It’s 9:30 am on a Barceloneta Autumn morning. My boyfriend left the apartment for work over three hours ago, leaving me to awaken slowly while he stumbles around in the half-light of the morning. The curtains are opened slightly giving a quarter view of the rose-gold sunrise over the balcony and onto the Port Vell.
After a routine trip to the Buenas Migos cafe on the beachfront to get a cappuccino and warmed almond croissant, I make way for the centre of the famous city.
The sun shines bright through the crisp red, orange and pink-tinged leaves that create a natural path down the street. The light gently touches the pavement, highlighting the way with honey tones.
My tiny black backpack with an embroidered Earth logo in the middle of it hangs off one shoulder. My hair gently blows behind my shoulders as a small breeze coerces me to button up my chunky, beige cardigan over my denim shorts and orange crop top. It almost looks like I am now wearing a sort of jumper dress. I feel cosy.
My white trainers take me past the rows of cafes, restaurants and shops that have become a familiarity over the last few weeks. Some of these are still closed for business from lockdowns and restrictions that are yo-yo-ing across the country.
Crossing the road, students, families and commuters converse in their Spanish tongue. I pick up around 10% of these words, longing to someday be fluent in the language. Bikes and electric scooters shoot by. I look up and the green man waves, signalling to cross the street.
On the other side of the road I am now at the edge of the city. La Rambla, arguably the most famous street in Barcelona, is in sight. The gracious Christopher Columbus Monument on the Port Vell makes its mark.
“Over here”, it calls out. I excitedly walk over under the cool, blue sky.
Suddenly I am there. Standing at the top of the now golden Rambla. Two rows of shining Autumn toned trees line the way and create an image of serenity for anyone who gets the pleasure of walking through it. It is quiet.
I start on my path, wandering with no intention of what the day will bring. After passing numerous stalls selling magazines, tourism memorabilia and colourful shining fruit, I come across an old man who is sitting quietly, painting.
The details of his oil paintings strike me. I stare in wonder at their beauty.
“Hola”, I stumble awkwardly trying not to break his current flow.
“How much?”, I ask politely, pointing to a small painting.
“Fifty Euro.” He replies without even looking up, not moving his brush from the canvas.
I look into my somewhat empty purse.
“How about forty-five?” It is all I have if I wanted to get lunch.
“Fine, here take this.”
He gets up from his stool, paint covered brush in mouth and places the painting in a small brown paper bag. I take it and he counts my money.
He nods his head and sits back down.
“Gracias”, he mumbles.
“Gracias,” I say in my non-Spanish accent. A smile of excitement crawls over my face.
I start to travel back down the rest of La Rambla, this time in search of coffee, clutching one of my now most prized possessions.
Images owned by Drew-Alexandra O'Keeffe