Though we’d been running around all day every day for the last few days, there was a lot of the city we still hadn’t seen. Bicycles, we thought, would be a great way to get around to everything. We rented the bikes for and 8-hour period and stared our journey through the cobblestone city streets. You know they say you never forget how to ride a bike? We realized that statement is completely false. Navigating through crowds of people while balancing on two wheels was definitely not as easy as I remembered it being as a child.
Though it was the hottest day yet, the cool wind caused by our fast pace made it bearable. Our first stop was the Parc de Cuitatella. This park had several historical buildings that were now being used to host botanical gardens within their well-lit atriums. These antique buildings and the flora that took over their interiors were a tranquil sight to see compared to the rest of the busy city.
The Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s lifetime work was the next stop on our bucket-list. Though I’ve learned a lot about the building in my architecture history classes, I had no idea the extent of the actual building. It was started in the early 1900s, and has yet to be completed. Currently taking up the tallest air-rights within the city, an even bigger spire is still in the works, and probably will be for the next 50 years. The outside awed us with its grand scale, unmatched detailing and funky street-frontage. We couldn’t leave Barcelona without going inside.
As we waited in line, an incredible rush of excitement overcame me. The inside was, in fact, indescribable. There’s no way to give words to the things that building made me feel. It was absolutely surreal and overwhelming and inspiring. My mind was blown by the fact that this building was not only designed, but built by humans out of raw materials with the help of sacred geometries. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I entered the pristine underwater realm. Fragments of soft-colored light entered the stained glass windows and playfully bounced around the white marble sculptures. I was smaller than an ant in the house of God.
Though I’m not a religious person, I think of myself as a very spiritual person. This building helped prove that there must be some sort of genius that watches over all and inspires people to do great things. As Gaudi said, “God inspires, we just have to let him lead us.” As we sat at the alter, I thought about these potent words on a very deep level. They really helped me to realize the incredible meaning behind the past year’s discoveries about myself and future career. I gave thanks while gazing up at my surreal surroundings. As we sat there, I began to weep as I thought about all the wonderful people in my life, the power of positivity, and the innate ability within each and every one of us to do and create beautiful things.
We rode our bikes uphill for the next hour in order to get to another Gaudi’s exhibition–park Guell. Though this park was beautiful, nothing would compete with the incomplete life-work of Gaudi that we had just seen. We begged a man to let us into the park before our scheduled time because we had to return the bicycles and we didn’t know if we’d make it back on time. Bikes were definitely the way to go when seeing the city. I almost wish we had rented bikes every day because it was by far my favorite transportation method. It was really nice getting from place to place quickly while the cool ocean breeze whipped through our hair.
Racing to return the bikes, Aria was almost hit by a car that was illegally crossing through a red light. He looked at her with disgust as if she were in the wrong, but everyone knew the truth. After we got back our deposit, we walked to the Plaza Espana to view a water fountain show like the one that goes on every hour at the Belaggio in Las Vegas. We watched once from close up, and once from the top step of the Museum of Art. Here, we drank boxed Sangria until far past midnight and reflected on how much we liked Barcelona as we stared out at the glistening city-lights down below.