Until I Am Whole (Trip to Barcelona)

“I think I’ll stay here
Til I feel whole again
I don’t know when.”

The Mountain Goats – Until I Am Whole

Three references to cats in one photo. On brand.

So, it turns out the secrets to having a great holiday are:

  1. Go through utter hell during the months preceding it
  2. Feel too miserable to really acknowledge that the holiday is coming up
  3. Don’t plan anything
  4. Have no mobile internet

Barcelona was always the plan. When I got my current job, I promised myself I’d go there with Shannon for her birthday. 2 years ago her family paid for me to go to Greece – it felt like the right thing to do and also, I really wanted to go abroad with her again.

Life has been hectic for the past wee while. I moved across the city to live with an old school friend, I had hospital appointments and I really just had to try to get my shit together. I didn’t have time to get excited for Barcelona – it’d probably be shit, anyway BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS AND FUCK THIS YEAR.

So, when it was finally time to leave, I was so wracked with mental health issues and sheer exhaustion that I still wasn’t excited. I was just really sad. My mental health has really dipped, unsurprisingly, and I have been privately wallowing. I love silver linings but honestly, I’m a little tired of seeking them. I’m just tired.

Two bottles of prosecco, a chatty flight and some shared pretzels later, I was excited. And I was in Barcelona. There was a thunderstorm but I really didn’t care – I was in *in* Barcelona! After much kerfuffle and finding out that some streets in Barcelona have two names (not annoying at-all, promise), we finally made it to our tiny hostel room. It was plain, it was uninspiring but for the next three nights, it was a place to lay our heads.

Armed with gin and adrenaline, we settled onto our cosy balcony and looked out at the buildings surrounding us. Barcelona is beautiful. In the dark, in the rougher areas, it’s beautiful. I’ve never seen anywhere like it.

barcelona

On our first day, we decided to go for a short walk, just to see the local area. Turns out that our local area was, in fact, Las Ramblas. A tree-lined market sprinkled with vibrant floral displays and on our first day, under a clear blue sky. It was so alive! Our “short walk” turned into 6 hours and before we knew it, we’d seen a massive chunk of Barcelona. It was all accidental, there was no itinerary and that is exactly what we both needed it to be, I think.

Aimlessly wandering around a gorgeous city with one of your favourite people is a really great way to blow cobwebs out, I’d recommend it to everybody.

I couldn’t share a lot on snapchat, instagram or any other social network. Nobody could contact me until I got back to the hostel. This used to be something that really freaked me out and caused intense anxiety but it was wonderful. Nothing home had to tell me couldn’t wait. I’d had enough news.

I wanted sunny skies, fruity sangrias and to be around people that understood me. Nothing else had to matter for a few days.

barcelona

I love Glasgow. More than anywhere else in the world, I love Glasgow. I needed to see another city, different friends, experience a world so separate to my own to really be able to come back and appreciate the life I have, even just for a little while.

The friends we went to visit have built their own lives, have their own tiny world that we were lucky enough to get a small glimpse of. From restaurants with unbelievable comfortable seats, to a tiny ice cream parlour even right down to their favourite delis and eating brunch (who am I?) with the friends they’ve made since moving there… It was so refreshing.

We found a fairytale themed bar, with stories in photo frames and tiny fairy pools. Dark and secluded, it was a stark contrast to the clear skies and vibrant colours but it was gorgeous. Another accidental treat. The other memorable bar was on a side-street from Las Ramblas. It was essentially a hole in the wall with four stools in front of it. Fake flowers, disco balls and Christmas decorations. It was every bit as tacky as it was dreamy. The barman made a promise that if I could guess where he was from, I’d get a free shot.

Italian.

Free shots all round.

barcelona-tiny-bar

After a night of homemade sangria, dinner cooked for us and a surprisingly tasty dip made of dried onion soup (honestly!), we only had one day left in beautiful Barcelona.

We had brunch, walked around the city centre and made the most of our final day. We didn’t do much sight-seeing but we did remember to always look up. It’s a great rule for most cities but especially Barcelona. There is so much beauty. So much.

City breaks are supposed to be jam-packed with activities, itineraries and early mornings. They’re supposed to be so much more than what we did but Barcelona isn’t a place you only visit once. I know that now, already.

Sometimes you don’t need to tick all the boxes, sometimes you just need a break from your own world.

I am a bit of a homely soul and I am usually happy to be coming home from holidays but this time I wasn’t ready. I cried quite a lot. My little corner of the Earth didn’t seem appealing to me, at-all. I just wanted to continue wandering aimlessly, accidentally stumbling on gorgeous architecture and becoming rosy-cheeked with sangria.

It was only a few days but I think being unplugged and without obligations really soothed my bruised soul. The reminders that the world outside of my own tiny bubble can be so beautiful gave me a new perspective and while I wasn’t ready to leave, I think that’s the best way to feel. I spent 3 days with people I really truly adore, in a gorgeous city and none of the memories are even slightly tainted. It was just a gorgeous way to come back to life.

Thanks Barca, thanks pals, I can breathe again. x

Recommended:

Hostal River for a cheap, basic hostel that is very clean and very central
Fabrica Moritz for affordable food, very comfortable seats and a lovely atmosphere (also cava sangria!)
Gothic Quarter for gorgeous architecture, interesting stores and a lively taste of Barcelona

 

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