in 2017, i was itching to travel after some hard times. i needed to get away. in my first trip out-of-country as an adult with the necessary perspective to really appreciate travel, i asked an internet buddy if i could pass through. he invited me to stay and hang out with him. i was elated and excited. i had other plans that didn’t work out. today, i’m glad things worked out exactly like they did. it was a great trip.
i packed my bike and a backpack with a few clothes. i like to travel light.
all photos are in chronological order that they were taken in
2021 note: in spirit of my old albums of travel photos, i will keep all my smarmy captions, even though they make me really cringe today
some of the following photos are taken in the gracia neighborhood, a small set of city blocks that hold a festival each year in their alleyways and streets. all the residents and some volunteers from outside the neighborhoood come and create decorations based on a theme or motif, with some friendly rivalry definitely being part of the equation. i got to document some of the setup.
on this day, we walked over to a museum. museums are free admission on saturdays, so it was perfect timing to get a break from the bikes.
in this small section are pictures of what i now consider one of my favorite museums i have ever been to: the maritime museum of barcelona (museu marítim de barcelona)
the following photos are of our visit to the gracia neighborhood festival. this particular year was special because it was the 200th anniversary of the festival. it was bigger than usual, in both the displays and the crowds.
during this day, while out adventuring on our bikes we were less than a block away from the terrorist attack that occured in barcelona, on la rambla (more information). we had no idea what happened at the time but reading the body language of the police was enough for me. they were all brandishing their submachine guns (that they casually carried around, which was jarring for me as an american) and actively seeking a threat. my friend–a younger person with no children–didn’t help my mental state as he wanted to rubberneck. myself–a father of a six-year-old at the time–just wanted to run the hell away. we ended up holing up in a church for about four hours.
the attack itself was abruptly over because while we were very close, we only just heard the screams and were not included in the attack itself. the scariest part to me was during the aftermath of the attack, where it was found by police that there were more plans to set off pipe bombs in tiny, narrow alleyways of the gracia festival. thankfully, the terrorists had barely enough braincells amongst them to not detonate the bombs they were working on, so they blew themselves and the house they were in while preparing. in one of those rare strokes of luck, i was glad to be older and achy for once because that’s exactly the reason why i wasn’t going to the gracia festival at night, when it was most active. if a bomb were to have been detonated in those tight corridors stuffed completely full of people and with absolutely zero personal space, i would have probably died–if not by the bombs then by the resulting stampede of people escaping.
time spent in and around vallirana, the place where barcelona locals go to escape barcelona tourists