The end of my European tour intertwined with a new year of life for me. On December 1, 2017 I turned 22 years old. Like any average Black-American male, I spent it in Amsterdam. This trip was one for the books, and no Mom: I was not high the entire time. Amsterdam actually made me want to quit smoking weed because I have never smoked anything as potent as I did there. Nonetheless I made it out with myself intact, minus the couple of braincells I fried. Though I wish we went when it was not below polar bear toes, this trip taught me a critical lesson about myself, that I will carry with me for time. I would like to thank Madsen for being my road dog, and experiencing these places I would never imagine going with me. Most importantly my Mama for helping me get in the position I am in today to have all of these opportunities I am blessed with. Lastly, I would like to thank my Mama and Pops for bringing me into this world, and God for allowing me to see 22 years of life.
Now that this trip is coming to a end, my new focus is on reviewing all of the hours of footage captured during this trip, and start working on my documentary called OUTLOOK (coming May 2018). I encourage any one, especially my fellow black people, to take advantage of any opportunity they have to travel outside of their home, and experience the different cultures of in this world. This journey has definitely added to my growth as a individual and partner, and I am very thankful for it.
On Novemeber 25th, my man Alexander the Danger Adventuer, and myself went on a trans-county hike following the Itchan Way. If you asked me to give you two words to describe the experience, I would have to say, “Doctor Schols.”
Leave me feedback in the comment section on the imagery of this trip? Please?
Goodbyes are always hard aren't they?
The last day in Barcelona was the most memorable. The night before we lost a battle to cheap vodka mixed with dancing, so our day started a little past noon. Ben Van-bloem, an old track teammate and fellow photographer, told me I should visit Espigó Del Bogatell, which is a concrete bridge that leads you directly to one of those views of the ocean you see on movies. So that was the objective for the day.
On the way to the beach we noticed a large crowd of people decorated with a flag unknown to us. Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that my curiosity is what killed the cat, not the cats own curiosity. So we merged with the crowd to see what was going on.
We walked straight into a Catalonia independence demonstration that would go on for the duration of our visit to the area. There were flags flying everywhere, a huge stage set up for speakers and musical performances, and media cameras from the sky to the ground. When I think of demonstrations of this magnitude, it makes me think it won't end in peace. That was not the case. Yes, there were militarized police surrounding the area, but among all of those people, there was no instances of chaos during the entire event (from what I know of). The most noise I heard was the crowd uprising in "LIBERTAD!" chants, which I joined along in because the vibe called for it; and the people on stage who were speaking/performing for the crowd. It was truly amazing to witness what will soon be a part of Catalonian history.
To not fail the mission of visiting Espigó del Bogatell, we ventured onward (onward? Is this Lord of the Rings?). Barcelona is home to some of the most beautiful men and women I have seen in my 21 (almost 22) years of life; Madsen and I were both taking double takes of the people who would walk by us (so I was in the clear to let my eyes wonder). The beach was full of life, from the people playing beach volleyball, to the couples sitting on the shore watching the waves crash. There was this feeling of internal joy that illuminated both Madsen and myself during the entire visit. After playing around in the sand looking for sea shells, we finally reached our destination.
It looked as though due to some sort of disruption, the bridge had some parts that had broken off from the rest, which made for a dope place to chill and catch the oceanic vibes. On some parkour shit, we hopped on one of those broken off pieces, and had ourselves a little picnic (romantic huh?). Two sandwiches, and some chip crumbs later, the sun started to set on us. Sadly it was about that time to head back to the airbnb.
The metro ride was filled with people leaving the demonstration, which caused for the metro cars to be packed like a can of sardines. Nonetheless we made it home (I wish we would of got stuck). If you are thinking of visiting Barcelona, DO THAT SHIT! It was a moment in my life that I will not forget, and I wish that upon any of you who end up visiting the city. The next trip it may be hard to type because we are heading to the Netherlands (guess where).
Hope you all enjoyed these galleries. If you didn't thank you for the views anyway HA!
Legal Trap Mack
It was around 08:30, Madsen had just arrived to the airbnb. As you can imagine, an airport waiting room does not make for the most comfortable sleeping arrangement, so Ms. Sleepyhead napped for a while to restore her energy (I may or may not have joined her. I did) before we started the first official day together in Barcelona.
