My train out of Barcelona leaves in less than eight hours and I really should sleep, but my mind feels like reliving the past two weeks. I tried to approach this trip with no expectations and just let whatever happened happen and enjoy the experience. Whatever I thought was going to occur has been completely obliterated by these last two weeks. What I’m left with is awe, amazement, a smile, and more memories than I could ever have imagined.
I’ve tried to figure out how to write about what Barcelona is like for the better part of two weeks and I still don’t have it pinned down. Everyone has been to one place or another and thought, “Oh, there’s something going on here.” Barcelona is at the top of that list for me currently. There is an energy and spirit here that I’ve never felt before. The city sparkles in the daytime with architecture, shops, and cafes that would be the envy of anyone. At night, however, the city cranks it up to eleven.
To call Barcelona a “night city” would be like calling Wayne Gretzky “a hockey player.” Just like Gretzky is THE hockey player, of the places I’ve been, Barcelona is THE night city. Clubs start getting busy around two in the morning and I’ve seen the sunrise on multiple occasions while heading home. Anyone who knows me knows my truly legendary lack of dancing ability. Normally, I try to avoid those places and avoid looking like a complete fool, or at the very least sit at the bar and watch from the sidelines. Here, I found myself unable to avoid getting drawn onto the dance floor and awkwardly twitching to some sort of rhythm, typically not the correct one.
Traveling on your own is a very lonely proposition (one which I’ll tackle in another post in greater depth) even for someone who is comfortable being on their own, or meets people very easily. I was very fortunate to have met a variety of people from around the world while staying here. From going out until sunrise to just sitting on a boardwalk on the Mediterranean talking and soaking in the scenery, I’ll have great memories of the people I met here. They all had one thing in common though. Each and every person talked about the same energy. They all talked about how great this place was and how they’d never been anywhere quite like it.
Barcelona is a place of tangible beauty. From architecture, to scenery, and yes, to the people (there is not shortage of attractive people here), the city is absolutely lovely. However, that’s not what defines its greatness. The intangible qualities of this city have to be experienced in order to understand why people from across the world will be talking about how they had the time of their life in Barcelona, including some gangly, awkward kid from Northern Iowa who should never be allowed on a dance floor.