J and I started our last day in Tibidabo, the mountaintop attraction that, in fact, contains my favorite place in Barcelona. Not for the rides or the Ben & Jerry’s stand (though that one’s a close call) – nope. My favorite place in Barcelona is a little park set off to the side of the main path. I found it last year on my first trip to Spain, and I spent a good thirty minutes like a six-year-old swinging in the sun. It’s my favorite memory of my trip last year. ♡
This year, after J and I got massively and horribly turned around and lost and misdirected (in that order, rinse and repeat), we got to the top of Tibidabo and found out that Tibidabo is only really operational on weekends. Oops.
Still, it was fun to have the place more or less to ourselves. Ourselves, one family and their adorable blonde three-year-old, and this cat:
[Cat could not be reached for comment.]
After we descended the mountain, we decided to pick up O and her parents some pastries from Lolita Bakery. On the way, we saw a group of men having the most (and only) intense bubble-making conference I’ve ever seen in my life.
Also, this guy:
He and his two friends were doing some incredible street tricks on rollerblades. I couldn’t get over how talented they were.
The most impressive thing I’ve ever done on rollerblades is stop.
We got home early (around eight) and met up with O and her friend A for some farewell bravas. J and I finished packing and talked for a long time about the future instead of sleeping.
The real end of the trip in Spain didn’t hit me until J and I parted ways at the airport. While I waited on line to board my next plane, I spent some time thinking about just how much the country’s grown on me.
For a long time, because I didn’t know much about it, I overlooked Spain for more familiar countries: Ireland, England, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, etc. I’d visited them when I was younger, so I had tangible connections. It wasn’t until my favorite musician – a Japanese singer I consider to be one of my greatest role models – started showing an extreme fascination with the country that I started learning about Spain through him. His enthusiasm for it spread, and when an opportunity to visit Europe popped up last year, I decided to finally visit one of the only European countries I hadn’t been to yet.
Last year, I pretty much followed a map of things he’d recommended – mainly Gaudí’s works and Tibidabo and the beachfront. This year, since J and I stayed with O and her family for two weeks, I developed my own view of Spain apart from all the things I’d learned from my favorite musician.
Nearly all the people I met were friendly and quick to smile. I did, however, feel oddly refreshed when people seemed to think about it first before smiling back. In those cases, the genuine smiles I received were that much more heartwarming.
I loved all the tight-knit instances of family I saw on my trip, and the abundance of dogs. Seriously, Spain is Caninetopia.
I love the sound of Catalan Spanish. I’d never heard the “x”/”th” sound in Spanish before, so it fascinated me. I had French thrust upon me, but the little French I retained from school actually helped a lot with my understanding of Spanish. It wouldn’t be as difficult to learn as Japanese, I think, and before I go back again, I definitely have to master sentences at least.
I’m already making tentative plans to go back next year – this time, I want to see the south: Seville and Granada especially. The photos I’ve seen of Southern Spain are just brutally beautiful.
And now tis late, so to sleep!
Good night, fair citizens!