One cannot forget the ignitable burst of energy, hope and tangible unknown of your very first and independent travel bug lesion; the breakthrough of the travel virginity being sacrificed, never to be returned or becoming again but only to be relived, heightened and revived for as long as you allow yourself to.
To begin; put your life in the hands of an untrained formula one driver, strap yourself into a miniature Fiat and swim through the dense traffic that overflows the narrowing European street maze. Watch with amazement your first encounter with the beautiful Spanish inhabitants; observe their zest for life and rapturous welcoming; visible through their pride of dress, crinkled smiles, dramatic gestures and of course their love for tobacco and all things delectable.
Arrive at your choice of destination, mine being an organic Spanish family consisting of mother, son and a daughter who has run away to the Caribbean, known only as Marie. Equipped with only the bare minimum of the Spanish language, I manage to construct a two hour conversation with my host mother as we share our passions in life, current careers and a brief ancestral history.
After a light summer siesta in your melting apartment and waking up looking like a Dali muse, spring into a cold shower before grabbing the bull by its horns and leaping out the door. Start your day with a two hour basic Spanish lesson to learn colloquial introductions and small talk, how to ask for directions and of course how to conduct yourself in a tapas bar and order the crème de la crème of share plates.
After class take a prance through the kooky La Rambla; be baffled as you witness some of the most creative street buskers work their performance art and for a few euro’s you might even get a surprising outburst of performance gratitude. Acknowledge the mini zoo creatures, rats, ferrets, pigeons and other small critters, but don’t look too closely and certainly don’t pause for a moment.
The next colourful archway along La Rambla that will catch your attention is titled ‘St Josep’ Market. This market is serious business, not for the faint hearted or weak kneed. Begin your sensory expedition as your eyes seize from the most unimaginable colour palette, your nose inhales the spices intensity and kings of the sea, your ear drums are muffled with vendor’s sales tactics and echoing footsteps shuffling, you caress your way through the textured fruits and plump sweets and finally you give in to the pulsating saliva your jaw is secreting with. Taste the treasured Iberico Ham rich with acorn notes, the fresh Manchego on moist oven baked bread and complete with all forbidden fruits, gelati and buttery pastries. Make sure you’ve got enough supplies for a full day ahead and jump on a subway.
This subway, fast like a bullet but relaxed enough to fit within its counterparts and habitat. An experience in itself, observe pick pocketing masterminds fool the irregulars, floating piano accordions, dogs of all shapes and sizes shoved into bursting satchels and swaying carriages churning through discrete tunnels. Switch over to a tram and make your way up the incline to Gaudi’s enchanting Park Guell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many hours must be dedicated to this fantasy land and I believe it is the first Gaudi site that should be visited. Aside from feeling like you are in Willy Wonka or a life sized ginger bread factory, every tile, sculpture, wall finishing and architectural structure is unbelievably unique and inspiring and is matched by never to be seen views of this one and only city.
After working up a well deserved sweat, head down to the beach for some much needed people watching and a dip in the Mediterranean. Make use of the array of refreshments that are presented for purchase by impoverished and stranded backpackers and draw on your tantalising market supplies to restock energy.
As the sun begins to subside, jump back on a subway to your salsa class of choice (no experience needed). Make sure to receive a basic demonstration with a local of course and a guided awakening of your inner Spanish soul and leap into a beginners class where your inhibitions will fly out the window. Continue your evening trailing through salsa clubs and bars with your new moves down pat, consuming the finest and freshest mojito’s, sangria and of course more tapas.
After all time is a right, not a privilege, every living being in the world receives the same clock every day; it’s what you choose to do with it. So how much can you milk from its essence within a day in Barcelona?
About the Author: Dana Newman is an amateur writer who has decided to secrete the thoughts in my head onto paper. Enjoy!
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