Bittersweet Symphony: Barcelona, March 29

Barrio Gotic, Barcelona

It was love at first sight, me and Barca. I was barely here an hour and I felt the city breathe life into me…

…with its wrought-iron balconies (and the laundry and Spanish flags that often accessorized them), the distant clanging of church bells, the echoing conversations that resonated up my 8-feet wide street…the sound of life from every direction at all hours of the day and night.

I didn’t expect to have this many roommates. Or to live in such a loud alley. But I’m excited by it. I’ve never felt like more of a local. This is real life as a Catalan, all at my front door.

As a native San Franciscan, I find comfort in Barca’s chaotic urban symphony of sounds. I don’t even mind sleeping with earplugs. I’m a pretty heavy sleeper, but even I need them to sleep here!

Roaring motorcycle engines, the mini-market owner on his cell phone, and late-night barhoppers singing Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers theme songs at 4am as they stumble home: This is my moonlight sonata.

I spent my second night in Barca at Fontana Montjuic, a historic fountain with a nightly lightshow timed to a musical soundtrack. Thousands make the trek here every weekend night.

At first I found myself taking pictures of it on my iPhone. Then I looked around and noticed dozens of couples, and groups of friends dancing in front of the fountain, laughing, and taking pictures.

And although I was happy to be there, in that moment I felt lonely.

Because I didn’t have anyone to share it with…to laugh with…to sing Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” off-key while taking strategically angled selfies in front of the fountain.

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Fontana Montjuic

I don’t have pictures of myself at Fontana Montjuic. When you travel alone you get used to not being in your pictures. But I know I was there. And I’d like to think I etched these memories into my brain more deeply because I didn’t have anyone to recount the memories with.

I think that’s why I felt the need to keep this journal. So I can read back and remember feeling the fountain’s cool mist on my face…and the sound of thousands of people from all over the world singing in unison under the fluorescent glow of this beautiful fountain.

 

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