about his influence on others before I saw his work.

It is wide and far-reaching, and the African artists who have evolved his style were beyond impressive.

After Picasso I sat by myself in a tapas bar and had a very Spanish lunch.  Small plates of lightly friend squid, an unknown fish and the best patatas bravas I’ve ever had were brought to me.  I sipped wine and chatted with the Brazilian couple sitting next to me.

To my surprise, I am learning that when I tell people I’m conversational in Spanish I’m not lying.  I’m nowhere near fluent, but I speak it constantly with ease and I am understood.

Brazilians have been my friends in Barcelona.  I dined with a Brazilian girl who works for the U.N. in Slovakia and had Catalan friends.  They took us to a terrace bar where we again sipped wine and shivered in the wind.

I went to the beach with two Brazilian men who are living in Germany and they kindly gave me their shirts and umbrella when it started to pour.  I now have plans to visit them in Maines, go wine tasting and experience a Brazilian BBQ in Germany.

I have walked down crooked Spanish streets and felt the colonial romance that exists on every corner.  I have stayed up way too late every night, had too much wine and struggled to awake the next day.

Barcelona has been my beginning and, in my opinion, beginnings are never smooth.  They are shaky and shaded with awkwardness of settling into a new environment.  

So I am looking forward to saying goodbye to my beginning as I make my way toward Girona.



My First Night in Barcelona

28 May

Maya Angelou died today and someone asked me if I cared.

“Of course I do, ” I said, and then changed the subject because I really didn’t want to talk about it.

The person who asked me was a tall, awkward man who teaches English in Paris.  Him and I were sitting in the Lounge area of the hostel.  I thought his eyebrow ring seemed out of place, a reminder of a person that he used to be, maybe someone who was trying to be something they weren’t.

He told me he was going to the Market, and I tagged along because I was starving and slept through half the day.  The evening before had been massive but oddly unenjoyable, though I think the person that I used to be would have thought it was really cool.

It started in the Hostel bar with two charming Canadians and an Englishman.  As the night continued more Canadians were added to the table, and then an Irishman who said, “I was too pretty to just be sitting there.”

He was one of the many men who were swarming about and they all seemed interchangeable.  Young English speakers, getting a thrill out of getting wasted in Barcelona.

Many buckets of beer were brought to the table and whoever was buying always brought me my glass of white wine that I continued to slowly sip on.  Hours passed and suddenly it was two a.m. and there was chatter about going to a club called Opium.

I had a feeling it would be a terrible club.  Something about its name was familiar.  A carbon copy of all the clubs in the world that offer expensive drinks, bad music and a plethora of people that can’t move.  I had a feeling I shouldn’t go, but I went anyway because I was curious.

The two 21 years olds I was with thought it was, “the best place!” and they quickly got replaced by a man who was acting as if he was in love.  He was a blur to me.  A figure who wanted something I didn’t want.  He tried to insist upon it, but I looked out onto the beach, watched the sun rise and left on my own.

The sky was streaked pink with the early morning.  I wanted to revisit the Gaudi I had seen before because the melting cathedrals and home for Dragon owners made more sense in the surreal feeling that surrounded me.  I stumbled about the sidewalks, lost and then finally made my way back to the hostel.

There I was met with a man that I had met earlier.  The dude from Santa Barbara who kept subtly, yet obviously, touching my hand and proclaiming, “we have so much in common!”

He was coming in from his evening as well, and I cursed the timing.  We silently waited for the elevator after saying hello, and when it stopped on his floor he stood in its doorway and stared at me.

“Goodnight,” I loudly and clearly said.

Later on that day I went to the market.  The awkward man gave me his umbrella, while we walked in the rain.  The city looked romantic in the mist and the market was full of people and color.

The stalls were stacked with wide-eyed fish, legs of pig, olives and ripe cheeses.  I sipped on a Mango fruit juice, and it reminded me of the Colombian beaches I had visited.

I decided that after Barcelona I am going North to hike and walk the Picos.  I want National Parks, small towns and nature.

I want to read a book, preferably written by Maya Angelou, while staring at scenery that I can’t describe because it is all too beautiful.