All posts filed under: Barcelona

Portraits of: Barcelona

There are many forms of travel. Some may travel for work, some to get away, some to learn more about the world. For some, it may very well be their livelihood or life. Yet travelling by its very definition connotes movement; a journey where we are transient visitors. In those short visits, how much can we really learn about a city? How much of the architecture, history, culture, customs and people can we be exposed to and discover? I was in Barcelona for a little over a month to take a TESOL course which would certify me as a globally accredited English speaker and teacher. Indeed, a¬†month is minute, and I was determined to not waste this time. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this city beyond its more famous aspects: Gaudi’s architecture, Picasso and Dali, sunny beaches, crazy partying, etc. The quieter everyday moments can say more about a city and its occupants as intricate details of their lives. At the same time, it was a personal challenge to choose …

Barcelona: Spanish meal at Masnou

Sunday lunch at Anna’s home in El MasnouAfter allowing me to gawp at the sea view (despite the majestic dancing storm clouds and competitive wind), Anna leads us up towards her place while telling me the history of her town. It strikes me that I would not have been able to do the same for her if she had just arrived in Singapore – the origins and changes of a country younger than my parents. The town is quieter and smells more homely in comparison to the heart of Barcelona. Being a Sunday and also lunch time, the streets are resting, shops shuttered closed, families and friends at the beach. The buildings and roads are a mix of shapes and styles, guided by the influences of the indigenous families that settled nearer to the coast after the capture of pirates who used to terrorise the town. We walk uphill towards where the fishermen of Masnou used to stay, past basketball courts with gangly teenagers playing a game, past a bakery displaying pastries for the San …

Barcelona: the start

I am in Barcelona for at least a month, enrolled in the OxfordTESOL course, armed with an open heart, a willing soul, and a hunger to explore and understand. The past weekend, I have walked like a bumbling traveller and a local, gotten some necessities, cleaned the apartment and unpacking meagre clothes. The sun here warms every bit within and outside me, in the morning with a coffee and quiet(er) heart (the apartment here is strangely colder than outside all the time, cold enough for me to wake with cramping muscles), and sets around 9-10pm, according to the summer schedule. Although the summer this year is uncommonly late, the sun here is far more reliable than the places traveled to in the past two weeks – Italy, Switzerland, France – and I am very thankful for it. Like how it was in Seattle; I wax and wane with the amount of sunshine pouring on me, following where it falls without shadows and soaking it in every chance possible into an¬†irresistible smile playing on my lips. …