It is no secret that I am yet to travel by myself, so you could only imagine the shock that I felt in Barcelona when Tiffany got food poisoning. I had no other choice but to go out and face the streets on my own. If I never got that extra push from Tiff I probably would have settled for chilling up on the rooftop bar upstairs in our hotel, but she insisted that I challenge myself. For my first ever solo adventure I chose to go and see the Barcelona Cathedral, it was close by and the journey seemed pretty simple.
All I had to do was get the train from outside my hotel and take it a few stops into Catalunya station. How hard could this task really be? I had been using the train system for the last couple days, so I was pretty sure I would be OK on my own. I said goodbye to my cousin and set off on my first ever solo adventure abroad. As I walked through the train station, all I could think about was my route to the Cathedral. I repeatedly kept going over it in my head just to make sure it stuck.
I emerged onto the platform with confidence and was welcomed with the usual smiles and stares. I was nervous but I kept telling myself that I could do this. If I gave off scared energy then I am pretty sure others would easily pick it up, so I just had to keep my cool. As I boarded the train with other eager passengers , I noticed a random guy smile at me. It caught me off guard but I politely smiled back and quickly put my head down. As I waited for my stop I could feel his eyes. Now you know I was thinking what in the world have I got myself into now?
I just remember thinking about all of the things I had read up online about not drawing attention to yourself when you are alone abroad. It was certainly going to be a hard task for me one because as a dark skinned woman on a train in Barcelona there is no way I would get overlooked. For the rest of that train journey I kept my eyes to myself.
I came off the train at the right stop, thank God but I could not work out which was the best exit to take to the Cathedral. Frazzled with a confused look on my face I heard a voice from behind me say “are you lost”? to which I eagerly replied, “kinda, I am trying to work out which exit to the cathedral”. To my surprise It just so happened to be the guy who I exchanged a random smile with me lol.
Immediately he told me that he could tell that I was not from Barcelona, went he stopped me on the platform. I did not know if this was a compliment or was he targeting me to be his next kidnap victim. I gave him an awkward smile and quickly changed the subject back to the directions.
I soon came to realise this guy was cool so together we walked and talked as we made our way out of Catalunya station. Turns out he is not a local either, he was born in Germany and currently lives in Barcelona for his studies. I told him that I am a blogger from London with only a few hours left in the city.
I made sure to let him know that I was not in Barcelona alone. To which he offered to to take me out for a drink later on but I reminded him that I was on borrowed time so instead he walked me all the way to the cathedral
Michael had bright blue eyes that glistened in the sun with off blonde hair to match. Cute, but not my cup of tea, he said he would love to check out my blog, so we exchanged socials-and then said our goodbyes. Once he accepted me on Instagram it did not take me long to figure out that he liked hot chocolate and no I am not talking about the drink, lol
Outside of Barcelona Cathedral was busy and of course, the queue was long. I decided that I was not going to get fried in the sun waiting to gain entry. I sat under a tree in the shade read up about the history online. The back story behind the cathedral is rather intriguing. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia was established in the 15th century.
Apparently, it is dedicated to Eulia a young Virgin who refused to dismiss Jesus as the son of God. Baby-girl got done dirty and it has been said that her body lies entombed in the Cathedrals crypt. Kinda creepy right? but there you have it. I must say the Cathedral freaked me out a little from the outside, so I am kind of glad that I did not go inside.
As I sat back on the wall, a local guitarist played a soothing tune in my ears. I had a moment to sit back and really take in my surroundings. I looked at the faces of the people walking by in the square. I caught glimpses of conversations as they passed me by.
I no longer felt nervous but at ease. I do not know this feeling of comfortably suddenly came from but you would have never believed it was my first time going out on my own. This bubble soon burst when I asked a stranger to take some pictures of me. All of which came out terrible, as I reviewed my lop sided pictures it reminded me why I love having a travel buddy.
God was definitely looking out for me because J met a second person. A young lady named Jian from South Korea who just so happened to be doing some solo travelling herself . Jian morphed into my creative director and gave me a quick photoshoot of a lifetime outside the cathedral, lol. I loved her enthusiasm she was so friendly and bubbly, I can vividly remember the warmth of her smile even today.
Jian added me on whats app and told me anytime I was ready to come to South Korea give her a shout.WOW, can you believe a whole me was out in Barcelona making international connections? It did not stop there though, I even met a guy Mr Mews who is an Author of self help books from South London. It gets even more random because he just so happened to live up the road from me. You can check out his gratitude journal by clicking here.
I moved on from the Cathedral and found myself going deeper into Gothic Quarter. The placed is full of rich history and amazing architecture that dates back over 2000 years. It was great to see some of those medieval buildings still standing in 2018.
I stumbled across a dope art gallery ‘Villa del Arte Galleries’ check out the pics below. If you didn’t know I am a lover of art, so fir me to come across this gallery really made my day, I was truly in my element.
I somehow even managed to find myself in another Gelato shop and you already know that I had to have a taste. It was definitely much better than the place I visited with Tiff earlier in my trip but it could never beat what I tasted in Rome. If you are heading to Barcelona soon, do check it Gelarto Rosa.
With every new street that I turned down, I found myself discovering something different and learning something new. Gothic Quarter just felt like one big mystery, I was drawn in by the authenticity of every building. I also popped into the Historical Archive of the City of Barcelona, the centenary archivist and cultural institution dating back to the 13th century.
I had spent nearly three hours exploring the Gothic Quarters by myself. I engaged in random conversations, I browsed the shelves of unusual shops, I exchanged smiles with strangers but most importantly I was doing it on my own. The fear that I felt about going out by myself had become a thing of the past.
This one time made me feel like I had done this a thousand times before. For a short moment, I convinced myself I was alone in Barcelona on this solo adventure. It was not until Tiffany called to check up on me that I remembered that I was not alone. It felt surreal having this little piece of independence in another country. I knew that I certainly wanted to experience this again. For the entire day I kept roaming through the streets and turned down as many alleys as my heart desired.
It really baffled me how reluctant I was to go out by myself in Barcelona without Tiffany. I eventually accepted the challenge, but I had to dig a little deeper to understand why I felt that way. To my surprise, the answer was to be found in an idd place.
My upbringing was very much responsible and had a major role to play. I realised that ever since I was a little kid I have always been very independent, but someone was always close by watching out for me from afar. When I first learned how to ride a bike my dad would hold firmly onto the saddle as I worked the peddles.
One day my dad finally let go but he trailed so close behind me that I was convinced he was still holding on. But he was not, he just stood close enough just in case I needed him. This has been the case for most of my life, my independence comes with a cushion of comfort.
I know that if I hit a rock in a hard place, someone will surely be there for. God has sent me help in the form of family, trusted friends and sometimes even strangers. But this solo adventure was dependent on me and me alone. I had to rely on myself to get around and find the way because there was no one standing close by ‘just in case.
It might sound Ludacris but in those few hours I spent alone exploring the streets of Barcelona, I tapped into a new level of independence that I did not know I had. This caught me off guard but that is one thing I do love about life it is far from predictable.
I am so proud of myself and I loved that I got to experience that in such a fruitful city. Barcelona 2018 was absolutely amazing with so many unexpected twists and turns to make the trip even more memorable. I was pushed right out of my comfort zone but like a true champ, I arose to the occasion and did the damn thing. I do hope to visit Barcelona again in the near future and get a chance to experience the nightlife and the rest of what this great city has to offer.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this mini spin-off of Free flow in Barcelona.
Lots of Love