I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Barcelona. I first visited for a weekend while studying abroad. Because we were frugal college students at the time, we often skipped over museums to avoid entrance fees. This means that we didn’t enter the famed Sagrada Familia, or any of the other incredible places created by Antoni Gaudí. My next trip to the city lasted 3 months when 6 coworkers and I spent the summer living and working there. A funny thing happens when you move (even if temporarily) to a city. You don’t go to any of the places that make it famous because that would make you a tourist. So this summer when my Aunt and Uncle told me they’d be visiting Barcelona and invited me to join them for a few days, I knew it was the perfect time to finally get to see the things that make it so famous.
My week in Catalunya began in Roses where my boyfriend and I visited with his family, and enjoyed the last few beach days of summer. We drank great wine, dunked in the Mediterranean, and learned a thing or two about Salvador Dalí. Man was that guy … interesting. We visited his museum in Figueres and I left thinking I would have liked to ask Dalí a million questions had he not died in 1989. For example, what the heck is all this stuff?? We ended the weekend in an incredibly beautiful beach town called Cadaqués, minutes from the French border. I can see why so many people vacation in the area!
Jaime headed back to Madrid and I moved on to Barcelona where I met up with my family. Rarely do I get so excited to visit a place I’ve already been to! Immediately after arriving we were off, bouncing from one Barcelona icon to another, making sure to stop for tapas and wine often. We spent 3 days exploring the city, learning about its history (mostly about Gaudí and his work) and eating a lot of really amazing Catalan cuisine.
The most rewarding part of having a small part of my family visit was realizing how much I have learned about Spain. They let me ramble for long streches of conversations, sharing reasons why I love this culture and this country. Although my day-to-day does not involve visiting cool museums and imbibing the local liquids, I think it gave them a better idea of what life is like here.
Something else I learned while with them is how much I have changed as an individual since I discovered my love of traveling. They shared stories from my childhood (ones that I have no memory of) that involve me being glued to my parents side, and more stories throughout my teenage years not really showing any interest in a life outside of my hometown. Clearly things have changed. Although I don’t think life abroad will be my reality forever, I’m really grateful for these experiences and for a few leaps I’ve taken along the way to get me here.