A man shrouded by the darkness of a narrow alley stood tall, hands in pockets. I sensed the intensity of his gaze right before he yelled “morena!” at me. Presumably unaware of the history of this derogatory term.
Discounting the creepy cat-caller, I wholeheartedly loved Barcelona.
I was greeted with smiles and taken by the sheer authenticity of those who welcomed me. On more than one occasion strangers showed concern for me and curiosity about my journey, where I was from and where I was heading next. It was such a refreshing experience in the midst of global crises and looming quarantines, the threat of which would inevitably halt my journey.
The amiable nature and cheerfulness of the people acted like a magnet. Spaniards smiled from cheek to cheek because the sun shone brightly… life and so on. I know in my heart that I belong where the sun shines brightly, because that’s where the happy people tend to call home.
I quickly became aware of all the other solo female travelers– perhaps an indication of Barcelona’s overall safety or its adeptness at charming young women. Solo travelers crowded quaint and modern vegan joints, bars, and music venues making it easy to meet new faces with the same fondness.
An unstable world loomed heavily.
I arrived in Barcelona on Tuesday afternoon. Exited BCN and headed to Magatzem 128 hotel in Eixample. Magatzem 128 stood tall, an industrial facade met by modern and organic aesthetic. I was thrilled to hang out in the hotel’s lush courtyard, complimentary glass of wine in hand, while swiping through my kindle app, transported by The Outsider by Stephen King.
Rasoterra, a vegetarian joint– red wine and chocolate truffles totaled €10,00 served by a cheerful staff. The manager and I struck up a conversation and like many others showed concern for me, a solo female traveler making her way through the Gothic Quarter on a Tuesday night. An evening followed by live music at the Harlem Jazz Club €3,50 glass of wine and an €8,50 entry ticket.
I quickly realized that I’d definitely revisit Barcelona for its cuisine. I was happy to experience the city’s vegan-friendly scene such as Flax&Kale and Teresa Carles. I explored Barcelona on foot, photographing the city’s sites such as Casa Batlló, La Sagrada Familia, and Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona. That night I danced with natives at Marula Café. My long floral dress swept the floor as stage performers rapped excitedly. The world beyond those walls faded further and further away.
When this is all over, my revisit entails sinking my teeth into more of Barcelona’s fare, an exploration of Park Güell (I missed the chance to do so the first time around), and interact with more solo travelers and natives. I’m sure we’re all thinking just that right? How we’d do things differently when this pandemic subsides, how we’d emerge from this yearning longer and warmer embraces.
I’m excited to use this time to reflect and to draft an itinerary for my return to Basel and Paris, whenever that might be. I was lucky enough to meet an Uber driver willing to take me through Paris a few hours prior to my flight back to the States. Initially, I was supposed to spend a couple of nights in Paris but due to flight cancelations I had to book an earlier flight.
My heart ached.
What cities are you looking to visit post-COVID19? Let me know in the comments below.
Read about how I organized my trip to Europe in Spring.