An inspiration that is Barcelona.
I woke up the day after getting back from a week in Barcelona and with the trip fresh on my mind, I felt rejuvenated, inspired, motivated and not jet-lagged (yay!). I was there with Marcela (www.mgpulido.co) and Katy (www.katyweaver.com) for Marcela’s 30th birthday and I couldn’t of been with better people to be there with. Traveling and exploring with people you don’t quite yet know on a deep level helps you learn a bit about yourself. Especially with them being photographers, it was like a therapy/discovery session. I’ve come to realize a few things about myself and what I need to do to bring my photography business to the next level.
Being that it was my first time in Barcelona, let alone in Europe, I knew it was going to be an eye-opening experience. I mean, I didn’t have a chance to do any research and was just gonna wing it as I was certain the birthday girl had a list of things to see and do while we were there; in addition, Katy had already roped me into bird watching with her on our last day there. So I didn’t have any expectations other than the thrill of being in a new country.
I woke up on our first full day jet-lagged AF (as fudge - you know, like cold fudge - slowly catching up to the rest). But luckily our first scheduled activity was at 13:30 at the Sagrada Familia. After an espresso or two, we got a wonderful tour of the never-ending constructing church. It’s a behemoth of an awesome structure, let alone it being a church. I’m not religious, but basic understanding of The Bible helps understand the concepts and story behind why Gaudi and the architects after him did what they did. It was pretty intricate and controversially done; it’s one of those “you had to be there to get it.”
I do wished we had time to go back through the church after the hour long tour and view it at a more leisure pace. But I know I’ll be back in 2026, in hopes of viewing a completed church. Any questions about my images or experience? Let me know in the comment section below.
Then it happened.
After leaving Sagrada Familia, we were full on information and visual stimulation but starving for food. If I hadn’t told you by now, I’ll tell you now, the food and the culture of meals out there is delectable and fun. Eat small amounts, but more frequently throughout the day. That in combination of walking an average of 5 1/2 miles a day caused me to lose some weight *fist pump. We got a bite to eat before heading to the metro to catch our next train to somewhere. A train arrived and it’s doors to it’s belly opened up. My first thought was “Wow, it’s packed. Time to be aware and careful of your belongings.” The three of us step in and find our little pockets of space to fill. The train jolts forward and goes on another stop or two. We were only going 3 stops, I believe. The second to last stop, the train doors open and for some strange reason, I didn’t have a good feeling and went to feel for my phone in my front pocket. …GONE!!! I quickly looked up and a gentleman next to me pointed outwards. Like he already knew what had happened and motioned that the perpetrator was on their way out the metro station. I jumped out and yelled into the sea of back of people’s head “WHO HAS MY PHONE?!?!” A blurred vision of faces turned to look towards me and I realized no one was gonna to answer my desperate cry for help. “Oh fick! The train doors are closing and my two friends are still inside!” Quickly, I placed my hands into the closing doors and pried them open. I jumped in to join my two friends feeling defeated.
There are so many things I could have done in hindsight to prevent my essential equipment for being pick pocketed. The only thing I was devastated about was the loss of images and footage of my 10-month old dog. But this unfortunate event was also a blessing in disguise. For the remainder of the trip, I was forced to be mentally AND visually present. It was beautiful! After two days of beating myself over it, I felt a sense of detachment and freedom. After this trip, I made it a goal to turn off social media notifications and just be off my phone more. On the 12-hour plane ride home, I even had the opportunity to read a book: The 4 Disciplines of Execution. It was fitting as this book helped me realize my own weaknesses in my business and to stop trying to multitask so often. Anyways, I’m going off tangent now and that’s the lesson about me and my cellphone. I do recommend the book and a Kindle for traveling (thank you Katy for letting me borrow it on the plane. It’s on my Christmas wish list now).
