Adventure Change

Barcelona Beautiful

07:37Meg Cowan

Stone walls echo with the ghosts of histories crowds. We are huddled together in the tight space of 23, watching time honoured song and dance spill from the souls of those who know it's beat. As my old friend tilts his guitar and women raise their hands to cries of 'ole this suddenly feels like the Spain I came for.

Not the cobbled streets, nor the centuries old masonry, beautiful as they are. No, this is history and culture, melded together into now, living and breathing. This is the way of living that challenges my own. My ears strain to pick out touches of words I know and again I am aware of how small my world can be if I don't look outside the known. With every culture where I dip my toes I am challenged to enlarge my thinking.

New Zealand is without a doubt, beautiful and the most wonderous place to call home but as I consider these coming months I wonder what it would look like to plunge ourselves headlong into the spanish psyche. To see things from a new worldview, holding what is precious to me but allowing a new way of thinking to swill around those concepts and challenge my motion.

When we arrived jet lag told me this was the worst decision. Told me that I missed my family and home was what I wanted. Forgetting of course that currently we don't have a 'home' to speak of, I longed for the familiar. Change has a way of doing that. Making you long for what you used to have. I realise though that what I used to have is an illusion. Everything and everyone keeps moving. Whether I want them to or not things will be different when we return. So we keep moving and growing ourselves, eager to see where this takes us.

We have traversed the city by metro, by car, by boat and by foot and still seen only a small portion of beautiful Barcelona.

Food and sleep have been our main focus as we bring some kind of relief to all of us who are weary from the journey here. Sometimes you just need a chocolate covered and filled croissont from the markets to get you through the tough days.

Children snooze randomly thanks to the efficient shutters that block all light from our rooms and now we wake closer to noon and find ourselves settling well past nine in the evening. This in itself pushes me to think again. Just like in Manila where bed time was no less than nine pm, my new self smiles at the Meg of old as she thinks of settling children for bed at seven or dare I say it six!.

We have wandered through the great park, trying not to look like tourists but failing miserably as we awed at the fountain topped with golden riders.

In true tourist style we payed some over inflated price for Mr Evans and the kids to paddle around the central pond in a dingy and it was worth every cent.

Wandering through the park we were enticed to leave it all behind and join the circus, and Mr Evans looked right at home juggling with the people we met. We soon realised that the park is where they rest each night. Cheap wine and philosophy are the traded currency and a disdain for the established world binds them.

With a ridiculously high unemployment rate in Spain I can see why the park was full of bohemians and vagabonds. It is by all accounts a nice place to call home and dollars are to be made from sharing your craft so part of me tips my hat to the ingenuity that breeds in these grounds.

After picking up our rental car for the trip down the coast to Valencia and realising I was the only named driver I began the quick task of rewiring my brain to drive a manual vehicle with my right hand on the gear lever. We missed a turn off and no thanks is offered here to the vehicles navigation system which remained firmly in Espanol only, and also no blame is apportioned to the navigator Emma, who's i phone failed her. With the turn off behind us and a 4km tunnel ahead we drove onwards to our next stop where we negotiated the unexpected toll booths and paid our 3.75Euro to take a short 50m trip up to the next turnoff.

The road that took us home, wound through pretty streets, up and over the hill rather than through it. With hair raising speed and proximity fully loaded trucks passed us as we swooped around corners, where we stopped only at the rest station to marvel at the breathtaking view that was all of Barcelona city laid out before us.

Next we will wind again around spanish streets. This time on the way to see our old friends in their coastal seaside village and then down to the oddly named town of Peniscola to stay for two nights on our way to Valencia. The adventure continues.

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