Remember my friend Erin, who shared her bits from her trip to France, we’ll I asked her to write up a bit more as she continued on the trip to Spain, and lucky for us, she did. So, take it away…
That doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every minute of it, that doesn’t mean it has to become your new favorite destination, that doesn’t mean you have to want to go back again and again.
It also doesn’t mean it was a wasted trip.
As long as you can appreciate the experience and keep an open mind, it’s a success in my book. The point in traveling the world is to experience and let’s face it, not every experience is a great one.
That’s how I feel about Barcelona.
It’s not that I didn’t have a good time, I did…I loved the food and the people were friendly, the architecture was beautiful. Everyone should go and decide for themselves.
But to me I felt like I was spending a few days in California. I wasn’t blown away. I was disappointed there were so many American stores and everyone spoke English. I was so excited to leave France and finally use some of my high school Spanish but that didn’t work out…sigh.
I love culture shock.
I think that’s where my addiction to travel begins. I like to feel lost, confused, out of place and unsure, (only when on vacation, not so much in life). Barcelona, aside from the architecture, was too modern and easy for me.
Keep in mind this trip to Europe was my first vacation to another “Western style” country, so already the culture shock had been taken down a few notches. (Plus side, it was the first time I’ve come home from vacation without swine flu or some unknown stomach virus. Bonus Points!)
Barcelona did have some highlights. The food was amazing. And obviously, I loved La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. And at one point, we accidentally found ourselves in the middle of 1.5 million nationalists on Diada de Catalunya, which turned out to be quite an experience.
We also went to a topless beach for the first time…and participated.
I mean, all the cool kids were doing it!
When you’re the only group there with bathing suits on, you’re the ones out of place. There’s no time to think, you’ve just gotta do it. Top down. Like pulling off a band-aid, quick and painless. Oddly enough, at that point everyone stopped staring.
However, my topless friend panicked each time someone spoke to her on the beach including the guy selling water even though he only looked directly at her face.
“It feels weird when people talk to me and I’m naked, but they’re naked too…but I don’t know if that’s okay?!” Hands casually covering her exposed bits…
The lesson to take away from the topless beach is not that my friend freaked out about being naked but that she tried it. She stepped out of her comfort zone…and her clothes with an open mind.
I suggest everyone do the same.