In the world of traveling, I’d say I’m a bit more experienced than the average person, especially the average American. But on the scale of humans, I’m relatively young and unexperienced, so I’m sure it comes as no shock that I don’t have all of the answers… for anything. And despite somewhat careful planning, my recent travels haven’t gone exactly as expected, and I can’t help but thank the universe for throwing me into these life lessons head first. And with a glass of wine, to boot.
Case in Point
Kris and I just fled to Barcelona for a few days, while our bathroom was under construction, rendering us luxuriously homeless. More on my favorite Barcelona spots later (because WOW what an incredibly romantic city). But I had a very successful first few days, eating, drinking and seeing the sights around this ancient metropolis. But on our last full day in the city, I hit, what I call, a funk. You know that feeling when you’re on vacation, and oh-so happy to be there, but you’re tired, possibly hangry, and want to curl up in a little ball and cuddle a nice blanket, instead of seeing some incredible piece of history that only exists in your chosen vacation spot? Yeah. I had that feeling. I always feel consumed with guilt when this happens. I try to power through with some coffee, but it rarely works. Sometimes you just need a break. For me, this happened on the particular afternoon I had set aside to see the Park Güell. The park was one of my “must dos” while in Barcelona, but even the hipster pour-over coffee from Satan’s Coffee Corner didn’t give me enough motivation to make it there. I was tired and I wanted a nap. (Do I sound five yet?) So you know what I did? I spent my afternoon with a cup of tea, a small nap, and a few pages of music for my next gig. No Gaudi in sight.
But I still had that pesky “traveler’s guilt.”
So to make up for it, Kris and I headed out for the evening a bit earlier, to explore a new part of our Airbnb neighborhood. This is where it gets fun. We took a left turn into a small alleyway, because we saw a bunch of people, and I’m an extrovert, so I wanted to say hello. Lo and behold, there weren’t just people, there was WINE! Better yet, it was a wine festival! And I kid you not, it started exactly as we rounded the corner. I jumped into the evolving line, not knowing what I was getting into, and five euros later I had a shiny wine glass that guaranteed me a taste at every vineyard participating in the festival. Y’all. This festival went on for BLOCKS. There were food vendors, locals, tourists, and most importantly, local wineries with proud wine makers (is there a word for wine maker? Please inform me if so) and wine, wine and more wine. Some wines were excellent and some tables were unfortunately next to the street drain, where a few glasses were sadly disposed of, including one I tasted that resembled a fizzy, fermented bottle of “two buck chuck.”
hola mi amor
It’s safe to say we stayed in this wine wonderland for a few too many tastes… But this street festival was the most authentic taste of Barcelona I encountered during our five-day stay, and I never would have stumbled upon it without my lazy afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a profound respect for the people who are able to soldier on, through lengthy lists of attractions, on all of their travels, and normally I’m one of them. But in order to feel like a local, you have to live like a local. And locals take breaks.
The Park Güell still looks incredible, and I hope to return to Barcelona and see it soon. But I ended my stay in Barcelona, sitting on a curb with my love, feeling a bit overconfident in my Spanish, and happily buzzed from local wine.
Gaudi is cool.
but I’ll take that happy accident of an evening, any day.
And it’s this mentality, and lesson in listening to the “funks,” that I’m trying to take with me as I move to Hamburg for the next two months. Tips are welcome, as I have a tendency of becoming a stressed-out grump on the train ride home, after long days of learning choreography. But who knows. Maybe the next stop on the train is an unexpected wine festival. I’m willing to take the chance…