Travelling in a group makes you more aware of the surroundings and gives you a new perspective on life. You can also share experiences with like-minded fellow travelers and make new friends.
A few years back after almost seven hours flight from Doha to Barcelona, with a three-and-a-half travel from Lahore to Doha, we reached Barcelona. When I looked outside the window as the plane taxied along the runway, I had just one thought in mind: Spain, Old Spain, historical significance, Muslims domination, Strait of Gibraltar etc.
But I awoke from my reverie when a plane came to a halt. I sauntered down the aisle toward the exit door, saying goodbye to the cabin crew, no doubt the best crew of Qatar Airways. I still remember how my hubby forgot camera in the plane hand-luggage compartment and we got it back after a wait of an hour. A luck indeed!
After that awful experience, we boarded a luxury bus and left for the hotel. One strange fact was that the driver was a lady and she loaded the luggage of our group in the luggage compartment beneath the bus. I still remember her jaunty expression, “Hola.” (Hola is a Spanish word for Hello). It is difficult to imagine in our country a woman doing that labor.
After refreshing ourselves at the hotel, we relished our dinner at “Tandoor” restaurant, an Indian cuisine in Barcelona’s Eixample district. Our bus left us at the restaurant and we took a stroll to explore the surrounding area. We took the underground train from Passeig de Gràcia station, where one of our group member was offered a seat after she was mistaken for being pregnant.
Few subway performers were squatting against the station wall, playing guitar and singing Spanish songs. They were surrounded by a lot of spectators, who just sang their heart out. Few just sat down and took photos with them.
Flamenco, a fiery dance, not to be missed while in Spain.
After that, we amused ourselves watching Flamenco, a fiery dance, not to be missed while in Spain. The signature dance. It’s basically a story to be told through body and music. The footsteps are completely in sync with the music. They clapped their hands and kicked their feet. How vigorously and energetically they made their moves. A worth to watch.
We took a stroll along La Rambla Street, a famous walking street in Barcelona. It’s adorned with souvenir shops and flanked by restaurants and cafes.
The next day, we took a tour of Catalonia region in northeastern Spain. We visited National Art Musuem of Catalonia on Montjuic hill; Sargrada Familia, a basilica by Antoni Gaudi. What a beautiful architecture of Sargrada Familia!
The stalls were lined up on either side of the church. I saw a man squatting by the road side, selling souvenir. He told us he belonged to Sialkot, Pakistan. I asked him about his family and he told humbly how he’s working round the clock to send money back to his family.
We took photos on the Montjuic hill. It was an independence day, 14th August. We had a flag in our hands and were waving it enthusiastically to flaunt our patriotism. Another way of marking our identity on that foreign soil. Even a group asked us from where we were. Flags in our hand and what a thrilling moment to be “The brand ambassador of our country” at that time.
We reached Siemperviva restaurant to feast on their sea-food cuisine, owned by a man from Pakistan. We met another family over there who joined us in the trip towards France.
Delicious lunch was proceeded by a stroll at the windy beach and few ladies rushed forward to have a dip in the blue water.
Light breeze at the coast rustled the leaves of few trees and the expanse of blue water made me nostalgic but at the same time supplied a cache of reverberating memories.
On the last night after dinner, I said goodbye to the city of beautiful architecture to board the bus the next day to France.
I’d like to thanks Mrs. Shazia Suleman, the CEO of Inter Globe Travel & Tours. She organized the trip fabulously and worked meticulously to make sure all group members were contented and took care of any matter that arose.