Barcelona was is a very funky, vibrant, artsy, hilly city. To me, it was almost like a European San Francisco. It was a city with a boundless culture, a mixture of languages, from Catalan, Spanish, and English, a mixture of people too, with lots of immigrants from different countries, and somehow both beach-side and metropolitan.
We originally started at the Platja de Castelldefels, a bit outside of the city. If you blocked out the Catalan and Spanish being spoken, it looked like the beaches on the East Coast with its blue-gray waters and a simple boardwalk. On our second day, we went to the Sagrada Familia. Even from the outside, it was insane, all the spires and construction cranes so high in the air that you have to crane your head back to look at it. We waited five hours, but we got tickets through some online phone thing, so we weren’t waiting in a line. We walked around and hung out at a cafe for a bit. As we prepared to go into the Sagrada Familia, I decided to keep my phone in my bag. One of my best friends had told me that it was best to just walk in and take it all in first, that’s how awesome it was. So I did and it was a moment I will probably always remember.
Even when you’ve seen images in textbooks and the Internet, you can’t prepare yourself for how you feel when you walk inside and see it with your own eyes. It’s honestly breath-taking to see the bright sunlight pouring through the stained glass windows, which cast an ethereal glow over the interior. It’s exquisite and unimaginable that something like that even exists. Better yet that somebody thought that up in their head. As I craned my head back to stare at the windows, I couldn’t help thinking that Sagrada Familia is a testament to faith and possibility and sacrifice. Gaudi knew it wouldn’t be finished in his lifetime. It must have killed him not to be able to see it come true. But he still committed his life to it, and there’s something lovely and poetic about that.
After having this moment, I finally felt like I could take a breath and enjoy the rest of the surroundings. I took out my phone, snapped some pictures. But even the pictures didn’t do the true experience justice. It reminded me that sometimes it’s better to just truly focus on being in the moment, enjoying it, and worry about photos for Instagram and Facebook later.