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And life was never the same again: How Barcelona stole my heart

BCN1Can you recall a moment from your travels that has really shaken your soul? A moment that has changed you forever?


Well, here's mine.


As I sat watching that sun set over Barcelona from the incredibly beautiful Parc GÜell earlier this year, something clicked (and for once, it wasn’t just my dodgy shoulder).


I made the decision at that very moment to make some big changes in my life. I was going to stop judging my life’s path by everyone else’s, and start creating my own. I was going to stop worrying about being ‘successful’ in other people’s eyes, and learn to define my own success. And I was going to make travel a priority.


I think we connect with places in the same way we connect with people. Sometimes there’s just an undeniable chemistry. And if that’s true, then I am head over heels in love with Barcelona. No no, not in a creepy way (suddenly reminded of those people who marry inanimate objects..). I’m talking about those travel destinations that draw you back time and time again. Where no matter how many times you visit, you’re never quite satisfied. The places you can’t get out of your head.


So what is it about Barcelona for me, you ask? Okay, I’ll tell you.


1. Beautiful architecture EVERYWHERE


It feels like it never ends. We have to thank Gaudi for his contribution, but everyone else did a pretty great job too. I ask myself everyday why the Santa Maria Del Mar Church isn't my house? 


2. The passion of locals


I love listening to locals gush about their home. And this has happened more in Barcelona than any other place I’ve visited. Everyone just seems happy to be there - and that is infectious. This busker had found a secluded spot in Parc GÜell to sing his merry heart out. But I found him - and I gave him a big fat pile of Euros and an even bigger smile as payment for making my day.


3. The energy


The atmosphere in Barcelona ignites something in me that I struggle to put into words. The passion, the zest for life, the pride, the romance, the over-smiles (those smiles that hurt your face and give you wrinkles), the emotion, the drama… it just brings everything that’s wonderful right to the surface.


4. Tapas. All over my face.



I appreciate this one is a little obvious. But I’m not sure it gets much better than tapas. I am a massive food envy sufferer - and ordering a bunch of small dishes really solves that problem for me. I also love the fact that it encourages communal eating. This photo may be a little overexposed and a bit ropey in quality, but it’s actually one of my all-time favorites. Here I am in Taller De Tapas with a bunch of new friends having a right old knees-up—I just remember feeling sublimely happy. Oh, and the food was like heaven.


5. The visitors  (She says, blowing her own trumpet)


I don’t think there’s a universally wonderful traveler community. Albeit rare, I have traveled to certain places (*cough* Koh Phi Phi *cough cough*) that have left me feeling alienated and, dare I say, a little lonely. But my trips to Barcelona have introduced me to some truly amazing people that I know will be in my life for a very long time. 


Barcelona: I owe you.


You can read more of thepoormadonna's travels and adventures on her site, THE POOR MADONNA


and more TravelGumbo posts about BARCELONA and SPAIN


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I love Barcelona. It is one of the few cities that I feel I could live in, if I were to leave NYC. Large enough to have an active cultural and social life that is not dependent on tourists, small enough to be able to get around and do things without a car.


Lovely things to look at. Great food.



My friend jokes that I am the Queen of reinvention - much like Madonna (the musician type). Forever having a complete change of heart about my life's direction. But I've decided to embrace that now change is good! Keeps things interesting.

Wholeheartedly agree Jonathan and Paul. In fact I applied for a few jobs there in the summer! I'm still considering it...

Oh, and that tapas place! Just brilliant. Was completely worth the 40 minutes we had to wait for a table!

excellent article and pictures.... I can relate with many of the personal comments you make; decisions you make in life should be for yourself first. I too made a decision to leave home, family and friends and see the world. It was tough at first, but, once you explore and experience, you don't look back. Congratulations!

The journey starts with you. Just open that door and start walking!


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