This Easter journey actually happened one week before Easter, but I still consider it the perfect gift for the occasion. Therefore, I travelled to Barcelona for an incredible one week meeting/conference/training on EuroMed Young Social Entrepreneurship as an activist in my field of activity -> eco – fashion. And although I did participate in quite a few events as such along the years, in different countries, this one was special for many reasons.
Barcelona is flowing through your veins when first putting your foot on its land. This amazing city is piercing your heart and eye like a strong golden arrow in terms of beauty and diversity. A huge city that you could never cover entirely … not even with your mind. A place full of life during the days and during the nights, full of lights, noise and dense mass … very much alive.
Patience is what you learn from its structure, from its endless streets, uncountable directions, extreme squares, dancing fountains, big parks, castles and churches along with … yes, Gaudi and his precious Sagrada Familia. When you turn your head to this overwhelming structure, either you can faint or remain still for the next half of hour just admiring its beauty and asking yourself how could anyone create such stone embroidery at such dimensions.
Fortunately, between the travel and our event program, I had 2 days to explore a bit of what this city offers, so I immediately took the opportunity to take its pulse. With a map in my hands (that, no matter the place, it always ends up destroyed after me looking for streets, going back and forth like a crazy person all along the city for approximately 6-7 hours -), I started this journey on foot, as usual, so I can absorb as much as possible from what it was revealing in front of my eyes.
So adding to what I already said …
Before getting to the beach, you firstly remain astonished by the marvelous mixed architecture that is revealing itself like an open book for the curious –
– from Gaudi to contemporary fancy buildings,
– from castles to huge malls,
– from endless foot walks to 7 metro lines,
– from tiny elegant parks to forests from you can hardly find the way back,
– from select streets full of famous brands to old city breaks where artists are crafting their passions,
– from churches legendary `planted` in the middle of volcanoes to centre`s high fancies,
– from the impressive centre`s open market full of exotic fruits and vegetables to the Erotic Museum just in front of it,
– and from Sagrada Familia to the Old Port where you can finally take a walk through the deck and admire the sea …
But the best point from where you can actually see the entire city is Park Guell situated on a high hill (getting up there is quite a challenge for the less physically practiced), place that also hides the marvelous Gaudi Museum. From this point, you can admire Barcelona in all its beauty, especially Gaudi`s masterpiece Sagrada Familia that is rising like a giant among the other buildings.
In this sum of contrasts (where you can not actually smell the pollution no matter how big and crowded this city is), the people seem to be getting more and more interested in developing a community, in contributing to a common good based on what the social transition brings -> human conscience towards the environment and social justice … people open to new patterns of life …
And in this context, 32 young individuals from the EuroMed region, socially engaged, found themselves together debating upon their initiatives on social entrepreneurship, finding similarities and differences, exchanging and sharing information and experience, getting some awesome training in the matter and visiting special Catalan social enterprises and cultural places.
This meeting has confirmed me once more that great ideas and progress can only come when brains from different cultures are getting together and reveal each and every identity. This mixture can only enrich hearts and minds in terms of political and social aspects/facts and can only get to a positive follow-up.