That Time Barcelona, Spain Stole My Heart


guellAs a musical buff, I always tend to find quotes of inspiration from the songs of great musicals. One lyric in particular from the musical ‘Rent’ has always struck a chord with me.

‘Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.’

It’s always seemed like wishful thinking to me, a nice little sentiment, a good philosophy to live by but then forget about after two weeks however standing at the top of the Passion Facade, one of the towers of the majestic Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain- it was something that became a reality to me.

Something happened to me last August- the need to travel hit me. I wanted to go somewhere, to see something new, to try something adventurous for the first time in my life. I’m not an impulsive person; I’m always planning and worrying but never actually doing anything. There was something about Barcelona that just seemed to call out to me. It seemed fun, vibrant, busy- everything my life wasn’t. Hans Christen Anderson described Barcelona as having ‘movement and life’ and that’s what I wanted to experience.

I had no one to go with and I’d never been anywhere on my own so this was it: do or die or maybe something less dramatic like traveling solo. It was still a scary decision for me but I felt like I had to move heaven and earth to go. It was one of those ‘now or never moments you get in your life.

I think the moment I first felt free was when I reached the top of the tower at the Sagrada Familia. Bursting out of the too small lift into the sun and being able to see Barcelona, it felt like coming home. As you make your way down the tower you get to see all of the scribbles people have left on the walls but it doesn’t feel like graffiti, it feels like your friends have left you stories to help you on your way.

You can get a similar feeling of awe from view at the top of Parc Guell. You feel so removed from the city but to be able to look over it, it’s like a feeling of omniscience, as if you can see everything there is to see and know everything there is to know about Barcelona. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to look down on the beauty of the whole city.

To experience life and vibrancy, one of the best times to go to Barcelona is during the Le Mercè festival, which is when I happened to be there. Four days full of fireworks, music and colour. It is a festival to celebrate the patron Saint of Barcelona and what a celebration it is. From the fire-breathing dragons that roam the streets at night to the amazing street performers, it’s something that just shouldn’t be missed.

La Rambla almost has a notorious reputation for the pick pockets and the stalls selling pets throughout the day but it’s always somewhere you gravitate back to, like it’s the heart of the city. With the beautiful beach and harbour at one end and the scenic Plaça Catalunya at the other, where mounds of pigeons flock and surround the beautiful fountains. You also gravitate towards La Boqueria, the amazing and busy food market full of enticing sights and aromas, it truly is unique to have somewhere so busy but feel like you can take the time to stop and savour everything.

Of course, you cannot forget the amazing magic fountain. I saw it on my last night in Barcelona and I was mesmerized. I could have stayed all night if it had kept going. The colours, the music and the grand scale of the fountain just summarised everything that Barcelona means- colour, tradition, music and vitality.

There will always be things you wished you’d done, both in your travels and in your life but it’s all about changing your perception. This isn’t a time for regret; it’s an opportunity to go back. Barcelona is that place to me. This trip was in no way easy; I hated the idea of eating alone at night, sitting there surrounded by couples and groups of friends. I also dreaded finding my way to the hotel, even though I picked the one in the easiest location I could find but this trip taught me how to not just survive but live and enjoy it. I got by on my own in a country where I didn’t understand everything or everyone and I loved it. I loved that I gave myself a chance to find something new and live life in the moment and Barcelona is truly the place that can inspire you to do that.

About the Author:  My name is Amy and I’m twenty two years old. One of the questions I hate the most is ‘where are you from?’ It doesn’t matter where I’m from, what matters is where I’m going! I’m an avid blogger and all round creative soul, I love making art and music! I’m a fan of American sitcoms and anything cheesy.

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Amy Smith

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