When my partner was asked to speak at a conference in Barcelona months ago, she didn’t think I’d ever consider coming with her because I hate traveling, especially when it involves airplanes. But I thought about it and couldn’t think when I’d get an opportunity like this again and things in my life have been pretty stable lately, so I took a deep breath and did the unthinkable. I said let’s go! And so we bought plane tickets and booked a hotel room and I found myself making all the last minute preparations I needed to travel last week, like telling the bank not to decline my credit card for being used over seas and exchanging dollars for euros and now we’re here. And I’m so glad I came!
When I was fifteen I got an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity to go to a field station in the Bahamas for school credit, but that was the only time aside from the few trips I’ve made into Canada that I’ve ever been out of the country before. Barcelona is full of tiny little cafes and restaurants and tapas and all of it is delicious. Our hotel is a few blocks from the Mediterranean Sea, so every night we’ve sat at a beachside restaurant drinking wine and watched the sun set. It’s been pretty incredible. Even with my very basic, rusty Spanish I’ve been able to get around okay and thankfully a lot of people here speak English for when I’ve needed help.
I’ve been exhausted because this whole trip has felt like a whirlwind of visiting places and remembering to eat and breathe and trying to sleep at night but that’s been a struggle. But I’ve felt relatively calm and at ease here, which I’m often not in places away from home. Yesterday I got lost for forty five minutes walking home from the zoo alone while my partner was at her conference and I didn’t even panic! I just kept checking google maps and figured if I really couldn’t figure things out I’d eventually be able to flag down a taxi back to my hotel and while I wound up walking a long ways farther than I otherwise might, the pride I felt when I recognized where I was at the end and realized I’d done it was awesome. Which, if you know me, is huge. I usually panic about everything, especially when there’s any deviation from the norm!
Friday morning, we walked to La Sagrada Familia, an incredible cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudí in the 1800s which is still under construction today. Stepping inside it was breath taking and the pictures I took don’t begin to do it justice. It made me miss my Nana a lot, thinking of how much she would have loved to see such beauty and peace. We followed that up today with a visit to Palau Güell, a palace he designed for the Güell family in the gothic quarter of Barcelona and the Cathedral de Barcelona. Tomorrow we have plans to go to Park Güell. I don’t know what else we’ll get a chance to see before we have to fly back to Boston on Wednesday morning. This whole trip has just been amazing so far though. I feel like I’ve seen so much beautiful history. I’m so grateful to be here and so glad I took the leap to make this trip.
And I’m grateful to my partner for bringing me here for this experience. It wouldn’t be the same without her.