We spent a few hours looking for a Catalan (not Spanish) police station to fill out a report, in the case I needed it in order to file with my phone insurance. Spent a few hours wondering the streets and bouncing around like ping pong balls. Because we were on a mission, it was tough to absorb the sights, sounds and smell of the early 19th century built streets as we filtered them out, in search for that police station.
By 19:00, we came up empty and went to fill our empty stomachs with something delicious because we were about to see a flamenco show that evening.
By 21:30, we were seating in the front row to enjoy an amazing performance at Palau Dalmases. A stunning open-court building built in the 17th century, it was the perfect setting for the acoustics of live music. Watching the artists playfully interact with each other while pouring their hearts and souls into their part was pretty inspiring to watch - each depending on each other, but the trust and support was undoubtably there.
When in a foreign country, take the long way home, no matter how long of a day it was.
The day after a long day, which included being pick pocketed, we set out again to look for this mysterious police station but with points of interests along the way. Had a great brunch, had more espresso, walked down the main shopping street in Barcelona, bought myself a jacket, stopped by the night market, huddled close as we walked through “the most dangerous spot of thieves” and finally found that ever so elusive police station and fill out that report.
Here are a few photos I managed to snap.
We ended the night at a bar then and a club with Marcela’s hostel buddies, got really drunk and eventually made it home by 4:30. Who said I was old?!?!
One can safely assume that no one woke up until noon and basically did nothing for the entire day. I had a bit of cabin fever and went for a walk out on the boardwalk to take in the quaint city we were staying in.
It’s Monday and Marcela was scheduled to fly out of Barcelona. While we’ve only spent 3 full days with her, it felt like we had spent a week together due to the insane amount of activities and events that happened. Katy and I went off to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art where we found Jaume Plensa’s work. It was a nice change in pace and scene, while exercising our minds. As we were just about to finish up at the museum, we find out Marcela’s flight got postponed to the next day - so we meet up with her at our favorite restaurant (Teresa Carle) and go back to hang out in front of the museum.
The museum’s front entrance was located facing towards a square where all walks of life (many of whom are skateboarders) crossed over in passing.
The next day, Katy and I had a 5:30 wake up call. We were gonna go bird watching!!! But really, it’s Katy thing and I came along for a change in scenery. I’ve done birding once and was uninterested, but this time was different. Katy had booked a birding guide and Daniel (owner and operator) was an excellent and knowledgable person to be with in such trying times (for me). I learned to appreciate birds and their habitats a little more, while also learning to appreciate the recreational activity of bird watching. It’s a wonder what binoculars, a powerful scope and two passionate bird watchers will do to ya.
I didn’t have a telephoto lense with me to capture the essence of birding, but below are some of the sights from the day. Mostly of a few centuries old buildings we came across on top a hillside.
And that’s how my week in Barcelona ended.
I wouldn’t change any of the events that happened. Even with my phone being stolen. I got to really engage with my travel mates. I got to fully engage with my surroundings and my thoughts. It’s also why I brought my camera with only a vintage manual focus lense. To slow down, be present, and just exist in your current physical being. Your mind will be a lot more free and the world’s weight will be lifted off your shoulders.
In summary, Barcelona is beautiful. Built and rebuilt upon itself, it has given growth to a variety of civilizations. It’s streets and walls are lined with history, architecture and culture. Graffiti is abundant and political messages are obvious. The pockets of light bouncing off buildings and through the alleyways are awe-inspiring, the architecture itself is romantic, and the way people interact with one another (besides that one asshole in the metro station) is a beautiful sight to witness.
Surrounded by my peers, this Barcelona trip not only fueled my creative juices, it also breathed new life into the way I approach my business and craft. I must be more mindful and present. Shoot with intention. Service and communicate with genuine intention. Focus on the craft and the passion will not leave as easily. Continue to challenge myself and be connected to nature.
Thank you Marcela for inviting me on this eye opening birthday trip and thank you Barcelona for teaching me a few good lessons.