Let´s try not to start this long overdue post with the obvious fact that I have not been blogging in ages and discuss this familiar and typical but nonetheless stunning view of Barcelona.
Back in November, I visited the city for the second time. My first visit was in the summer of 2014, when I was just a young and free-spirited 20 year-old solo female traveler. Four days were spent in the summer heat and under cloudy sky. I remember the days to be gloomy, matching my mood. I did not have the best time. After coming from Mallorca where the roses are red and the skies are blue, I was disappointed, to say the least. There were way, way, way too many tourists and they gave me anxiety and a slight headache. I should mention that I actually vomited once or twice, perhaps from the food or the water. To this day, I still don´t know what caused the illness.
My second visit was more or less involuntary. I wanted to attend a dirt track race and see my favorite rider compete, not to visit the city itself. My friend planned to go as well but at last she could not. I almost retreated myself, but figured I could use some time alone and away from Madrid. Besides, there would be familiar faces on the pit anyway, and they were expecting me. So I just went with it.
Not to go into details about how I missed my flight at 7 in the morning and decided to take the train instead, I arrived in Barcelona exhausted but managed to have a good time. The event took place up the hill of the Montjuic mountain in Palau Sant Jordi, which has become my most favorite thing about Barcelona. It ended at midnight, and of course, no taxi in his right mind would be driving around expecting customers. Perhaps they forgot to take into account that there was a major event. But with the help of my life-saving Spanish smartphone and Google Map, I was able to locate a correct bus stop and caught the last bus back to my hostel. Moments like this never fail to add to my self-confidence.
The next morning was a glorious, warm Sunday, mind you, in November. The sweater weather was perfect for a stroll in the city. Being the now 21-year-old free-spirited solo traveler, I stayed as far away as possible from the symbol of the city (La Sagrada Familia) and saved my 20 euros. Instead, I went up to the Montjuic again early (early being 8/9 in the morning but the people seemed to still be sleeping) and took a panoramic photo of city and spent some quiet time pondering about its beauty.
Feeling regenerated from the city and self-reflections, I made my way down again and took a metro as far away from the city as possible. Hopping off at the end of Line 4, I could not help but made my way to the ocean again. I sat on the promenade and gazed off to the edge of the waterline and captured the moment:
It was just what I needed. Being far away from everything and everyone I knew but in a place that I already knew. Accompanied only by the Mediterranean breeze and my own thoughts, I took the time to appreciate Barcelona as it is. No comparisons, no expectations. This short little trip taught me to sit back, relax, and things will present themselves only to those who are present and aware. In the end, it was an excellent decision to re-visit the city, not only to see more of it, but to learn more about myself and grow.
Oh, by the way, I think I fell in love with Barcelona.
Madrid, Saturday, March 5, 2016, after breakfast of homemade café con leche with bread and nutella, just before noon.