It’s been 2 years since travel has become increasingly difficult. We need to take Covid tests before and after our flights, wear a mask in every public space: airport, plane, hotel. Every country has its own guidelines on quarantine and vaccine rules which can breed confusion. On top of it all, the threat of becoming sick with Covid is ever present.
Most of us don’t choose to travel during these times. And without a doubt our native lands have sights and experiences to offer. But every now and then I imagine myself stepping back on a plane and finding myself in a foreign country. I feel nostalgia for travel. I miss the vibrancy of Tokyo, the peacefulness of Bali and copious amounts of beer in Germany.
There is one country; however, that I am drawn to return to again and again.
Spain with its ancient stone buildings and long beaches, surrounded by water.
Spain is different everywhere you go.
Barcelona is buzzing with life.
During the day time its crowded with tourists walking to the beach or shopping around, passing by Gaudi buildings. These architectural creations are elaborate and captivating. They seem to belong in a grand Elf city with their bright colours, intricate glass work, columns and arcs.
On the same streets where Gaudi’s work stands in its beauty, you can find ice cream stands that sell gelato and water. A much needed respite on a hot summer day. There are street performers doing stunts or breathing out fire, and crowds that surround them.
The main market, “Mercado de La Boqueria”, is situated along a busy street. You can find cheeses from all over Europe here, salted and sweet nuts, dried apricots, fresh plums, grapes and peaches. Merchants speak loudly, inviting passersby to try their cheeses, breads and meats.
During night time, when heat easies its grip on the city, locals leave their apartments to get together for a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Cafes open their doors, and narrow streets of Barcelona are filled with tables, chairs and people. There is laughter, loud conversation, children running around. All the cacophony of sound makes up a night life in the city.
If you go down to the ocean during the night, you will see rows of night clubs and bars aimed at entertaining tourists. Beautiful women and men dance in open air spaces, enjoying themselves, the breeze from the ocean and their youth.
You can also go to Marbella, see posh crowds that collect there, drinking champagne from frosted glasses and eating oysters fresh of the shell. If you travel across the The Strait of Gibraltar, you will reach the shores of Morocco.
You can walk around the old city, in between tightly grouped white washed buildings. You can enjoy your tea and eat a fair share of pigeon pies and stews and be back in Marbella just in time for an evening cocktail.
But Spain can also be peaceful. You can rent out an apartment for the summer in one of the small towns across the shore. Every morning you can just get a beach towel, buy yourself a breakfast consisting of cheeses and fruits at a local market and catch a bus for a dip in the ocean. Afterwards, you can sit in a restaurant, unbothered and alone, enjoying the view and your drink. Wouldn’t you feel free and happy at that moment? Afterwards, you can explore the quiet streets, write or read a book. You can simply take a nap and get rest after your morning in the sun.
If you get bored, you just catch a train to Barcelona.
Spain is yours to explore. And I hope I get a chance to visit it yet again.
Guest Blogger Karina Nechaeva
Karina is new to the Sentinel Office Family but is no stranger to writing.
As her time in the office grows longer, we hope to hear much more from the wealth of information and experience that Karina has to offer!