30: Barcelona, the love of my life

Barcelona, Barcelona, BARCELONA! I could shout Barcelona from a rooftop but I don’t have a rooftop, I have a blog. So here we go. My bus from Lloret de Mar rode along the coast, back to the city of Barcelona on only my second day in Spain. The hour long drive could not prepare me for the day I was about to have, the day I fell in love with a city for the third time. The first time being when I visited Chicago in high school, scoping out colleges and planning which neighborhood I’d live in. The second was when I left Los Angeles, which I admit is backwards, but leaving is what made me realized I loved it. And now I have a third, Barcelona.

When I got off the bus I timed out my day of adventures to learn I had to be back at the station by 7pm. This gave me 9 hours in the city to explore as much as I could while allowing myself to be completely lost. Staying on track with this plan, I got completely lost. Literally. For some reason traveling as often as I do has yet to settle in my mind how to follow directions. I can do it, but once I get sidetracked and take the wrong street, it’s too late. A part of me, however, loves getting lost, because no matter what, I always find my way back.

My first stop was Gothic Quarters, which is a small part of the city that resides just off the Mediterranean with buildings that date back to the Medieval era. Unsure of whether I was walking south or east, I decided to follow the signs on the street to the Catedral de Barcelona, knowing that it’d be close enough to wander through Gothic Quarters. I was correct.

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The church was visually stunning on the exterior with its gothic archways, dramatically sharp edges and large, inviting awnings. Unfortunately, I did not go in because although I travel like I have an unlimited supply of cash, the truth is quite the opposite.

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Therefore, I saved my 10€ and walked around the grounds, all winding with hidden cobblestone roads and intimate small gardens.

I passed through a few outdoor/indoor exhibits until I found the perfect bench facing another cathedral that I sat at, book in hand to hide the fact that I was actually people watching. The city as a whole was a perfect mix of crowded without being over crowded. The balconies to the apartments I wished I lived in were draped with clothes, and bikes sat in nearly every doorway. This city had a way of making me feel at home in just a few short hours.

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After sitting, then getting lost, and finding a delicious panini shop, I figured it was okay to let myself do what I’d been extremely excited to do: shop. Now, I won’t bore you with the silly details but let’s just say I blacked out for about two hours and ended my spree wishing I’d bought that big, gold, deer necklace with the windy antlers.

Having only a couple hours left I wandered the city a little more, heading toward the Sagrada Familia and stopping in this gorgeous chunk of land that sat just to the side of the Arch di Triumph. Even though this isn’t the most talked about thing to see in Barcelona, something about it intrigued me. It was in that moment that I could imagine myself living in this city and going there every day to write, or read, or pretend to read and people watch. Had my gelato not been melting in my hand, making it sticky, I may have stopped and sat for the second time, ignoring the fact that my bus was nearing arrival. What a shame. I continued down the busy road, paused for optimum picture moments, and finally made my way to the Sagrada.

Unfortunately the outside was mostly under construction, so my pictures did not turn out entirely how I wanted but it didn’t matter. The building was stunning, and the inside even more so.

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I ran into a couple who were not only from the U.S. but from Los Angeles and we bonded over how despite it being touristy, Santa Monica pier is our favorite part of the city. Once realizing my bus left in thirty minutes and that was the duration of the walk alone, I sucked it up, hailed a cab and made it back to the station with time to spare.

Although Barcelona is potentially my favorite place so far, when writing this blog I found that I don’t have much to say about the city. The city effected me not in ways I could describe in the way it looked or the activities I did, but in the way it made me feel.

While leaving Barcelona, heading back to the hotel in Lloret and then again passing through to get to the airport I had this pit. This sinking pit in the bottom of my stomach that you get when you’re leaving someone you care about, or a job you love, or home for an unexpected amount of time. Right after you finish a big performance and you have this amazing rush but you know this show is over. This is how I felt while leaving Barcelona.

It could be that I haven’t experienced enough of Spain, or Europe as a whole, but considering I’m planning a trip back next month I think it’s safe to say this country will remain a consistent part of my life.

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