It’s only a few weeks late, but I figure better late than never in keeping you updated on the amazing parts of the world I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.
Barcelona was a long time coming. It was a trip my friend and I had planned in September, inspired by a Groupon that she wanted to buy for her birthday in February. We purchased the tickets and booked the trip, taking care of all the necessary details. We eagerly awaited the chance to see the sun in the middle of an English winter. We packed, trekked, and arrived at the airport. We were denied flying.
Apparently overbooking is still a common practice, as when we arrived at the airport, there was only one seat left on the plane. Mind you, I had confirmed our check-in, and we arrived nearly two hours before our flight. None the less, we sadly returned back to London to drink our sorrows away at a tapas bar, and decided to reschedule. Since it hadn’t worked for her birthday, we decided to go for mine. So, as late April approached, we repacked, re-trekked, and successfully boarded a plane to Spain for a lovely weekend.
At first, I reserved judgment on the city. After having traveled so much, I know now that the places I have loved most have taken some getting used to. There is no city in the world like London, where I arrived and fell in love “at first sight”. Naples was somewhere I came to adore after recovering from the fever haze I viewed the city through. Munich was overshadowed by London, but later came to be a place I wanted to explore even more. (Shanghai started out quite precariously, but became an exotic and captivating place the longer I stayed… but I’m getting ahead of myself here!)
Barcelona though, was so quintessentially Southern Europe: long boulevards, Baroque architecture, palm trees, sunshine, and a way of life that reminds me of a town called Leland, Michigan where everyone descends for the summer, lives in a haze of water-based activities, eats delicious food, and leaves in the Autumn. Basically, it was a summer town in my mind, which when taking a weekend vacation, was exactly what the doctor ordered.
The food, too, was so amazing. We ate tapas for every meal and drank sangria nearly everywhere we found it. I had breakfast tapas of baked goods and egg cassarole. I had lunch tapas of smoked meats and cheeses with champagne. I had dinner tapas of calamari and horsemeat hamburgers and fruit with cream sauce. I gained a lot of weight. (I did, but it was okay, because it was amazing, and we walked a lot.) Every city I have visited has its own style of food, but Barcelona was distinct and lovely and much more in line with my preferred way of eating, which is little bits of everything, every so often.
We saw the Sagrada Familia and the Parc Guell, as well as one of Gaudi’s townhouse buildings in the city. I’m not a huge fan of the style of architecture, but it was so different than anything I’ve seen or studied before, it was certainly a learning experience. It’s amazing too, to think that one man could single-handedly influence and entire city’s architectural style.
After a lovely walk through tall and narrow alleys among hanging clothing with the sun coming down in shafts of bright white light between buildings, we arrived at the beach. A beach, folks, with sand. Real, hot, messy sand, which is of course the best kind. We laid on beach chairs and observed the locals, tanning themselves despite the earliness of the season. I also put my feet in the Mediterranean Sea, which is a baby step on my bucket list. To spend even a few minutes in unadulterated bliss before the source of all energy we’ve been able to capture, we headed back to the port. Perhaps more excitingly, we took a sailing tour out in the harbor. We learned basic sailing and spent an afternoon getting wind and sun burned before toasting the view of the city as we sailed around the port.
Barcelona was a beach town, made for bumming and snacking and sipping. I enjoyed it, though it doesn’t climb to the top of the list. It’s holds so many secrets that we didn’t explore, from dancing to Catalan to Vicky Christina Barcelona Spanish men sweeping us away. There’s a lot left to explore, which is the best way to feel about a city.