I woke up this morning to the news of another terrorist attack, this time at Las Ramblas, Barcelona. At the moment, sixteen people have lost their lives and dozens have been injured.
Barcelona has a special place in my heart, and I look forward to being there again next month.
Barcelona is where I consider I became a ‘solo’ traveler.
I know, to get there, I had traveled solo by cruise ship from Piraeus, Athens; but on a cruise ship, you are never truly alone. You turn up to the main dining room, they feed you; you do your shore excursions, they get you there and back; you have the same cabin no matter how many stops.
Barcelona was where I called the shots, where I ate, slept, visited, all my own decisions. I will grant you that as far as food goes, I could’ve been somewhat more adventurous, as I am planning to be this next trip. I got to Park Guell, found myself at Sagrada Familia, appreciated Gaudi’s influence and toured the sport / olympic precinct, and just saw so many sights.
The one place I was both excited and a little scared of was Las Ramblas. This one kilometre long street heading towards the water from the town centre is made up of a pedestrian strip down the middle with market stalls, cafes, etc and one lane of traffic on either side. It is widely acknowledged as one of the most likely places in Europe to be pickpocketted or scammed. I was prepared, keeping my passport, cards, etc secure and close to me. The thing that worried me is the widely reported instances of old ladies fainting or (fake) babies being thrown at you as a way to distract people to create an opportunity to be fleeced.
Fortunately, nothing like that happened, although I was super cautious and acutely aware that I knew no one in this city, actually in this country and possibly Europe. I had a massive appreciation of how far away from home I was.
I know I have said it before, but I used to have the opinion that I was much safer to stay at home in Australia, because nasty things like this don’t happen here. Well, it seems they do, (or have).
No matter if the senseless attack is the result of an individual that is either evil or just has a screw loose, or in fact a full on terrorist attack, for those innocent victims, the outcome is, in fact the same; needless death and injuries, physical and mental.
Can we, (as the human race) please treat each other as we would like to be treated?