We have some unfinished business, Barcelona and I.
We met seven years ago, not under the best of circumstances. Herb and I had been traveling on a one-week Mediterranean cruise that disembarked in the Catalonian capital. On the last day of the voyage, while walking through the lovely cobblestone streets of Aix en Provence, France, I caught my foot in an ancient trough-like gutter and went flying to the ground. An ambulance ride and hospital visit later, I was back on the ship and headed to Barcelona, where we had planned to spend the next three days.
Five stitches in my forehead, swollen face, black eye, a cut above my lip. I greeted this city wearing sunglasses in the rain and a very heavy heart.
But Barcelona turned out to be incredibly kind. From the staff at our hotel to the servers in cafés and restaurants to strangers who politely asked what had happened, no one seemed to mind that this visitor was a frightful sight. I was humbled by the city’s compassion as we toured the Museo Picasso, Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia and Casa Milà – all places where we had preordered tickets weeks before the trip. I carried on, reminding myself of a travel mantra that has always served me well: I may never pass this way again.
This time, however, there is an “again.” Herb and I will be traveling back to Barcelona this week to begin a bucket list dream-of-a-cruise to the Middle East, a voyage that just happens to fall shortly after our 40th anniversary. Although I’m not much of a returner when it comes to travel – inspired more by roads not yet taken and unfamiliar cities to explore – this is one place where I’m thrilled to return. To have a second chance. To make things right.
We will spend two nights in Barcelona – hopefully dodging our way around the recent rioters – before beginning the three-week journey across the Mediterranean, Red and Arabian Seas to Dubai. We will visit Petra and Luxor and other places that have been dancing in my imagination for a long time. And on the way home, Herb and I will be flying to Cairo to pay homage to my ultimate bucket list destination: The Great Pyramid of Giza.
Throughout our travels, I will be posting photos on The Modern Postcard’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. And as always, I will be sharing stories and photos on the blog when we return.
So here’s to dreamed-of destinations and milestone anniversaries…and second chances in Barcelona!