Saturday, September 30, 2017

Here I Come, Barcelona!

When I crawled out of bed on the morning of June 13th, earlier this year, I had no plans to travel overseas. Things were different when I crawled back into bed that night; I was going to Barcelona.

Barcelona, here I come!

I am bursting at the seams with housesitting requests. While I'm glad to be in such high demand, housesitting is something I do in my downtime. And while I appreciate my downtime, it's really the uptime that I look forward to -- when I'm out-and-about traveling and exploring. I've been more careful in the last year or so about not filling my schedule with housesits. I've deliberately guarded large blocks of unscheduled time in my calendar where I can allow for whims and serendipity. The month of October was one of those unscheduled blocks of time.

Somewhere along the line, I caught whiff of something called Next Vacay. Next Vacay describes itself as a "personalized deal alert system for busy professionals who want to take charge of their travel dreams using extraordinarily low fares." While I'm no longer a busy professional, I do like to take charge of my travel dreams, and I do like extraordinarily low fares. For a modest $25 annual membership, Next Vacay sends emails instantly alerting its members of great deals on flights that originate from airports in and around their specified city. Tickets need to purchased quickly, as the incredible prices aren't available for long.

Next Vacay sounded like a great idea, and so I signed up. I figured it might inspire a whim. I started receiving deals on flights -- roundtrip airfare to Anchorage for $125, Copenhagen for $425, and Hong Kong for $525. When a great roundtrip deal came through for Barcelona, and when I saw that the ticket was valid for October, when I had free time on my calendar, I snatched up a ticket. I didn't hem-and haw at all about the choice. I simply bought the ticket and continued on with what I had been doing that day.

I have never been to Spain before. Having studied Spanish for seven years in school, I've always wanted to go to Spain. (Yes, I very well know that Catalan is spoken in the Barcelona region, but Spanish is as well.) One of my Spanish teachers in college was from Barcelona. When the Next Vacay offer came through for Barcelona, I could hear my Spanish teacher whisper in my ear, with his Barthelonian lithp that drove me crathy (and not in a good way): "Tharah, you mutht go to Barthelona."

Well guess what, Thpanish Teacher. October is just around the corner, and I'M GOING TO BARTHELONA!

I spent some time while I was housesitting on Salt Spring Island earlier this month reading the Lonely Planet Discover Barcelona guidebook from cover-to-cover.

Studying my Lonely Planet guidebook.

Typically, I wouldn't describe myself as someone who is terribly interested in museums, art galleries, or architecture. But, my, oh my, Barcelona is a meccas for modernism, and I'm a sucker for modernism. And so, museums, galleries, and architecture I will be seeing!

I plan to visit Antoni Gaudí's creations -- including the famous Sagrada Família and Park Güell. I plan on visiting Pablo Picasso's museum, as well as that of Juan Miró. I'll walk along La Rambla, explore the hills of Montjuïc, and so much more!

On my way up to Salt Spring, I stopped by my friend's house, where my few belongings are stored. As I was fishing through my things, I pulled out the one piece of artwork I saved when I downsized. In honor of my fondness for the painting, I snapped a photo of it.

The photo I snapped of my favorite artwork.

Here's the artwork, hanging in my old living room.
(Those were my two furr balls on the chair -- Mitzy and Rusty. I miss them like crazy!)

Then, then two days later, as I was reading the Lonely Planet guidebook, I saw that the guide contained a photograph of the architectural marvel on which my favorite artwork is based. I had no idea that the painting I hung on my wall for years was based on a real place -- Gaudí's La Pedrera!

Here's the photograph I saw in the Lonely Planet Guide.
My painting is based on a real place!

I can't wait to see La Pedrera with my very own eyes!

For my first two weeks in Barcelona, I'll stay at three different AirBnBs in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Each AirBnB will serve as a hub for visiting nearby sites and exploring the local hoods. I have plans to visit one or two sites each day; the remainder of each day will be spent wandering, photographing, and writing.

I am bringing Bromleigh, my folding Brompton bike, to Barcelona. The last week of my trip, I will bike north to Figueres and Cadaqués to see Salvador Dalí's home and museum. I'll stay with Warm Showers hosts as I pedal to-and-fro.

My friend, Erich, is visiting Barcelona this week. Knowing that I'll be visiting shortly as well, Erich has been sending me photos of various sights around the city. His visual teases have been making me even more excited about my trip.

Yippie! I can look forward to lots of murals...
(Photo: Erich Knaak)

...and a cool green passage somewhere in the city...
(Photo: Erich Knaak)

...and a red-tipped cactus penis! Woohoo!
(Photo: Erich Knaak)

Ah, this is gonna be a grand trip! I plan to post a few entries when I'm in Spain, so stay tuned...


  1. I saw two folding bikes crushing my century on Saturday and thought of you. I knew it seemed like time to see Bromleigh on the road again! Little did I know what road! I will be riding in my normal pocket of the panniers! Have a blast Sarah!

    1. Looking forward to having you along for the ride, Tony!

  2. Have a great time. We plan to do Spanish Mediterranean coast March-April time frame so look forward to your discoveries. Bill Herrmann

    1. Thanks, Bill. Will most certainly let you know how it goes. 😀


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