Regardless of the country I’m in, my mood or what season it is, hearing the Flamenco guitar and Flamenco singers instantly transports me back to my days of exploring Granada, Spain.
I was 22 and travelling alone for a few months when I stumbled into a poorly lit cave. It was empty except for a lone Flamenco guitarist and his partner who were getting ready to leave for the night.
After talking to them for a bit, I sat down and soon after they performed a song, just for me. It was so emotional I had tears in my eyes.
Today, I was time-warped back to Spain, only I happened to be Victoria, British Columbia at St. Ann’s Academy. It’s BC Day and the celebrations were in full-swing when we arrived (what is it with me these days, first it’s tears on Canada Day and now BC Day?!).
There were hundreds of people sitting on the grass, many of them were families enjoying a nice picnic, while others were alone, attentively listening to the entertainment. They were glued to the main podium where the Flamenco act was performing. In the Artisans’ Alley–a lane closed for local vendors selling their goods– we spotted a few curious items we almost tried, like a spiritual reading from a Tarot Intuitive Healer.
From the park, we followed the crowds around the Empress Hotel and then we weaved our way through the street vendors in the Inner Harbour. They were selling everything from lemonade and ice cream cones to Aboriginal artworks and handmade clothing. Even the buskers were impressive – they stayed in tune!
The city is more dynamic than I remembered: It blends the traditional old-world charm of those horse-drawn carriages, character homes and gardens with a modern, artistic and youthful energy. Yes, there are vibrant rainbow coloured hanging-baskets lining the streets and everything is pretty, but there are also hipster-types everywhere, and the downtown is dotted with smaller fashion-forward boutiques that are hidden in narrow passages doubling as alleys.
Victoria is a city of contrasts, but then to me, it’s that contrast that makes living in BC so special. It takes the best of everything and everyone and mixes it harmoniously. Happy BC Day!
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