Reflections on Barcelona, solitude and finals

This was going to be a much longer, better written price but upon the death of my beloved Powerbook and the necessity of typing on my Kindle Fire, I”m sadly no minimizing the work. Rather than a well thought out travel piece with pictures, I’m for the moment left with whatever my patience for the touch keyboard let’s me write.

As I said, I was blown away by Barcelona. Firstly, it was warm and sunny, which is a simple way to my heart. Add the food and beautiful people and its a winner.

There’s a lot to Barcelona I didn’t know. Not just the Gaudi buildings are beautiful, the architecture throughout the whole city is. I took pictures of at least 100 different buildings. Many have etched designs on the exterior, beautiful balconies, mosaics and unique facades. The multitude of styles enriches the cityscape.

It is also a city of art. There are so many museums, galleries and works of graffiti. I went to the Miro Foundation and the Picasso museum. The former was spectacular, the latter an utter letdown. I’ ‘ll blog more in depth about the two in a series in modern art coming next semester.

It was, without doubt, my method of exploration that really catapulted me into obsession with the city. I went completely alone. I spent my first two weeks alone in Paris alone, but this felt as if it were another first solo experience.

When you tell people you travel alone they say things like “wow, good for you.” I detest that, it feels so patronizing the manner of expression.In a connected world, people are afraid to truly be by themselves. Ok rant over.

Being alone left me in charge. This semester I often found myself frustrated by travel partners, their tastes, interests in art speed etc. To travel alone is to respect what you want to do. It also gives you all the responsibility,only you are to blame for a mistake or for missing out on something. On the same page, you win all the kudos.

I found myself overjoyed at my space for reflection, capacity for spontaneity and relative silence. My heart led me around the beautiful green Montjuic to the Miro Foundation to countless food and sight stops. I was one with myself rather than out of step with a group.

Traveling alone is a great way to meet people as well. I made friends who I’ll never see again, and others who I’ve already seen since. People are strange in the time they occupy in our lives, yet it reels natural to recognize the longevity if some relationships, and the surprising power of shorter ones.

Traveling of course brings people together as travelers share a common yearning for adventure and learning. I easily found people in my hostel on similar journeys to mine.

When alone, your eyes and ears are truly open. For this, traveling alone is a must do. Until the next adventure.

PS. I finished my first semester in France today. My finals weren’t bad, luckily I didn’t need my computer. The one struggle was my oral exam at the Sorbonne. Going in, I had no idea what to expect and had no inclination of the question. There was the possibility of so many churches and manuscripts, but I got so luckily with mine. Regardless, it is finished now and I can say I survived a class there.

Look for a preview of my winter travels in the next day or two.

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