I’m sure you’ve been asked before what job you would do if you could do any job in the world? My answer has changed throughout the years. As a child it was to be a Marine Biologist and as a teen it was to work for National Geographic. Since the age of twenty, though, it has remained the same, I would love to be a dog walker/pet sitter.
As you can see from the photos above (mostly taken from my travels, except for the Yorkshire Terrier – top, middle – who was my stinky Otis dog for 12 years), I love animals. Even the scraggly, worm infested homeless ones.
For one reason or another, though, I’ve not pursued this dream…until NOW!
I am meeting with a couple owners and their dogs this week (a Pug boy and two Maltese girls). I need to take a few courses before I am fully certified to do this as a profession, but I can’t wait to get started.
The last four days of our holiday were spent in Lloret de Mar. Well, not directly in the city. Thankfully we had booked our stay at Hotel Santa Marta, which was a five minute taxi ride from the crazy, tacky, tourist filled centre. We wanted a place where we could relax on the beach or beside a pool and this hotel and spa offered both of these exclusively for its guests.
We did venture into Lloret a few times in the evening for some drinks and a quick meal. I was even able to get some nice photos which did not include a flashing neon sign or a puddle of puke.
The first four photos are taken in Lloret and the remainder are from our hotel and its surrounding grounds.
If you ever find yourself in Barcelona, remember to wear your walking shoes.
The morning of La Diada, Martin and I made our way up to Parc Guell. We had planned on doing some shopping, but as it was a holiday all of the shops were closed so we shuffled around our plans. Unfortunately, all of the other tourists decided to do this as well and here’s where I admit something that I am equal parts ashamed and proud of: I don’t queue if I don’t have to…especially when I’m on holiday.
I think this is due to the PTSD I suffered when I was stranded in Cuba by myself during the “ash cloud” drama of 2010. I had to queue for HOURS on my feet outside of and then inside a hot, crowded airport after my flight was cancelled the night before. By the time I reached the check-in counter, all of the liquid in my body had pooled in my ankles and feet. I then had to endure a nine hour flight back to London. A flight which did not contain any food because the food had gone bad over night while the plane sat grounded. A fact which was supposed to be conveyed to us at check-in so we could buy some food in the airport, but was sadly lost in translation. They did have wine though.
I didn’t think too much about the situation until two weeks later during a weekend trip to Paris. As soon as I saw the queues to go up the Eiffel Tower, I stopped in my tracks, looked at Martin and said, “NO! I am not queuing!”. The same thing happened when we went to the Louvre. I just couldn’t do it. And so we didn’t. And we had an awesome time.
Obviously, in life, queues are inevitable. I haven’t been able to avoid them completely, but if they are optional, I tend to opt out. I am that person that waits until the last moment to board a plane, because what’s the rush? I have an assigned seat. Why stand in line for 30 minutes if you can sit and relax and
make fun of look at the people queuing?
That being said, we did not queue to pay for tickets to enter certain parts of Parc Guell. It was hot, the queues were long, and from what I could see, the free areas had some great things to see as well.
If you ever find yourself in Barcelona, this is definitely an attraction you shouldn’t miss. Whether or not you decide to queue is up to you.
Our second full day in Barcelona coincided with La Diada, also known as the National Day of Catalonia, a day-long festival which commemorates the defeat of Catalonia during the War of the Spanish Succession. This year’s celebrations were special in that it was the 300th anniversary and included an independence demonstration which involved around 2 million people.
To be completely honest, Martin and I weren’t aware that the 11th of September was La Diada, let alone that there was a massive demonstration taking place as well. We knew something was going on because the night before we witnessed lots of people running around with flags…and that just didn’t seem normal.
I’m not going to get into too much detail, but the demonstration was to protest the Spanish Constitutional Court’s ruling in March earlier this year which denies the Catalonian people the right to hold a self-determination referendum. The protestors formed a massive V, representing “vote”, in the Catalan colours.
Even though we were initially clueless to the cause, it was fascinating to witness all these people in red and yellow come together in such a peaceful, joyous and meaningful way. We asked our B&B owner if he expected any trouble for the day and he responded, “no, the Catalan people are not like that”. And from what we saw, it was peaceful and perfectly organised. There was a carnival feel in the atmosphere and the demonstrators ranged from babies to the elderly.
Being a self-absorbed tourist, I did worry that the demonstrations and noise would go well into the night (disrupting my beauty sleep), but just as our B&B owner predicted, the streets cleared in the late afternoon and life resumed as usual. I was amazed at how clean the streets were, mere hours after the crowds dispersed.
We watched a lot of the action from the balcony of our B&B. We felt very conspicuous walking the streets without a yellow or red t-shirt on.
I do hope that their efforts made a difference and I’m glad we were there to witness, first hand, a little piece of history.