Today is my 3rd, and final, day in Barcelona. I have been in Spain for about twenty days in total. During these last three days in the big city, I have begun to feel lonely. It’s interesting from an observational perspective, but I’m the one I’m observing so it still blows because, well, I feel lonely. I say it’s interesting because while in Southern Spain, I stayed in a very isolated area of the desert (that post will be coming soon, and out of chronological order). I shared living quarters with two others, and every day I would go off on a hike into the desert solo-style. Never once, in all of the desert’s remoteness, did I get a wave of loneliness. In fact, many days would come to an end as I climb into bed and realize that I had not contacted anyone from back home at all. I camped out beneath the stars completely alone with my thoughts, the wind, and the stars. I felt at home. Now, here I sit, amidst a city of hundreds of thousands of people, and I feel… so distant.
On a less self-loathing side, I’ve had a wonderful time in Barcelona. I try to do touristy
things, as a proper tourist ought, but it’s difficult for me to stay on the tourist track. I went to Park Guell to see Gaudi’s architecture and mosaic art, but instead I found myself wandering off on some gravel path which led me to a nice view of the city and a busking musician. I ended up spending an hour listening to David Fractals play his guitar and didgeridoo (I also had a wonderful photoshoot with a very photogenic pigeon) . I bought his CD and eventually went on my way.
Afterward, somewhat illogically, I decided to walk all the way to the labyrinth park rather than take the metro. I’ll be honest. I had my camera rig with me and I have heard scary stories of bag snatchers and pickpockets in the metro, in my mind, a two-hour walk cost a lot less than replacing my camera rig. Upon FINALLY arriving to the park, I went in and strolled around the beautiful gardens and eventually found a path (it wasn’t a path) that led into the forested area that isn’t actually part of the park. I went and had a sit among the trees. Birds landed nearby me and sang beautiful songs. I zoned out for a little bit before hearing other people talking just beyond the tree-line. “I suppose I ought to go back to the park I just payed to enter”, and so I did, emerging from the trees on a path that wasn’t quite a path. Passers-by did a double-take before continuing on with their day. The park was cool. The maze was filled with kids, but still a nice, passive activity. After this visit, I decided to man up and take the metro. I got home in 10 minutes as opposed to a two-hour walk. During day two I forced myself to sit on the city tour bus. It lasted for 40 minutes before I got off at the beach and lay down on a grassy hill, munching on coconut chunks, and watch all the couples flirt and be close to one another. I lay there for a solid thirty minutes before moving locations to a long line of rocks which extended out away from the beach. Here I sat to read as the waves crashed just below my feet. A fresh breeze, consistent and salty. I pulled my beanie lower to cover my cold ears. As I got up to leave, and force myself back on to the tourist bus, I passed by couple after couple, family after family, smiles and laughter, hugs and interlaced hands. I got on the wrong bus.
Later that night I went out for dinner. I went to the bustling area of La Ramblas. I picked a nice restaurant, and as I walked in to the busy restaurant, I told the host “Just one”. They questioned me, “Just one?”. I switched to Spanish, “Si.” They looked around, there were no tables that only sat one person. He pointed to a table with three chairs. He set the three-chair table with just one place mat, one cup, one pair of silverware, and seated just one person, me. I met eyes with a couple who looked over. I met eyes with a family and their child. I ordered, drank, ate, and left alone. This is where the loneliness peaked. This is where I decided tomorrow, when I leave the city, could not possibly come sooner.
Sorry for the sappy post. I don’t do well in cities.
Until next time, a feeling of home is just beyond reach.
Follow me on Instagram to see my favorite photographs of beautiful landscapes… and sometimes city stuff… and to keep up to date with this Europe trip @TheBrettTomadin