Bylanes of Barcelona

It must be there, I didn’t see it the first time. Maybe I put it in the other pocket?

After rifling through my bag and turning it inside out five times, it was becoming more and more difficult to block the thought that my bag had been picked. Cash, wallet, cards, keys…all gone.
Standing at the tube station in Barcelona, watching the metal arms of the exit turn as people kept passing through in a blur, a single thought echoed through my head –This can’t be happening to me!

I was in a foreign country for the weekend. Alone. Didn’t know anyone there. Had limited balance on my phone card – which was on roaming. Also, this vacation was taken while on another trip to Luxembourg for work. Home was a continent away.
The enormity of how alone I was broke in on me when I considered this. How did I get here?

I need to think. Breathe. One thing at a time. First things first.
Get back to a known place.

In Barcelona, this would be my room. Booked a trip back with the three of the five or six euros I had in my pocket. Walking back to the hostel from the station, I began to calm down and wondered how to deal with the situation. Ten steps from the hostel, I remember seeing its dome and wondering what to do next.

Place to stay? – Check.
Passport? – Check.
Flight booked? –Check.

All the warnings about the dangers of solo travel that I had heard in the last two weeks, came back in a rush. Given all this, do I want to take another solo trip, ever?

Yes.

An answer that was as true as it was unbidden.

It made me realize that I was meant to travel. I discovered that I travel just because it was right for me. Regardless of the worries, the fears, the possibility of such problems, I will travel… and if anything went wrong, I would handle it.

I roamed around those two days without a care in the world. Pondered over Picasso’s genius, was moved by an aria under the arches of Liceu, strolled through the colourful La Rambla, walked on the beach as people whooshed past me on roller blades…
saw someone enjoying a quite coffee on the steps of La Catedral, turning up her face to soak in the sun…watched a grandfather trying to have his three year old granddaughter sit still for a photograph at Placa Reial…followed the strains of music through the cobbled grey alleyways of Barri Gotic and was held spellbound by the performance of some amazing street musicians.

Best trip I had so far.

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For the love of the road

I like empty roads.

Driving through a stretch with the windows down, wind in my hair, the road stretching out without an end, with clouds gathering at a distance. A lone signpost shows the way…a silent milestone watches as I draw closer and pass on…

The car, the wind and I move on. The road further down and the horizon in the distance, keep beckoning.

Of late I have been thinking of just leaving everything behind me. Pack up everything and just leave- with a backpack and the money in my pocket (can’t ignore the utilities), with a notepad, camera, tickets and the landscape for company.

All for the love and charm of the road.

Stop only to walk where the yellow fields thin out into shallow squares of earth, grass and piles of hay, slow down only to round another bend, move off the road only to explore lesser known tracks…

The journey and time become synonymous, till the world begins to look like a loom, with a scene or an aspect replacing the threads. Stand by to just pick out and observe a particular thread or note how they come together – interwoven by the common weft running through them, unseen at first but definitely there. Or move at will and become a part of the weaver’s rhythm, the movement of the loom and the cloth of life.

I read somewhere,

Dreams are the whispers of your soul

I’d like to open the gates of mine.

Soulspeak

Solitude for me, is the time when my soul speaks.

Thank you Hugh’s Views & News for this week’s photo challenge 🙂

Solitude is a kind of freedom”
~ Umberto Eco

Solitude for me, is the time when my soul speaks.

Where the “demands of time” imposed on our day to day lives, cease to exist and thoughts take wing, ideas suggest themselves, memories suddenly come to life or just one’s awareness of that one moment, deepens.

This photo was taken on a cold misty day, near Dochula Pass in Bhutan. We were walking back from Dochula, when I happened to spot this corner.

It reminded me of a time when my friends and I would sit together without a care, laughing and chatting…just happy to get together and do just that. It has been more than a decade since we grew close and although some of us live in different countries now, each answering the demand of odds and ends in her life, leading a different routine…when we speak, we pick up exactly where we left off. Of course we have grown and changed in so many ways…but the essence of our friendship …of what drew each of us to the other as a person, remains the same. I could see each of our younger selves on a chair, all of us sitting together and laughing and chatting as we did and continue to do.

Then I thought of other groups of people who matter to me and they all had that characteristic oneness in common.

But this place, belonged to us.

A moment of solitude made me feel true companionship. How could it not? That moment, the place, the setting and the weather –  all of it was perfect. Just like us.
Add mugs of tea & coffee… and we are all set.