A mysterious city filled with gems visible to its viewers; enchanting its visitors with its gothic style buildings and fascination architecture are just a few of the marvelous things Barcelona could offer us apart from its long history and as well its vibrant and lively people. This is my Barcelona Travelogue.
It was a hot day in the middle of July when we landed, and as the salty ocean wind welcomes us and as my hair starts to tangle into a frizzy mess I thought to myself, we are no longer in Finland.
I’ve never been so fond of extreme heat but that said I am also not the biggest fan of cold either so, to be honest, I have no idea where I should belong at this point. This trip’s biggest reason was to break the cold we endured during the long winter days in Finland and I have to say that the extreme difference in weather was quite a shock and to my surprise, I did not complain and, in fact, I freaking loved it. I’ve complained long enough during the winter days and to feel the extreme heat in July is exactly how I envisioned summer should be and I was not disappointed as I melt away in the heat. It was divine to feel the burning sun on my skin besides I needed to work on my tan so yes, I was extremely pleased by the whole idea of this trip. July is Barcelona’s peak season and we did expect big crowds and I must say, we can’t be more right about that! It almost felt like as if all northern Europeans decided to have a trip and chose to be in Barcelona during mid summer. They were all there, the whole scandic population. ‘No matter’, we thought, because we are certainly the uninvited guests to this party!
I’ve been dreaming of visiting Barcelona after I finished reading ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlo-Ruiz Zafon, a Catalan author, and this book specifically talks about the mystery that paved the streets of Barcelona, the story revolves around certain characters with interesting persona. I was taken to imaginary land while reading this book; trying to envision if the city really does express the same mystery the book speaks of and that was the main reason why I was curious about this place. I got fond of unlocking the mystery I involved myself in my imagination and got so curious if the mystery really does exist in real life. Of course, I was aware that the book speaks fiction however Zafon wrote the book so well it felt almost real. When I finally had the chance to visit this mysterious place with my friends I was thrilled, I wanted to follow the map Zafon illustrated in his book and as well witness all of Gaudi’s world famous architectures and crazy designs which I am very fond of.
Apart from my fascination regarding Zafon’s novel and my mission to follow his character’s routes in Barcelona, I also need to consider my friends itineraries and what they have in mind; the three of us decided to get all various touristy things done while in the city and that includes visiting all famous tourist sites, walk like there’s no tomorrow and as well eat a lot of Spanish foods. We also cooked at the apartment we were staying and that was one of my favorite memories, the variety of fresh produce in Spain was unbelievable! We probably got a little bit cray-cray buying fresh seafood and cooking them with lots of garlic and wine… and then eat them with more wine and well, more wine. What can I say, we love wine and in Finland wine is expensive while in Barcelona you’ll get them cheaper than bottled water. True story. Also, we drank sparkling wine with breakfast because why the hell not. You only live once and you can’t bring wine to heaven. Or can you?
Anyway, amongst all the amazing places we visited one of my favorite has to be the Guell Park and as well the Casa Batillo which Gaudi designed – why? They are so crazy and the whole time I have been staring at those wild designs made me question Gaudi’s sanity and what the hell is going on in this artist’s mind? It is almost like he is showing off that he can break the norms by designing this crazy, beautiful and colorful buildings and actually gets commissioned to get them come to life. I let my imagination linger over his works and tried hard to keep my cool as I go gaga inside because I can’t believe I’m actually witnessing one of the greatest (and weirdest) architectural works in history. To be honest crazy is good and I like it, breaking the norms is like a breath of fresh air and I bet during his time it was a bit more difficult to be different considering the history he lived – nowadays a lot of us are so privileged and freely given the options to what or who we want to be. Crazy in this era is apparently becoming the new norms which I am quite okay with.
After dwelling ourselves to all these fascinating sites I personally had a time of my own and followed Zafon’s route and while envisioning his story along my way I was mesmerized and overwhelmed to walk the same path his character’s wandered on. From that fictional bookstore where Daniel Sempere works to that mysterious door, which encases a mysterious library hidden from the world, where Daniel found the damned book, The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax; which he got so fascinated that by learning more about the book and its author’s life story gave Daniel’s life so much significant twists. Much like how I got so taken by Zafon’s book – only my life doesn’t have that much awesome plot twists.
Looking back I have to say I didn’t spend enough time in Barcelona and if given a chance I would certainly go back and know the city even more. In fact, it is one of the city I wouldn’t mind moving for a while. Going there with my good friends was an extra treat and we had so many good laughs and as well great memories that we still speak about to this day. Including the fact that at night, the location our apartment was situated turns out to be the kind of place hookers like to stay. No kidding, we literally hear them at night fighting for their spots, calling each other ‘puta’ and I’ve even witnessed one running away with her customer’s money after a blow-job. Since I don’t mind crazy and so did my friends, it didn’t bother us as long as we get our wine and beers and don’t get bothered drinking them. Who are we to judge, we all need jobs.
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- Barcelona Travel Guide
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