Words can’t describe the feeling I have for Spain. Barcelona or Madrid. Spain will always hold a piece of my heart. This trip especially.
From the beginning, I told myself I cannot fall in love with Barcelona. My sister would kill me because it is not Madrid. But I cannot deny the fact that Barcelona has completely blindsighted me and stole my whole heart.
From the moment the trip started to the time I was back in my small room in Leiden. It was just perfection. I mean, I can’t complain because I was with all my friends in a country I love. What more could I ask for?
The trip started early Friday morning. Two thirty in the morning to be exact. I had no sleep and was running off of coffee and fumes. The plane ride was an experience. It was early in the morning and I had the pleasure of watching the sun rise while I was on my way to Spain.
We finally landed in Spain and found our way to our hostel. From seeing the first sights of Barcelona, I knew that it would be hard not to fall in love. The feeling I had being back in Spain was such a comfortable feeling.
When I had gone there two years ago, my spanish was not at all sufficient. Coming back after two years, I really felt accomplished. I was communicating and understanding it all. I was asking directions, ordering food, having conversations with locals. It felt so incredible to be able to speak another language. And being in Spain felt even more incredible. It just felt like I fit.
We began our day with lunch. All I dreamed of since booking my ticket to Barcelona was ordering my first jamon y queso y cafe con leche (ham and cheese and coffee and milk). The first day that we were there we did a walking tour of the city. It is an incredible way to see some of the best sights of Barcelona. We saw La Cathedral de Barcelona (Barcelona’s cathedral), the Born (Shopping district), the Gothic Quarter, and so much more. We walked the steps where Christopher Columbus decided he was going to trek to the great Americas. We saw the ruins of Barcelona, along with the palace of the old monarchy. We ended the tour at the Arco del Triunfo (Arc of Triumph). Yes, there is one very similar in the famous Paris. This one is kind of like a twin. We walked up and down the streets, in various parks, simply marveling at everything.
It was so surreal to be in Spain! Everyday felt like a dream and it just kept getting better.
By the evening, I had been up for over 36 hours and I was fading fast. We went back to our hostel, had a quick nap and then we went to see a light show. The light show was basically a huge fountain that they put a water and light show on for the public. It was such a magical feeling sitting on the stairs, watching this light show, and seeing the city of Barcelona in front of you.
After the light show, we headed to the port of Barcelona to indulge in some traditional Spanish food and drinks. We ate paella de mariscos (A traditional spanish dish with seafood), patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy sauce), and of course sangria. I ate everything on my plate and it was the best feeling in the whole world to be eating paella and drinking sangria right next to the sea.
The next day, we woke up early, got some breakfast and headed to La Sagrada Familia. La Sagrada Familia is a church in Barcelona. It was created by the famous artist Gaudi. Gaudi’s artwork can be seen all throughout Barcelona. He was known for his creative architecture that is incredibly different from the other gothic features in Barcelona.
After we ate a small snack, we found our way to Gaudi’s park, Park Güell. This is the park that Gaudi designed and it is in the highest spot of Barcelona. We hiked our way up, which felt like hours upon hours. It was as if we were walking parallel to the mountain, but we eventually made it.
We spent a few hours in the park, just soaking up as much as it as we could. We hiked to the tallest peak we could find and just sat and looked out at Barcelona below. We could see everything. The sea, the Cathedral de Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia. All the sights we had seen the day before, we were looking at from above the city.
Every moment of the trip had just been breathtaking and looking out over Barcelona was even more breathtaking.
After the park, we ate some lunch and made of our way back to our hostel to rest before we went out at night. That night we went to a bar called Le Cyrano. It was honestly the most unique bar I have been too. You payed three euros for a drink. The bartender then gave you the bottle of alcohol with a glass and you were free to fill it up as much as you liked. Another cool thing about the bar was how they gave you free popcorn with the drinks. Your table got a large bag of popcorn and you got to enjoy your highly alcoholic drink. It was absolutely genius. Safe to say, it was a great night, with great company, at an even greater place.
The next day, we decided, would be our beach day. Before we walked to the beach, eating some churros con chocolate was a necessary thing. Every morning, my goal was to get cafe con leche and eat something new. And I accomplished that goal.
On our way to the beach, we stopped at a supermercado (supermarket) and bought jamon (ham), queso (cheese), pan (bread) and of course, sangria. As soon as we got to the beach, my heart was full of joy. I honestly cannot describe the feeling I had seeing the Mediterranean. Just seeing the water, the waves, and the sunset in the distance made me feel so infinite.
We sat on the beach for hours, enjoying each others company, eating our food, and drinking our sangria.
I’m not going to lie, my eyes did swell up with tears first seeing the beach. It was just an enchanting day and I didn’t want it to be over.
After the beach, we went to a small tapas restaurant (traditional spanish appetizers) and I had finally got to eat tortilla espanola (spanish omelet). Which I had been dreaming about since I knew I was traveling to Spain. It was a wonderful way to end one of the best days in Barcelona.
On our last day in Barcelona, we spent it eating and shopping. We then made our way to Las Ramblas (a famous shopping district). We found ourselves at the entrance of an open-air market. (It was like El Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid). I wish we would have found this place earlier because it was miraculous. It had so much fresh fruit, fish, bread, anything you could have imagined. I bought myself ice cream and some fresh frutilla (strawberries).
We walked along Las Ramblas and then decided to have one last spanish meal before we boarded the bus back to the airport. I had my last spanish sangria and it was the best so far.
Boarding the plane, I couldn’t help but feel bittersweet. Being in Spain made me feel so fortunate. As the plane took off, I could’t help but start crying (yes, I was one of those people). I had just experienced one of the best weekends of my life. And as much as I didn’t want it to happen and I tried to stop it from happening, Barcelona completely and incandescently stole my heart. Every street, sign, person, food, the language. It all just captivated me and I fell in love.
If I had not felt fortunate before that moment, I did at that time. It was something I will ever forget. I was in a plane, leaving Barcelona, after one of the most incredible weekends of my life.
My heart was full. Although it felt so nice to be back in my bed in Leiden, I already missed the sun. I missed the beach, the warm weather (I didn’t wear a coat the whole time! I had 60 degree weather!), the food, speaking spanish. I missed everything and I had not even be gone 4 hours.
All I could feel after that weekend was just happiness. My heart was so full in that moment and it still is! Spain, for some reason, felt like home. I left a piece of my heart in Barcelona, and I know some time in the future I will go back and it will captivate me even more. I don’t know why or how, but it has made both me and my sister fall in love. And when I go back, which I know I will, it will be even more magical and feel even more like home to me.
Mi corazón se quede en Barcelona. Dejé todo mi corazón en España y voy a volver a recibirlo. Este país es lo mas mágico. España y el idioma siempre estarán en mi vida. No puedo esperar por la día que vuelvo. Hasta luego España. Te extrañare! Mando muchos besos.