Tibidabo

I have finished  my masters degree! Except for my dissertation, and an extra semester in Berlin (!!!) come October. But for IBEI, and Barcelona, I only now have to twiddle my thumbs.

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So I went to twiddle my thumbs at Tibidabo, a mountain which overlooks the city of Barcelona. At the top you can find an amusement park, and a church. And of course, spectacular views.

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There are a few ways to reach Tibidabo, but we took the T2A bus from Placa de Catalunya, as it is the cheapest at 3 euros each way, and does not take too long.

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The church is beautiful inside and out.

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You can pay 3.50 euros to take a lift to the top, which offers even more amazing views, and dizzying heights.

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The amusement park looked really fun, but was 30 euros to go on the rides, so we passed!

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But really the journey is worth it just for the views.

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It doesn’t even need to take long, half a day and then you have the rest of the day to entertain yourself elsewhere.

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Hola, soy yo.

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What is my head doing I don’t know,

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I’m sad I only have two weeks left in Barcelona, and Spain. So I’m trying to tick things off my list, this being one of them!

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Carrers de Barcelona

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After my trip to London, I was a little frustrating that many of my photos had come out blurred. I decided I needed to practice, and so as a reward for being so close to finishing my university deadlines, I went on a stroll with my Nikon.

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I explored the neighbourhoods of the Barrio Gotico, Raval and El Born. I love these neighbourhoods, not just because they’re closest to my flat, but because each one has character and life.

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Everywhere you look seems to be inspired by both art and a sense of community – it is why I loved living in the East End of London, and why I love it here.

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The heat is sweltering though! If you’re going on a photo session don’t be afraid of cafe breaks or keeping hydrated.

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Although once again I felt frustrated with my end results – I felt like my camera didn’t capture the charm of Barcelona streets that I saw. However these are a few photos I liked.

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The great thing about living in such a charming city though, is that once you become used to the well known sights, you can really appreciate the quirks and lesser known sights to capture on your camera.

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A return trip to London!

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DO I MISS LONDON. I haven’t seen it properly since I left 2 years ago, except for a couple of overnight stays, which have both left me emotional to be back in a city which shaped me so much.

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So for a last trip with my BCN friends, I couldn’t wait to show them my London (hence why I insisted on staying in the East End).

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We explored so much and exhausted ourselves, the best way to be a tourist in London.

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The grey clouds are deceiving – it was just as warm as Barcelona!

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Of course we had to see some of the typical sights – it was a tourist trip after all.

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I visited Borough Market for the first time ever. It was nice to see it still thriving after the recent attacks.

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We saw Twelfth Night at the Globe theatre, one of my favourite places in London. It was very different to the previous Twelfth Night at the Globe I saw, but just as funny and well done.

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The U.K. has been subject to some horrific terrorist attacks recently, to the point my friends and their family were worried about us going. I never want London, or the U.K., to be off-putting to anyone. It is a beautiful place that (should) welcome all.

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I also got to meet up with friends in London, I miss them so much!

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I would love to live in London again – when I can afford it. It really is a place I always feel so happy to be in, and it is a city like no other.

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I always feel like London is a place people can be themselves, and express themselves.

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A visit to Somerset House – another place I had never visited! London is never in need of things to do or see.

Is ‘The Girl Who Travels’ the new Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

I’ve seen circulating on the internet that there are quite a few articles about “Date the girl who travels”, or “Don’t date the girl who travels” – ironically promoting the same idea: a girl who travels is the girl of your dreams, but she will only be in your dreams if you can’t keep up with her crazy adventures and free spirit.

A girl of your dreams who has crazy adventures and a free spirit? Where have I seen that before?

The vast majority of indie rom-coms.

Don’t get me wrong, I love indie rom-coms. When the characters feel real. If you don’t know what a manic pixie dream girl is, it’s this:

Film critic Nathan Rabin, who coined the term after observing Kirsten Dunst’s character in Elizabethtown (2005), describes the MPDG as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” MPDGs are said to help their men without pursuing their own happiness, and such characters never grow up; thus, their men never grow up.

Ta, Wikipedia.

Other examples include Sam from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, and Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs the World. One example I say challenges the notion is Summer from 500 Days of Summer. To me the film is about a guy who idealises a girl and decides she’s the one for him, but can’t accept she doesn’t feel the same way. We don’t get her perspective because the film has to focus on him, to make a point.

There are plenty of people criticising the term. A girl who is beautiful, quirky, has unusual hobbies, and always seems to have a thing for shy, quiet, “sensitive” guys who usually are ignored by other beautiful girls. Guys, stop fantasising and go out and meet a real girl. And she won’t be existing for you, she exists for herself (and because her parents did it).

But it seems there is a MPDG who has escaped our screens and ventured into the real world – almost. The Girl Who Travels. Now, an article which makes good use of the term is this one. It doesn’t put the idea of these girls into a box, instead it celebrates their independence and that they aren’t there to impress a guy: “She’d rather catch a flight than chase a man who doesn’t value her.”

But there are other articles which try to suggest that a girl who travels is the best thing that can happen to a guy. Even though being with them is difficult. You have to be a guy who travels, but you have to do it to keep up with her. Because she will make your life worth living.

Why can’t we have articles celebrating independence of every gender.

Also, what makes The Girl Who Travels different from any other girl who likes to travel? They just maybe do it after saving up in their 9-5 job, and take holiday leave. Or they choose a nice hotel instead of a cheap and dodgy hostel. Sure, there are some girls out there who can travel nearly all year, and take jobs which allow this flexibility. But they are far and few.

Travelling is one of the best things a person can do. And you do it for yourself, and yourself alone. You do it to become more confident, wiser, to experience once in a lifetime opportunities, to understand the world outside of your own perspective, to stand on your own two feet. And the problem with creating ‘The Girl Who Travels’, is that it takes these qualities that travellers discover for themselves, and turns them into something for girls to impress guys.

Yes, if you travel you have experiences and qualities that will attract romantic partners, and flaunt them because they make you, you. But don’t project yourself as an ideal. Because real freedom is found in caring less about what other people think. Since my teens I have listened to music different from my friends, worn clothes that no one else does, had my own hobbies and interests. Why? Because I like these things, not because I’m trying to be a certain type of person. And when I travel it’s because I want to explore, and share moments with people I care about. My stories will be for my future children, if I have them. Not to impress some guy in a bar.

So, be a girl who travels. Be a guy who travels. Be someone who travels. Because it’s one of the best things you can do with your life, but do it on your own terms.