It has been a great 5 weeks but sadly varsity begins again and I’m still contemplating whether it is really necessary for me to actually go in tomorrow. All in all my holiday did not go the way I had expected it would. It was all quite anticlimactic and I thought I would just spend the next 5 weeks wasting away, avoiding human contact and going through whole seasons of series in a matter of hours… although that was true for the most of it, my holiday did take a sudden turn and might I say it was definitely for the better.
It all started with a few conversations but within 2 days my sister and I had managed to book flights and accommodation while our visas were being processed. This meant that within the next 3 weeks we would be on our way to Barcelona, Spain! At the time it all seemed too good to be true and at each moment I was waiting for something to turn around resulting in us not being able to go through with this trip, but thankfully it never did.
Last night we got back home from spending a week in the vibrant city of Barcelona. Now before I go any further I think it would be a good idea to point out this was the first international trip that my sister and I went on without my parents so more than anything else the experience was of a different kind.
After 3 long flights from to Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi then to Rome and finally Barcelona we had reached our final destination at about 5 pm. After taking a shuttle to Placa Catalunya we decided it would be a good idea to drag our large bags to our hotel through tourist filled streets (at the time it seemed like a good idea since our hotel was less than a kilometre away). This turned out to be one of our worst ideas yet! After walking to every corner of the square playing a guessing game trying to figure out which street was the right one, it was time to ask for help. Although even after receiving directions we still managed to get lost (might I add it was about 30°C and the streets were packed with people) but we pushed on… in between sweating through our clothes with the sound of our bags wheeling on cobblestones travelling in every direction). After what seemed like hours and turning a five-minute walk into about a 40 minute one, we finally found our hotel!
The next week was one the best time of my life (as cliche as that might sound), it was filled with delicious food, Gaudí, walking, days and nights on the beach, the blazing sun, loads of sunblock, sangria and of course the thousands of other tourists experiencing the culture of Barcelona alongside us. Now that the time has come for me to put this into words, it is almost as though what I say will never really explain what I experienced. I could tell you all about sipping drinks at 9 pm while the sun is still up watching street performances outside an ancient gothic cathedral. But there is nothing that I could say to truly describe the feeling I had sitting there in that moment, what the atmosphere was like and the way in which I knew that everyone around me had this feeling of unexplainable awe within them too.
When most people talk about Barcelona the first thing that comes to mind is Antoni Gaudí so it only fitting that I devote some of this post to what I came to see and learn about Gaudí. Just to name a few, Gaudí was the mastermind behind the Sagrada Familia (which is still being constructed today, a hundred years later), Casa Batlló and Casa Milà as well as Park Güell. Okay so briefly Gaudí was an architecture who lived around the late 1800s to early 1900s in Barcelona and the reason why he is so famous is that his style of architecture as well as his philosophy and context behind it. Because of this, most of the people during Gaudí’s time were not fans of his work (mainly because it did not fit in with the time). Gaudí tried to take his work away from the conventional at some time refusing to feature straight lines in what he built. He was also largely influenced by nature which you can see in a lot of his work such as the interior of the Sagrada Familia which was designed to look like a canopy of trees in a forest. Sadly, Gaudí died before being able to finish his work on the Sagrada Familia, which is only expected to be completed in 2026 but his legacy lives on all throughout the streets of Barcelona.
Don’t think that when you go to Barcelona the only ‘touristy’ thing you should do is see Gaudí’s work. I mean it is a definite must, but there is a lot more to Barcelona. Barcelona is amazing in the way that it appeals just everyone’s taste. You have the ancient buildings and labyrinth of streets in the gothic quarter, the bustling street of La Rambla, the amazing beaches, the trendy and vibey restaurants, clubs and bars that are found in every nook and cranny of Barcelona. Beyond this, the city is surrounded by amazing mountains with views to die for! I know it sounds a bit like I’m promoting but I just found it really amazing how there is so much in this single city. So over the next few days, my sister and I tried venturing to every corner of Barcelona making the most of every second of our trip. This left our feet aching and blistered but was definitely worth it! Although it still feels as though we did not manage to see everything especially when we would walk through the streets and manage to stumble across something new each day.