Four weeks in Barcelona to write, decorate, absorb a new language, and visit with my daughter & her boyfriend. There’s not a single reason to shield my eyes from the Spanish-Splendour surrounding me… then again the day is young.
Adhering to a strict schedule and not wishing to miss the spectacular sunrise, I spring from my cozy bed, slip into running gear and head for the promenade adjacent to the beach, for a 20 minute run. Afterward, I meditate for 30 minutes at waters edge.
I return to the apartment refreshed and Zen-like, sprinting the 68 steps to my daughters 4th floor apartment. The three of us sit down to a nutritious breakfast and discuss our plans for the day. I skip off to the Chiringuto (a beachside restaurant) and order, in quasi-acceptable Spanish, the first of two iced coffees and write for several inspired hours under a red umbrella warmed by the hospitable Spanish sun.
That’s how my day looks in my imagination….In reality, this is my wake-up call in Barcelona.
Jet-Lags extensive grip torments every muscle, including eyelids ~ I turn my back on the glossy 6 am sunrise. Two hours and several deep sighs later, I inch, sloth-like, into cropped leggings, that seem to have shrunk in my suitcase. I stumble down the 68 steps in the direction of the beach walkway, for what I hope will be an invigorating run…. I settle on a restorative walk and scope-out a tranquil spot next to the water for my intended 30 minutes of meditation. (seriously Shauna, 30 minutes?~that’s never going to happen)
A near empty beach soothes me as I sit crossed legged facing the unusually calm sea. Despite the welcoming and compliant sand, I twitch and squirm as my right foot insists on falling asleep. My marginal concentration is challenged by boisterous masculine voices, as five elderly gentlemen, in undersized speedos, have chosen this exact spot, despite miles of empty beech, to suspend their walk and socialize.
Generally speaking, Europeans over a certain age, tend not to waste unnecessary material on beachwear. The particular angle of the sun catches and emphasizes an aspect of the male physique that should never, EVER, be compressed under such a thin layer of spandex.
I take a deep cleansing breath and turn my head in the opposite direction.
Taking my mind off the men to my right I focus on 2 mature ladies in bathing suits, walking along the breaking waves. The women seem to be carrying partially filled sandbags suspended with a thick layer of fabric draped around their necks. The taller of the women is burdened with the larger sacks and they oscillate awkwardly over her navel as she speed-walks along the sand. The only thing I can think of is this is some kind of neck strengthening exercise
While focusing on the heaviest part of the flesh coloured sandbags, a shiver of realization runs through me. Those aren’t sandbags, I’m staring at exceeding low pendulous breasts. As they pass, one of the ladies furrows her brow and gives me an inquisitive look. It would seem, I’m the only person out of place on this beach!
With little appetite, I forgo breakfast and head directly to the beach restaurant for a much-needed shot of caffeine.
After butchering the Spanish language ordering espresso, I sit quietly under the red umbrella, allowing the soothing mediterranean sea to heal my scorched retinas.