Monday morning began with a bit of anticipation and dread. It was time for us to leave Barcelona and yet, we had no complaints about going back to our homes in Grenoble. The night before, we realized that because our flight was 15:45, we had enough time to squeeze in one last visit as long as we woke up early. After 4 days of exploring, the last thing we wanted to do was wake up early. However, there was still one thing on everyone’s list that we had yet to do: visit La Sagrada Famlia.
The other day, as I passed by one of the free walking tour guides, I overheard him say, “You can clearly see Gaudi’s skill from the outside of his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, but it is inside where it really hits you.” After visiting, I have to agree with this statement.
We chose the ticket that included an audio-guide. Although it was very informative and provided for some great accompanying music for your stroll around La Sagrada Familia, I feel as if most of the information you would’ve gotten by reading the totems littered around the floor. The numbers that explained the different façades of its exterior, I had already heard on the Gaudi free walking tour.
One of the numbers invited me to join those in the middle and to have a moment of silence. So I sat there for a while, recounting my experiences in the city; my first experience traveling internationally with friends, my first experience of Spain—everything.
Sometimes, you need to take a trip away from home in order to more appreciate it. Sometimes, although you may fall in love with a new city, the thought of returning to your host city is irresistible—the familiar smell of your bedsheets, the muted peacefulness of your room whose sole occupant is you, the confidence in your knowledge around the city.
Short-term traveling is tiring. It is trying to experience the essence of a city within a few days, or maybe it’s the expectation that you must try to learn the city during your short stay. In some ways, short-term traveling doesn’t allow you to ever reach completion in the way that I’ve felt in Grenoble.
In addition, traveling with others is extremely different than traveling solo. I always approach things from the opposite end of the spectrum and seem to do things completely differently than is the norm. Before traveling with any of my friends—not including school breaks within the states—I first became hooked on traveling alone. Unlike others, whose safe spaces lie in the solidarity of their rooms or the boisterous kitchen back at home, mine lies in traveling. Traveling allows me to be independent, bordering on selfishness; it allows me to be who I want on any given day with no one expecting a consistency in personality.
While I was planning my Barcelona trip, I predicted that though I would end up missing most of the sights planned to see, I would make it up in fun times with my friends. That statement proved to be true, but mostly in terms of meals and nightlife. However, I’m at a place where I’m unsure how my emotional state is coloring my views right now.