To be honest, I didn't know if I was going to write about my trip to Barcelona. There were a lot of factors that were influencing this decision but my love of sharing and writing kept nagging at me to write something.
So I've decided to write about the things that I learnt during my trip to Barcelona because let me tell you it was pretty eye opening.
1. Plan, plan and plan
For some amazing reason, I didn't plan where I was going to go to or what I was going to see and all the other normal stuff which I have learnt to do. I wanted to "wing it" as they say. And I guess it would work if you were going anywhere else, but this doesn't work in Barcelona.
In order to see the most of the sights in Barcelona, all those beautiful buildings designed by Gaudi, then you need to book online. Trust me, this will save you a lot of time. I went to Park Güell at 12:30 and the next time I could go in and see the place was at 5:30. Now had this been close by, it would have been fine, but the walk to get up there, I wasn't about to do that again.
So plan. Not just when you're going to Barcelona, but where ever you are planning to travel to. Look at the cities "visit page", go on social media, if you're a photographer, go on Instagram or 500px and search for the cities hashtag or page "tends to be something like "visitbarcelona" or something of that nature.
Oh and as a side note, dress appropriately. If you're going to be hitting the cathedrals, don't wear shorts like I did. You won't be able to go in.
I discovered that I have a minor fear of heights. I say minor because I can still go up structures that are built and high up and I won't have an issue with them. But going up rocks and all that, I can't. I was terrified when I was in Amalfi and in Barcelona the same thing happened.
When I got to Park Guell, there was this structure that people were going up. As I looked up and then behind me, I knew I wanted to go up the same structure, because the views of the city from there, were bound to be amazing. But each time I looked at it, I was thinking of how I was going to fall. In fact,I was convinced that I was going to fall the moment I stepped up there and it wouldn't be good. So I had a little battle with myself. I knew that if I didn't get the picture, I'd always think about how I didn't get the picture. But if I went up and did get the picture and fell...well that would be another story altogether. So I went up because what if's never got us anywhere and when I got up there I was so happy that I did. The view was amazing. I thought back to how I had almost let myself let fear take over and thereby missing the great view. So from now on, when I feel fear take over, I'll press on and do it anyway.
You may already have something in mind that you want to do, but something's holding you back, just got and do it. You won't regret it. Well as long as it's legal. And for some inspiration, listen to "I lived" by One Republic.
3. Safety first
As a relatively new solo traveller, I do rely on those that have gone before me to give me tips on what to see and where to go to and most importantly if this place is safe. The last two places I have been to, Naples and Barcelona are a little on the unsafe side because of one little (big) problem. Pickpocketing. Naples was good. I had no issues there, but Barcelona was another story.
I saw a guy being pick pocketed right in front of my eyes. Of course the responsible thing to do was to tell the unsuspecting victim. And I did. I just didn't realise the repercussions for myself.
So I noticed the pick pocketer (thief sounds too harsh) when we got onto the metro. To be fair I got a vibe, like that sixth sense but I didn't think it could happen. Anyway Mr P went in for the kill and then I told the unsuspecting victim, but by doing that I then put a target on myself. I didn't realise that Mr P was going to get off the same stop that I did and he was not happy. He was swearing at me in Spanish and I don't understand a word of it but people were looking at me like something had gone very wrong. Thankfully nothing happened to me, I live to tell the tale but that taught me a few things. In as much as it was a nice thing to do, it put me in a lot of danger and I really should have stayed on the train, at least then there would be a lot more people to assist me if things had turned sour.
I was very shaken after that incident to the point where all I could think of was to get to the beach. I realised at that moment that travelling was amazing and you got to experience so much, but then there was the other side of the story where bad things can happen.
So if you're embarking on a solo journey, always research the place and take precautions to keep yourself safe. Avoid really crowded places, they tend to have pick pocketers and when you do go on public transport keep an eye on everything that you have. But if something like this happens, don't let it taint your entire experience of travelling. Of course being insulted is something small compared to being mugged or killed. And I pray that something like that doesn't ever happen to myself or yourself. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you shouldn't let that stop you from travelling to new places. After all they say "What doesn't kill you, only makes your stronger".
4. Keep to your traditions
The fun thing about travelling is that you get to have little traditions that you keep to. Whether it's finding a little cute bookshop which has journals made from man made paper, or finding a really good place to eat ; whatever makes you happy when you travel, stick to it...no matter what. After my little incident, I had to eat and I started thinking about where to go. I walked straight into Barraca which had a beautiful view of the beach and most importantly a nice large glass of a mojito. The meal was slightly pricey, but considering that I had just gone through that..I think it was very much worth it.
So Barcelona was lovely. I can't wait for a round two because I have to go and see the buildings and spend a lot more time there. But till then, there are more places to go to ...like Oslo :)
Till next time