Perhaps I went Spain expecting too much. Thats the only way I can justify an unfulfiling trip- the first half of it that is. The hype of Barcelona had me intrigued. I’ve been to Madrid and that experience was enough to keep me away from Spain for a long time. However I was sure Barcelona would be different… After all they say the more south you go, the friendlier people are. To cut to the chase, I arrived in Barcelona, standing at Catalunya Metro station, I was over whelmed by the city and its vast size… yes i was expecting a somewhat small seaside town, where everyone smiles at you and says ‘Bon dia’. I walked into a city with almost as many tourists as London and the the truth is i felt alone in a city that I would have enjoyed much better if I had friends there or travelled there with friends. Thats the part of solo travel that really sucks- loneliness amongst a crowd of hundreds of people.
Ok, so it wasn’t all doom in Barcelona. I stayed in really pretty and tranquil part of Catalunya called Parets del Vallès, about 25 minutes from the city centre. On my first day visiting the city (before the doom of loneliness set in) I was approached by a man on the street who asked my a question in Spanish. Thinking he’s asking for directions, I apologetically responded that I don’t speak Spanish. My english accent seeped through, ‘Ah, you’re English!’ he exclaims, then invites me for a coffee. Why not?! It’s quite ironic that we end up in Starbucks (my haven when travelling in Europe- free wifi and skinny muffin make a great combo!) and I discover he’s Italian, and I happened to be going to Italy after my Spain trip. So, there, I had a friend in Milan now just by accepting an invitation for a coffee!
After three days in Barcelona, I decided to visit Valencia. My first CS guest was from Valencia and she told me so many wonderful things about her city that I just had to go, beside, I was done with Barcelona. I can say Valencia saved my Spanish trip! I had a blast. From salsa dancing by the harbour to a picnic dinner in the park amongst locals… This was finally my chance to see brighter side of the Spanish people.