by Gretchen Reynolds
“Life isn’t about waiting for the winds to change – It’s learning to adjust your sails.”
Bump.. Bump…… BUMP- I shake my head around, realizing our plane must have just landed. Twenty hours of muggy airports and three separate plane rides later, my journey has finally begun as I land in the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain. At the terminal, I meet with my pre-arranged driver who is taking me back to the final destination of my journey: the ALBA Study Abroad Program, where I will be spending the next month studying Spanish and the city of Barcelona. He kindly helps with my luggage and we head for the city. “What do you do, for work and for fun?” I ask, hoping to catch a glimpse into his life. Viktor’s response catches my attention and grabs my interest. On top of working for the ALBA program, he sails the world, guides tours, and basically lives the mantra of “sending it.”
The following Friday, he is our tour guide for the ALBA hiking excursion. “Do you ever take ALBA students sailing in the Mediterranean Sea for a discounted price?” I ask. He says, “you know, I haven’t thought of that yet, but I should do that. Good idea. Invite five or six friends and we will all go sailing this Sunday.” Immediately, I ask some of my friends I had met during the first week of class if they want to come sailing. Without hesitation, they are thrilled and we commit. Hannah, Allie, Devin, Kaitlin, Emily, and I are so excited to see the city and watch the sunset from a different angle!
Say yes to new adventures and exploring off the mainland!
We met Viktor and another ALBA partner, Filippo, at the marina at 5:30 on Sunday evening. The water is calm and clear, the skies are blue and sunny, and the vibes are good. It is a perfect day for sailing. Refreshing rosé, traditional Spanish Cava, upbeat reggae music, and good vibes are all locked in place. We set sail to anchor in the middle of the Sea, overlooking the famous W Hotel and the Barceloneta beaches in front of a setting-sun backdrop over the city. Sipping our rosé, we salute to new friendships and unforgettable memories that will last us a lifetime. Once anchored, we all jump into the water and enjoy the warm waves of the deep-sea. We are so fortunate to see Barcelona from a side that nearly no one else sees. Experiencing maritime tradition in one of the most historically maritime-prominent cultures in Europe truly shines a light on the remarkable history of this city.
The sun sets and we enjoy coasting on the water, telling stories, talking about the way of life in Barcelona, and laughing until the golden sun rays finally vanish into the night. We head back into the marina and reflect on the incredible experience we all shared together, thanking Viktor for his hospitality and providing the opportunity for us all to experience this, and hoping someday soon we can sail the Mediterranean Sea again.