Sunday, May 20, 2012

bohemian rhapsody

For some reason, of all of the places that I visited throughout my final trip, I was most uncertain about Barcelona.  I had never been to Spain before so I had no idea what to expect.  I was nervous about the language barrier as well and also about the city's notorious reputation as a party capital.  Was I going to like it here?  As Alexis and I sat on the bus from the airport to the city centre, the only thing I can remember thinking is it is very clean.  I would soon come to realize, throughout my time in Barcelona, that this city was not only so much more but actually so much like me.

I first began to feel at home when I laid eyes on the famous La Boqueria market and its' many colourful stands of fresh fruit and vegetables.

It also helped that we had near perfect weather during our travels.  Although it was slightly breezy, we could not help but spend some time on the beach taking in a wholly different Mediterranean than what we experienced in Nice.

Barcelona also stunned me with its' absolutely incredible architecture.  On our first day, we explored the city by foot, wandering through the historic Barri Gothic quarter.  If the sun had not been shining brightly overhead, I would have felt like I was in the medieval streets of Paris.

However, the city's most stunning architectural example must be Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia.  We had to take the underground to get to this modern-style church, but the journey was certainly worth the effort.  

As I entered the basilica and stared up towards its' powerful vaulted ceilings, I remember thinking to myself why has no art history professor ever told me about this? 

When I learned the natural elements that inspired Gaudi's works as well, I loved this place even more.  When we finally emerged from the cathedral and its' museums though, we were both happy to be back in the sun.  We ended our day in the Parc Ciutadella, sitting in the grass amongst the locals.

As I enjoyed the sun begin to set in the distance, I looked around at the many others who had also come to the park to savour the last hours of daylight.  We also seemed so perfectly bohemian yet Spanish nonetheless.  For a moment, I forgot that I was sitting on the grass in an urban Barcelona park, and I felt as though I was back in the Plaza of the Americas in Gainesville gathered in a circle of my philosophical-college-hipster friends.  Yes, I was at home.