In May/June of 2016 I travelled to Spain to take a doll-making class. I spent a week in a villa in the amazing Vall de Pop region in the small town of Lliber. Along with a handful of other women, I learned to create an art doll from the form up. In between classes we got to know one another over some amazing meals, wine and great conversation.
We took siesta each day, gathering with the instructors' friends and neighbours, eating fantastic food and drinking ??, all while overlooking the vineyards in the valley. Evenings were often spent in small restaurants in nearby towns. We took a trip to the seaside town of Calp and had an outdoor luncheon high in the mountains, where all the food and fuel to cook it had to be carried in each day.
Truly a magical time. And, I even managed to make a doll.
When the week in Lliber was over I took myself off on the train to Barcelona to explore the city. I ended up in the most unique hotel (to me) right in the city centre. It was a love hotel, meant to cater to those who don't want others to know with whom they were meeting. I don't think the staff quite knew what to think of me, with my single, middle-aged self, there on my own for a week. They were quite lovely though, checking each day to make sure I had directions and ideas for my explorations and that I had a few new words in Spanish to practice.
I got lost on the underground, something I hadn't managed to do before in my travels, and found a minuscule tapas bar to while away some hours. I went early to see the La Sagrada Familia in order to miss the lines and ended up spending the better part of the day exploring it, crowds or not. Another day was spent in Park Güell, admiring the endless colour and imagination of Gaudi's mosaics. Yet another was taken up by a train trip out of town to see the Abbey of Montserrat, high in the mountains. That was the first time I had ever ridden in a funicular.
Thanks to the care of the staff at my hotel I never lacked for suggestions of where to find local food. I made my feet sore with all my wanderings. Somehow though, I did manage to get homesick toward the end of my stay and as much as Barcelona has to offer I was glad to make my way home.