A rising murmur in the afternoon street rouses me from siesta. Eyes open to a sun-streaked balcony of daisies and thyme. Ears focus on the plucking of strings and the zip of motos under echoing sirens. I am warm, tired and utterly disoriented. And then I remember: Barcelona is out there.
My head is still groggy from a no-sleep night spent en route from there to here: Istanbul to Barcelona, Turkey to Spain, the edge of Arabian Asia to the South Mediterranean coast. Arriving early (at brunch in our time, breakfast in theirs) we couldn’t resist the pull of the city. We wandered down Carrer de Vilà i Vilà to the clear-blue waters of the Barceloneta marina, and celebrated our arrival with tapas, a jug of white sangria and a healthy dose of sunshine. Then, like children past their bedtime, we zombie-walked back for the first of many Spanish siestas.
Although I’ve been on the road (so to speak) for four months now, moving from one country to another still makes me reel, gives me butterflies, blows my single-country-continent mind. Yesterday my reality was a month in Istanbul, where I’d write and drink Turkish coffee, explore labyrinth-like streets and eat pickles more than one probably should. I knew to say merhaba to greet and pardon to excuse. I expected tooting, crazy traffic and the solemn call to prayer.
Today my reality is a balcony in Barcelona, grappling to recall Spanish lessons taken so long ago, and eating exactly the amount of tapas that one should. It is back in sightseeing mode, with guidebooks and entrance fees and directions. It is three days here, three days in Pamplona and then… the inspiring and daunting plan to walk el Camino de Santiago for 30 days across the Spanish countryside.
As I sit waking slowly to my here and now, I am filled with an overwhelming satisfaction with the shape of my life. I am living my dream. I am learning about life. I am tasting other cultures in their undiluted forms. And, I have the space to soak it in, write it up, share it with you.
I have so much to tell you. Life is full and varied, as will be this blog by the time my year is through. My lists of posts about Istanbul is still half a page long (they’re still coming). Already I can see Spanish stories rising to meet the page. I have freelance jobs filling my wee hours. And in between it all, there are reflections, realisations, moments of wow that I want to share.
9 thoughts on “From Istanbul to Barcelona, from there to here”
I can’t decide whether tapas or siestas are the more brilliant Spanish invention. I can’t wait to hear about your walk through Spain. Sounds so fabulous. Exhausting… but fabulous, nonetheless!
Thanks Melissa. I think the Spanish have a fair bit of genius to answer for… there is also sangria, paella and flamenco! Excited to explore Spain, even though the walking will be exhausting. Thanks for reading!
I miss Barcelona! Sangria! Ane everything in between 😉 The 2 things that surprised me: (1) No chilli sauce around (2) wine are cheaper than water!
You are the second one to tell me about the chilli – I’ve been trying to learn key phrases and think I’ll include ‘puedo tener chile con todo, por favor?’. Happy about the cost of wine though!
Hehe! Dont miss chilli sauce too much! Oh, and please send my regards to the 1euro gazpacho at McDonald’s! On another note, thanks for following my blog, it’s an honour, seriously!
Oh my, I’m so glad Spain is the next country on your trip! I look forward to each and every post. After our brief visit to Istanbul we then spent a week in Spain (Madrid & Granada) where my husband had lived for 5 years as a freelance writer before we met. He still dreams (plans) on moving us there in the next few years. I’m up for the adventure as long as we can get beyond the infant stages of any and all progeny first!
Thanks Karen. After a day in delightful Barcelona I’m looking forward to the rest of Spain even more. I’ll be here for almost 2 months (one month walking el Camino de Santiago and 1 month exploring). Madrid and Granada are on the wish list, as are Valencia, Seville and San Sebastian. From what I’ve experience so far, I imagine living here would be colourful, delicious and full of flagrant language, which sounds like a fun adventure to me. Thanks for reading!
oh my. How lucky am I that I’ve stumbled on your blog today? My two favourite places I want to go to (and Morocco being the third). May I know how you got to BCN from Istanbul?
My second oh my : Camino de Santiago! Can’t wait to read about your story.
Welcome Audrey! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve got another Barcelona story coming very soon, and am writing about my last 4 days walking solo along Camino, so stay tuned!