You’re a city like no other. You aren’t perfect, but you’re unforgettable.
The truth is, I wasn’t really expecting you could draw an image in me. As you can see, I’m this solo female traveler type who avoids being traced by any fleeting moment, who hides from any shadow of emotions. I don’t invest much on feelings as I’ve been so used to a fast-paced world where everyone leaves, I didn't want to be left behind because the feeling sucks, and so I always wanted to leave first. I move from one city to the other, probably walking out of the hostel door the next day, and would just stick a post-it by the lobby saying “the lower bunk bed at the left is now empty.”
All this time, I thought I was already happy and contented with my travel. I thought I was on the right track. But when I came across you, I just suddenly felt lost with the path I used to take. Day by day, when I got to know more you as a city, you slowly made me feel like you're a place I just want to pause, or stop, or perhaps take a big rewind.
The truth is, all I really wanted back then was to set foot in Spain. It was in the dream of mine to explore several Spanish cities that I patiently listed long before. On top of that, it’s also part of the bucket list to tally as many countries I could visit in a lifetime. My target is 50. And that’s why it didn’t come easily into my senses that I would want to stay longer in one city like you, Barcelona.
For years, I was jet setting restlessly with no plans to stop and couldn’t utter any other better word than traveling. Searching for the very reason why, I realized that I was doing that to cover up what I couldn’t find: myself. Traveling had let me find temporary comfort in a chaotic world that has been. I never really asked myself this frequently, but the answer to the hounding question is that my soul was in search of a permanent sanctuary because it’s so tired of not being itself.
My peace suddenly got aligned with you.
I love your warmness. The fact that it's way warmer than other Spanish cities, I enjoyed walking daily through your historic Gothic alleys. You’re old, outdated, but you have an own way to keep up and remain at par with the new. You're also a grand city and yet you have a nearby beach. It’s like saying you look so stiff and formal, but not really. Honestly, at times of longing for home and at the brink of returning, your presence always made me feel warm. You simply gave me reasons to stay as you caressed me in the most valuable way.
At the same time, I love your coldness. While everyone knows that I simply can’t stand the cold, I’d always remember the cold nights in Barcelona that I braved and embraced with open arms. When I chose no warmer because I wanted to embrace your coldness, it's so odd to say that from me. Yes, you could be as warm as ever on summer days, but you have that unique coldness that got me frozen for days.
They say you’re very touristy dealing with different people every day, but as time went by, I discovered your quiet side, your tucked corners. Of all the places, Barcelona’s mountain side has got to be my favorite spot. There, I found the simple life I hardly have had with my life in the city. I realized that while I was always preoccupied with wanting something grand and loud next to me in life, contentment and true happiness are rather what makes me complete, and they’re found in the simplest things.
I find you very simple, but you make me happy.
Seeing you for the first time, right away I found a different kind of beauty. But don’t misjudge that I only look at the exterior, because I don’t intend to look at the obvious. To me, what’s more valuable are the things that aren’t easily seen. So while people are quick to say you’re just another bustling city, very few people know your hidden beautiful sides. People say to mind your stuff when walking around Barcelona as there are rampant pick pocketing and notorious bad hands, but I never felt more secured in the arms of your city and that only one thing got stolen from me: my heart.
Remember that from that sunny day at the Montserrat, I dropped my heart somewhere in the echoing mountains.
Please take care, Barcelona. I know you can't answer back right away, or maybe never. But as long as I was able to write you, I feel well.