Sample 1 - Travel

I love good food, like anyone, but I’m not a foodie. I could live on pasta and olive oil for a week without any issues. I like simple things, but if you cook an extravagant meal for me I will most likely rave about it for weeks (as long as it’s vegetarian and corresponds to my annoying and picky texture eating tastes). I had no issues with the food in Barcelona, it was easy to order, there was a lot to choose from even for vegetarians and most food I ate was delightfully fresh and well prepared, and super cheap. I LOVE tapas, always have, and love how they make eating out super easy and fun. And Spanish tortilla is just fabulous – who doesn’t love eggs and potatoes anyway?! I think my favourite meal of both trips was lunch in a simple restaurant not far from the Plaça de Catalunya, tucked away in a side street, 3 courses for less than 10 Euro, plat du jour (or Spanish equivalent) that contained a vegetarian option for each course, fresh juices and delicious desserts. It reminded me of how important it is to take time for each meal, relax and enjoy the food and company. I was really happy to find a Lidl on my walk home, so that covered breakfast and dinners and I found a sandwich shop where I was able to order a delicious brie on baguette sandwich in a mix of English and Spanish. Living in NYC, and now northern California, for so long, I have always missed grabbing a “café en terrasse”, a perfectly made espresso, and sitting out on the street, watching the world go by. On my first day off that is exactly what I did, on the way up to the Park Güell, ordered a café, a croissant and sat at a table, contemplating life and my life.

I really didn’t do much research on Barcelona before I went (something I often lack doing with any kind of travel, making for some missed occasions but mainly some amazing discoveries), but discovered the beauty of Gaudí’s work after randomly walking past the Casa Batlló. Gaudí’s architectural designs and artwork maybe classified as Catalan Modernism, or art nouveau, but for me they depict the existence of another world that we can’t see, full of fairies and butterflies and beauty. His creations are scattered all over Barcelona, but if you don’t have enough time to track them all down, then a visit to the Park Güell is a must. I spent a few hours wandering through the park, marveling at the colours, turrets, twists and turns and imagining all kinds of stories and fairytales in my head. Located on a hill, you get a great view of Barcelona and the sea, and while it can get pretty packed with tourists, I am really glad I made time to visit it. It reminded me that everything is possible in this world, and that we all have something to give, and leave behind, be it physical, fluid or a formless legacy. La Sagrada Familia church also provided me with breathtaking inspiration and emotions, in a way that only an amazingly designed religious edifice can (and I am in no way religious in any form). I lit a candle there for my father as I do in most places that I visit.