Erasmus Experiences: getting inspired by Barcelona (2012)

Barcelona was my last big trip in Spain while in Erasmus. It was the place I wanted to visit the most and I couldn’t wait. Unfortunately, I did get very sick just before the trip – the seasonal flu had got me a bit earlier that year, just towards the end of October. I pushed through. Some fever, a running nose and a light headache were not something to fret about back in the day.

I went with a friend, and we stayed in a hostel that cost us seven euros a night, near Sagrada Familia. At that price, you can only imagine the conditions. It was not great, the bathroom was disgusting, and we had to climb a few floors.. and in my frail state, I was without breath when I reached the poor lodgings. Still, I was not bothered by it at the time. I was in Barcelona and that was all that mattered.

My flu persisted during my first day. I kept swallowing ibuprofen, helping to keep my body pains at ease, and the fever down. However, a very unexpected symptom decided to show up – a torrent of blood running from my nose. I had to run off the Sagrada Familia cathedral, and jump the queue to the toilets, as my nose seemed to be about to be the gate from where all the blood of my body was going to come out. I had bled from my nose twice in my life. One was when I was in middle school during an exam. And then in Barcelona, profusely, when I was admiring the magnificent Sagrada Familia. It’s just how my life seems to work, I’m afraid.

You won’t find anything else like this in the world.This Cathedral is not overrated – it is unique, merging religion with Nature motifs – it definitely doesn’t seem to be the creation of men.

Even though I was quite sick on the first day of the trip, in general, I recall having a good time and really enjoying the city. Actually, I was inspired. I was probably also a bit high from the meds I kept taking to ensure I wouldn’t pass out. I remember being so impressed with the city, I was actually exhilarated with energy, to the point my friend had to remind me we had to eat. On a very tight budget, we sat at a McDonald’s, and I recall ordering a Happy Meal – the cheapest choice, but I’m sure my body would have liked some more sustenance.

Barcelona was warm and humid, two things that do not help my flu to cure very well. But well I was basically 10 years younger and was just realising the world was there for me to explore. I was ticking off the list of amazing places, and my excitement didn’t seem to die… I was in awe with being a live witness to Gaudi’s famous architecture, to the lively city of Barcelona, was inspired by the moody skies and the ability to finally – for some reason this was an achievement for me – touch the waters of the Mediterranean sea.

I would love to visit again at some point though, by myself, healthy and strong, and with some more money in my pockets so I don’t have to stay in a dodgy hostel. But that’s how things went before, and I regret nothing.

Barcelona is majestic indeed, but tricky. At least when in comparison to Madrid – it wasn’t as friendly. I am biased though… Madrid has, as I mentioned multiple times before, a very special place in my heart. We had a lady that refused to speak Spanish with us – we can’t forget the never-ending claim for independency the region of Cataluña has been fighting for, having their own dialect and proclaiming not being a part of Spain with passion. So you mustn’t forget… you’re visiting Barcelona. And for a lot of the locals, you can’t say you have visited Spain, if Barcelona is the only destination.

Any of this bothered me, as I was surrounded by the works of Gaudí. I was finally witnessing the incredible Sagrada Familia. The interior is even better than the exterior… so yes, pay that ticket and visit that unfinished Cathedral, it is worth it indeed. I would pay one day once again, hopefully without the threat of tainting the floors of this place with my blood.

Our last day was dedicated to Parc Guell – a playground for anyone, whether a fan of Gaudi or not. It is colourful and unique, it felt like I was inside of the tale of Hansel & Grettel. For some reason, the colours and the materials made it look to me like everything was made of candy and biscuits.

That’s all for today – this really made me want to go back to Barcelona soon. I’m still figuring out my year, so who knows 🙂

For my posts on my Erasmus experience, please visit here.

Love, Nic


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