I enjoy traveling and exploring. I long admired my father and mother for figuring out the logistics of getting the family of five to explore and travel (relatively peacefully) across Canada and the United States for many summers as we children were growing up.
We packed economically into a station wagon and a tent trailer dad customized for us. From our mobile hub, we explored the coast and the mountains of North America. Whether it was seafood in the maritimes, hiking in the Rockies, or learning to take great photos of the Grand Canyon we learned how to live in close quarters, work with the weather and explore different terrain.
It is this upbringing that has in part, blessed me with the ability to see my life as an adventure with the outdoors, nature and photography.
Japan and England called my father to travel for his work and I remembered, as a youth, his fascinating stories of the people and their culture when he returned. Later, my own work called me to Sao Paulo, Rio and Monterrey. These experiences provided me with unusual and riveting stories of the people and their culture.
But I had never traveled to Europe. I wondered if I should.
And then — a gift. A trip to Barcelona.
The whole trip came about via Instagram. A friend I follow on Instagram posted a photo of her house for sale in Michigan. In her next post, the house was sold. When I asked where she was moving, she replied Barcelona. Would a friend and I like to visit?
With a Christmas gift to help with travel costs, I was able to visit Beautiful Barcelona.
Have I told you — Barcelona is Beautiful! I experienced a city of culture, art, music and incredible architecture. It was inspiring. I could not see, hear or absorb enough of Barcelona every day.
I have respected and admired my friend for years. When she moved to Barcelona, I had to know what drew her there even after she had been many times previously. She had for several years been involved with college study abroad programs.
For starters, my Barcelona friend’s flat was in an intriguing stone building with incredible stone walls. Every morning it was a joy to open the large French doors of her flat and let the crisp April air swirl in and around us while we ate breakfast and discussed the day’s adventures.
Although it was close to other apartments across the way, Barcelona is a city filled with people and this did not seem strange at all. I seldom saw her neighbors, but occasionally heard them and this seemed as it should be in Barcelona.
To me, my friend had the ultimate artist’s flat and she generously shared it with us.
The intrigue of Barcelona is multifaceted.
My observations and their impact upon me are not presented in any order of magnitude or by the depth of imprint upon my soul. Rather, as I can organize the photos, videos and memories in a palatable serving size called a blog post.
Every day we sat in outdoor cafes and had tapas for lunch and dinner.
The fresh vegetables grilled with spices and different salts were so memorable, that I miss them now that I have returned to North America.
Barcelona’s gazpacho was incredible. One day we sat at an outdoor cafe beside Sagrada Familia (the great Gaudi-envisioned cathedral to be shared in another post) and I had freshly prepared, absolutely fantastic gazpacho. It was so delicious I forgot to take a photo.
On the occasional evening when we put our feet up in the flat because we had walked so many miles during the day, we enjoyed empanadas, pizza or pasta. I am sure I have never eaten pasta so perfectly infused with herbs and olive oil.
Olives, one of my all-time favorite foods, could be ordered as a dish in every cafe or restaurant. Olives came in all colors, sizes and presentations. At the market — La Boqueria — and other markets we visited, the olive seemed to me to be an art form.
I photographed them more than I ate them, although I ate enough to appreciate that no two olives tasted the same. Ah, Beautiful Barcelona olives.
I read that some olive trees in Barcelona are 2,000 to 4,000 years old. These are the trees that produce the best olive oil but not the best olives.
There is more to share about Beautiful Barcelona in future posts. But right now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go eat an olive.