A little secret about Madsen and myself, we do not plan things in the best way (I don't), we usually operate on the fly (I do). Which has its positives and negatives. But in this case, her missing her plane, and me losing my passport were the only negative aspects of the trip (and the people staring at us dead in our face as if they have never seen a black man and a white lady walk down the street in their life).
Once sleeping beauty rose from her slumber, the day officially started. Destination: Park Guëll; a park created by Antoni Guadí, who must of dropped quite a few tabs (or whatever psychedelics that were popular in the early 1900's) in his days, because his creations are the most unique/beautiful pieces of architecture I have seen with my own two eyes.
Time of arrival: when we got there. There were a number of minor obstacles we had to overcome prior to visiting the park. Like what metro line we had to take, and how we would know what line to get off since everything was in Spanish (but there were little indicators that let you know where you were, so that helped). This was a challenge we accepted, and overcame with finesse (mostly visual cues, but the finesse was in there some where). By the end of this trip we were navigating every source of public transport with no issue at all.
Finally, at a time that was not originally planned, we arrived at Park Guëll, well not really. We were near the park, but had to journey up a hill that would be considered a full day's workout in my book. Now, we were finally at Park Guëll.
We entered at the peak of the never-ending hill that had this jaw dropping view of Barcelona city. We ran into some characters on the way to this statue (did not get the name) that marks peak. Once guy stuck out to me (and probably everyone else there), I wish I got his name, but I am going to call him The Leopard, since he had on a full leopard print one piece.
This was an ex-rockstar turned street performer, with the musical ear of a deaf person (no offense to my deaf people out there). But his energy, along with his signature growl and air kiss made up for his poor musical performance. His partner in crime was a "artist" who drew a picture of us with the quickness, using colored Sharpies. For a quick doodle, the picture was somewhat accurate (he gave me a full beard and some long dreads, he can see the future).
After all the fun we had at the peak, it was time to go down and see the main attraction. The mosaic structures that Park Guëll is famously known for. Only there was a problem. There was an entrance fee. Since we were balling on a budget we decided to do what any smart tourist would do, hit the outskirts and see as much as we could. Even though we did not get to go in, we could still see the time consuming beauty of the mosaic structure Guadí created.
This trip took a number on my pockets, and my feet: and I am sure Madsen would agree. But nonetheless, this is how this gallery was created.
Tomorrow marks the last photo gallery day from this Barcelona adventure. Same place, same time (6 P.M EST U.S time/11 P.M U.K time). See you then.
The journey begun at 19:30 at London Gatwick airport. It was me, and my oversized bag that I had to smash to disguise as a carry on. My palms sweaty from excitement, and my stomach queasy from the chic-pea sandwich I DOGGED before hoping a board EasyJet flight EZY8577. Was this happening? Was I about to enter the country Cheif Keef claimed to get his car from in the song Faneto? Was I dreaming? I pinched myself. I pinched myself again (the second time I went a little overboard). This was really happening, I was on my way to Barcelona.
I arrived at Barcelona Airport terminal 2 around 20:30. We take a bus to the customs section of the airport to get our passports tattooed. Only problem was, I left it on the plane. Being the calm, cool, and collective guy I am, I slightly panicked. I thought my trip in Barcelona was going to be spent with the customs guards. But then my optimism kicked in, and about 20 minutes later an EasyJet employee brought me my passport and I was on my way to experience the beauty that is Barcelona.
Only I wasn't. I had to wait for my partner in crime, who had taken a wrong train and was running behind her flight schedule. Being an optimist again I had faith that she caught her plane and was on her way. So I waited for her to cross that door with the upmost excitement. But, just because I keep a optimistic view on things, does not mean they work out in my favor. Or in this case, hers. She missed her flight and had to spend a night in the Rome airport until the next morning. But at least she could say she was in Rome for six hours.
So I caught a cab, and went to our Airbnb on the solo-dolo tip. If you ever seen Shrek 2 when they arrived to Far Far Away, and Funkytown by Lipps Inc. was playing in the background; that is how I felt during that cab ride to the Airbnb. After arriving, I decided to treat myself to a nice meal, and a celebratory shot of Tequila. Feeling a combination of buzzed and full, I then ventured around to take pictures of my new surrounding. Alas, this is how this photo gallery was created.
Tomorrow I will tell you about what consisted of the day of Madsen's arrival (there will be way more pictures as well).
Hasta mañana mis amigos. No te olvides de limpiar.
Damon Mackin. 22 years of age. Mass Communications major at Shenandoah University 18'. Freelance Journalist/Photographer