The junkets Lloyd and I have taken twice a year since 2008 are the happy result of his involvement on an international business committee whose meetings are hosted by its various members. I’ve been fortunate to tag along and sightsee while he’s bogged down in meetings, and have made new friends through the partner program which organizes visits to the many cultural wonders each destination has to offer.
Last Wednesday we tag-alongs were treated to lunch at Oleum restaurant in El Palau Nacional, a cultural centre built for the International Exhibition of 1929 and since 1934 home to Barcelona’s most important art collection — Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The museum is noted for its incredible display of Romanesque items centered around a series of magnificent 12th-century frescoes, and is strategically located on the side of the mountain of Montjuic, allowing an exceptional view of Barcelona which sits at its feet.
Worth noting is the fact that the restaurant is located in what was originally The Throne Room where King Alfonso XIII received visitors. The windows used to be a solid wall in front of which sat the throne. The wall was reconfigured to accommodate windows and view of Barcelona during extensive renovations started in1985.
In this image my friends Carmen (left) from Italy, and Trols (Denmark) are silhouetted against the backdrop of Barcelona while waiting for lunch and debating the plight of Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi (they tell me).
Our trip to Barcelona was the last of a three-year series of meetings and might possibly mark our last involvement with the committee as it’s not yet clear whether Lloyd will continue into the next series which begins in September. Most of the people we met we will never see again. A few, however, have become fast friends.
I value greatly the opportunity these meetings have provided to travel to Prague, Sarajevo, Buenos Aires, Milan, Bochum, Tokyo, Dublin, Ljubljana and Barcelona. Each city, its country and its people has taught me something valuable about myself and expanded my horizons in ways I could never have imagined. Each has shown me the value of celebrating, embracing and nurturing our differences and integrating them to expand our personal life experiences.
Some experiences (and food) I’ve enjoyed more than others. Nevertheless, all have helped me to better understand, and define, who I am. Travel is a marvellous catalyst for shaking out the cobwebs of life to a clearer view of what is and what might be. I only wish I’d learned this sooner.
A year ago In Dublin I took great pleasure in learning to count to 10 in almost every language represented at the meeting — Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Slovenian, French, German, Italian and Gaelic. Under what other circumstances would I have had such an opportunity? My fellow tag-alongs got a kick out of hearing me attempt (and at times butcher) their respective languages, but together we had a lot of fun building a bridge and a memory. It is, indeed, one of many fond memories of my journey to becoming a citizen of the world.
I look forward to hearing if Lloyd will continue on the committee. If so, next stop … Berlin. If not, there will be plenty of other opportunities to fly the silver bird to foreign lands and refresh my spirit with new experiences, including a trip to Australia later this year to attend Lloyd’s daughter’s wedding.
In the meantime, I can review my recent photos of Barcelona and recall each moment captured and how it made me feel and, perhaps, changed me … if just a bit.
I’d love to know what world travel means to you. Please leave a comment if you feel so inspired.
Copyright Aimwell Enterprises 2012