Yes, I have taken quite a long blogging sabbatical, but it is time to get back in the groove now. Things may be a little rusty with language and creativity and I may still be under a heavy holiday stupor after spending almost two months vacationing in two different continents, but hey, one’s got to re-start somewhere, right?
Well, a Spanish sojourn is inspiration enough for that!
|Barcelona Beaches During Winter Months|
Spain is a beautiful country and my trip to Barcelona was a fabulous one. Not just for its scenic and architectural beauty but also for its people and culture.
In many ways, mostly good, Barcelona reminds me of Mumbai. Not that I know much of Mumbai other than a few occasional and mostly forgettable visits, but the comparison is validated by my husband thinking so as well.
I have learnt 5 extremely important life lessons from the people of Barcelona and just for those, the trip was an extremely essential one for me personally.
· Take Some ‘Me’ Time
|Discotheques in Barcelona|
In Barcelona people make time for themselves. Yes, the economy is down, the future doesn’t look all that great and financial times are certainly tough. But that doesn’t mean that people and their morale are down in the dumps as well.
It seems the whole city is out to dance, rejoice and party every weekend. In fact, the city council is so conscious of this fact that even the public transport runs all through Saturday night.
Irrespective of life circumstances, work pressures and struggle, Spaniards always find some time for themselves, to do the things that they enjoy doing; be it going out to a local bar or discotheque or just having tapas and paella at a local diner with friends and family.
That’s something to learn from, no?
· Always Be At Your Best
|Spaniards Love To Go Bold|
You will never see a shabby Spaniard; not on the trains, not in the buses and definitely not down the street, shopping for groceries. Always well dressed, not afraid of bold colors, sassy make up and appropriate shoes, Spaniards really know how to portray their best, always!
It doesn’t matter if it is winter or summer, freezing cold or hace calor, a beach outing or a mall haul, a casual drink at a bar or a night out dancing; Spaniards of both genders really know how to turn the heat on (with clothing I mean, of course).
Yet, one can see that being well dressed and groomed it more of a ‘Europe’ thing than a ‘Spain’ thing, but the combination of high fashion with a contrasting humility, openness and friendliness (as opposed to haughtiness, aloofness and un-approachability) is what makes Spaniards truly different. (Oh, and this opinion is a completely neutral one, I promise, uncolored by my undying love and affection for a certain Rafael… of course, only I see the connection anyways… :D)
· Be Daring And Bold
|Play Dress Up Anytime!|
Another thing noticeable about the Spanish way of life is that they are not afraid to be daring or bold or both! I have already mentioned the parties, but what I didn’t mention then was that they really do go bold.
They play dress up for everything. During my short stay there, I have seen couples dressed as ballerinas, bats, cats as well as in identical twin costumes. I have seen gay couples dressed as Clarlie Chaplins and drag queens too. And all this, right on the subway!
Even out on the streets in the evening, you suddenly see a group of curiously dressed young girls and guys, getting together to sing and dance. I even saw a few middle aged bees strolling down Las Ramblas with their children in their prams!
Spaniards have a curious way of life that is not molded by any kind of inhibitive boundaries. They seem to be doing what they want, when they want it. Doesn’t that sound exciting already?
· Follow Your Heart
|Couples In Love Come In All Shapes, Sizes & Genders|
The best thing about Spaniards is that they don’t seem to be judgmental about personal choices and lifestyles. It doesn’t matter to anyone if you are indulging in some inter-racial romance or if you are in a gay relationship.
I don’t know when India will reach this level of tolerance and non-interference but I am superlatively impressed with theirs. No wonder, youngsters are encouraged to follow their hearts, be it in relationships or in ambitions and careers!
· Go Local
|I'm Part Of The Desigual Fan Club!|
This is something that needs to be learnt the most. Spain has an open economy, if not in every possible sense, at least in the sense of the European Union. Indeed, in Barcelona you find every possible product, be it Apple and Samsung or BMWs and Jaguars, but Spaniards do love going local.
Despite having multiple foreign brands even in clothing and accessories, you are amazed to see local brands such as Zara, Desigual & Mango getting a significant subset of attention. It is so fabulous to see and even as a tourist or foreigner, you are enticed to go in the outlets and check things out. And is it possible that you come out without a bag or two?
This is of special import to India with several debates still being drawing room discussions about allowing Walmart and other such outlets in. We can learn from the Spanish and say why not? After all, we choose where we go and buy right?
|Flamenco: Unbelievable Energy & Complexity|
So, yes, the trip was great and I really truly loved it. Thanks to the weather Gods, we didn’t encounter any rain! It is a pity that while I did get to see where Dali lived and flourished, I didn’t get to see Rafa’s hometown.
It is also a pity that while Spain is known for Barca Football Club, Real Madrid Football Club and Salsa dances, it is only when you go there that you realize that there’s more to it, including Gaudi, paella & flamenco dances.