As I sit with my notebook at one of the most unconventional cafés I`ve ever been – and trust me, Barcelona has plenty of atypical places – trying to get inspired to write something that probably won`t change my life, but at least can help me help other who are trying to change theirs, I`ve come to think about how it seems that a full circle has come to an end… And that maybe this is the time to start a new one, fresh, unknown and full of promises…
When I first started this blog, it was a way to share with people not only my photos but the stories and feelings behind them. The idea was to have Barcelona as my base (thus the name Guiri Insider) but to also be able to show my trips around the world. It was supposed to be authorial. Then, as 23 countries and 10 years went by, it became more informative and visual, like visual travel guides. Then, I got busy with other projects and work, and my poor blog ended-up completely abandoned. I`m so sorry!!!
Many things have happened in the last 3 years of my life. Things that made me think and re-think everything. My career, my purpose, my work, my friendship choices, my romantic choices, my lifestyle, and even the country I live in. I know, it is a lot to take in!!! A lot to process. And this process, I think it is actually just beginning.
One thing that I noticed, though, is that I really miss writing. Not only for the sake of information and utility. Also for the purpose of pleasure, and fun. Of depth and also of escapism. I miss sharing feelings and impressions, not only practicalities and guidance. I want to share my reality AND my dreams, not only through photos and images but also through words and thoughts.
I`ll start by sharing a little visual and written diary of this atypical Monday at this atypical café.
I`ve walked by this place so many times, always thinking that I should come in one day, never actually coming in. But his has been an atypical summer, of an atypical year, so today I decided that there would be no better place to try to write from than this atypical café because there was nothing typical about the hurricane of thoughts forming inside my head, a vortex of feelings. Just like clothes inside a washing machine.
I`m seated at a place called “La Bar” and even though the name sounds cliché, there is nothing cliché about this place. It is a very peculiar mix of a café/bar and a laundromat, and believe me, people do come here for the laundry. And for the coffee, or the Argentinean empanadas, or the Brazilian music playing (!?), or even for a beer at the tables outside. Or, like me, to work. Turns out, a lot of people come here to work, maybe inspired by the relaxed and unique atmosphere, with its rustic wooden tables and chairs (that reminds me of the ones back in school), or the industrial vibe of the space, with exposed concrete and iron beams from where dry, mismatched socks hang, maybe waiting for their other half to return from the parallel universe where they go when they enter a washing machine, never to be seen again.
The crowd here is as unexpected and atypical as the space: an old couple who came in to do their weekend laundry and have a full lunch while waiting. A girl with a huge dog who happily greets everyone, his expressive tail bouncing side-to-side, threatening to make the cup of coffee from the couple sat on the corner lounge fly away with his excitement. A guy with a baseball hat and flip flops seriously working on his computer. Two friends who meet for a coffee and a chat, no work on this Monday. And of course, me, the local who today is a newcomer, trying to absorb all the nuances of this place, the smell of baked bread, freshly washed laundry and coffee, the many plants and the floor-to-ceiling windows that bring some of the exteriors inside, the unframed photos of some independent photograph hanging for sale on the walls, 20 euros each.
Today I escaped my house to run away from my growing need to escape the mess of feelings and questions that have taken up my life lately. I went outside to be able to look inside. I went to a place where I have no connections so I could reconnect with myself, and the writer inside of me. Maybe she, just like the lost socks from the laundry machine, had been gone to a parallel universe, dark and lonely.
But she`s back, now.
WHAT: La Bar Laundry Bar
WHERE: Consell de Cent, 442, 08013 Barcelona
WHY: A place where you can drink a coffee or a beer, bring your dog, have a chat with your friends, eat, work, all that while you do your laundry. Only in Barcelona….