To Thee I Will Give-Barcelona

Last July, Brittany and I met while study abroad in France. While in Europe we were encouraged to travel on the weekends. Half way through our trip, we decided that we should head south, fleeing the unusually rainy and cold Brittany (France, no pun intended) summer. So we booked a trip to the global city of Barcelona. While there, we had no plans, and no real sense of Barcelona’s history or cultural highlights. So we winged the whole thing, which is my style. But not always logical…

According Catalan legend, on top of Tibidabo, a mountain to the north of Barcelona, Christ was tempted by Satan with all of the riches of the world. Brittany and I decided that this was a must see. But getting there was a mystery. I did some research in a Barcelona guidebook (which was in Catalonian), that our apartment owner had left out for us and found a route or two, to the top of the Tibidabo. After writing down all the public transit routes we were ready for our adventure.

The sun was beginning to get low, and if we timed it perfectly we would be able to watch the final rays of the Barcelona sun sink behind the distant mountains showering the city with golden light. I couldn’t help to suppress my smiles. Just thinking about being in an exotic city, with a beautiful girl, searching for the perfect sunset was a moment I would never forget.

Plaza de Catalunya is pretty much the center of Barcelona and was the starting point of our journey. Buying two bus fair tickets, we remarkably found two empty seats on the packed evening bus. Excitement was pouring over me. Every once and awhile, I caught sight of our destination looking down on us, willing us to come and visit. The bus took us higher and higher over the city, and all the while my smile was getting bigger and bigger. The crowded bus began to shed its passengers. Next thing we knew, Brittany and I were the only two passengers left. Turning around, the bus driver said something in rapid fire Catalonian that neither of understood in the least bit. I just smiled and nodded at him, while I felt Brittany’s glaring eyes stare me down. A minute later he stopped the bus, opened the doors, and stepped out to light his cigarette. We got out of the bus and there stood our Tibidabo...but on the other side of a valley. The bus driver waved us off, and we soon realized this was a part of Barcelona that most tourists would ever get to see, let alone want to. We were two well dressed, confused looking, college students, abroad, at dusk, with no sense of direction. With dogs barking, deserted streets, and not another tourist within yelling distance, all I could think was "you really did it this time Dyl."

This called for some back up. I had to turn on my cellular data to open up a map and see exactly where we were. Survival instincts were kicking in; I decided we should walk towards a green spot on the map that was presumably park. I got us into this mess and by golly I would get us out! Putting on stern, determined faces, we made it to the park in one piece. Once we were inside the park, we came across families with small children and even a runner who was oblivious to the outside world with his headphones blaring. We took that as a sign that the park couldn't be too dangerous and some of the tension was lifted off our sun burnt shoulders.

We happened to be in the safe and welcoming arms of Antoni Gaudi. We had arrived, somehow and rather miraculous, at his famous Park Guell. With a sigh of relief, we stretched out on a bench overlooking the sparking lights of the city far below, with a deep shade of blue in the distance, and got our perfect sight of the city catching its last breath of sun light before being swallowed by the night. This was bliss.

Finally making it home safely, and with our first full day in Barcelona behind us, Brittany and I were exhausted. The last of my thoughts were to my delight, (probably to Brittany's regret) because I knew we still had another full day of adventures in Barcelona, on the horizon.

D Schoettley

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