Last weekend we celebrated a “puente” or long weekend in Madrid and I decided to get outta town and see Barcelona. It was my first time there and I fell in love with the city. All my life I have lived along the coast and since moving to Madrid, which has no beach, I have realized how much I miss living by water. I was crying tears of joy when I saw the ocean in Barcelona! I don’t know what it is, but there is just something different in the air when you’re by the ocean. I feel happier and more connected to a place when it’s along the coast. Lesson learned. After Madrid, you will find me somewhere close to the sea. One thing we noticed was that most people in Barcelona speak English, compared to in Madrid where it’s not so common. The dialect in Barcelona is also different; they speak Catalan. I was honestly a little nervous to visit Barcelona because on the news I’ve seen that there are a lot of protests due to the Catalan independence movement, but we only saw one protest and it was pretty mellow. I’m not super aware of the details but I know that the region of Catalonia, which includes Barcelona, wants to separate from the rest of Spain. I also know that Barcelona makes the most money compared to the other regions of Spain because of the loads of tourism, so there is probably economic factors behind the movement as well. If you’re interested in learning more about the Catalan independence movement, I have heard that there is a great documentary on Netflix that looks at the roots of this issue.
So, I spent three nights and four blissful days with Renee and Elin at St. Christopher’s hostel, which was actually my first time staying at a hostel. The best way that I can describe the hostel experience is that it is similar to camping, but in a hotel building with a bunch of international, young travelers who are on a budget. Its a great option if you want to save money, but just be ready to share a room with some strangers and have communal bathrooms and showers. If you’re traveling alone, it’s an awesome way to meet new people who also share your love for exploring.
We did a lot of the typical touristy things in Barcelona: strolled down Las Ramblas- which is a lively street with lots of restaurants, cafe’s, and little markets, went to La Boquería-which is a huge market with a variety of fresh local foods and treats, wandered through several Christmas markets, hiked through Park Güell and saw Gaudí’s architecture creations, witnessed a light show at The Magic Fountain, went to the Picasso museum, toured La Sagrada Familía-which is a massive church started by Gaudí and still currently under construction until 2026, walked around the marina, and enjoyed the beach.
My mom always says that traveling is food for the mind and I’m really beginning to understand that statement. You learn so much about yourself, about others, and about life in general. Traveling teaches you how to be adaptable and resilient. With traveling and in life, things don’t always go according to plan; there are hiccups, detours, and many surprises along the way, but that is totally okay and part of the fun. I’ve realized that the best game plan for traveling and for life is to show up with a good attitude, relax, and enjoy the ride.