I’ll be honest with you – I’m a bit of a dreamer. I like to imagine that in a different life in a parallel universe, I live in an old apartment block with French doors that open out onto a wrought iron balcony that overlooks a cobbled street. When I wake up in the morning, I imagine I can hear the distant sound of waves crashing and sea gulls calling as the sun rises to greet the new day. I imagine the smell of fresh bread and flowers mingling with the salty sea breeze that whips through my hair as I zip through the narrow streets on my vintage Vespa. I imagine gelato shops on every corner and people spontaneously breaking out into song in sprawling piazzas.
It might sound like a scene from a Broadway musical, but these are the building blocks of imaginary make-believe universes. I usually keep these far-fetched day dreams tucked neatly away in the fantasy files (along with wanting to be a sponsored extreme skier and female rock singer). However, a recent trip to Barcelona made me feel, for a fleeting moment in time, that I was living the dream.
High summer in Barcelona is gorgeous. It was as though the entire Catalonia city was on holiday (or was it just the throngs of tourists I saw on La Rambla?) Whatever it was, the city was in fine form and clearly enjoying the attention. I had done my research and I was staying in a little boutique hostel just a stone’s throw from the beach and the famous La Rambla. I actually arrived a day later than I’d expected having misaligned my international dateline and spent my ‘first night’ in seat 35A flying somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean from Buenos Aires. Thankfully, my hostel booking wasn’t cancelled and I enjoyed the next 4 days playing out my Spanish fantasy.
One of my favourite city pastimes is to ‘get lost’ by setting out with a camera, water and sense of adventure to discover what’s on offer ‘by chance’. My GLG (German Love God) would object of course saying that this is not so much a tactic as a completely unavoidable and inevitable outcome based on the fact that I am without hesitation directionally challenged. This does have its advantages. For one thing, it doesn’t take me long to feel fully immersed in the moment and my surroundings. On the flip side though, I’ve had moments of complete panic and disorientation after walking only blocks from my hostel. As you can imagine, this keeps life interesting.
As fleeting as my visit was, I had a fantastic time in Barcelona. I wandered narrow cobbled streets and shopped till my hearts content. I swam in the Med and soaked up the sun. I enjoyed Spanish wine and seafood paella. I had a picnic in Gaudi’s Park Güell and visited the awe inspiring Sagrada Familia. And while I didn’t have a Vespa or sun drenched apartment to call my own, I certainly felt at home.