All travel adventures have their ups and downs. Hopefully more ups than downs for the sake of the traveler but every once in a while there may be a particularly dreadful down that dampens your spirits for a short period. Such was my experience in Barcelona, Spain.
Barcelona, a city full of marvelous architecture, beautiful landscapes, and delicious seafood, seemed a fantastic place to spend a few days of our spring break. In many ways, it was unbelievably surreal; however, as charming as the good parts were, beneath the city, Barcelona’s metro was not quite as charming.
Less than an hour upon arriving in Barcelona, we waited for the metro to take us to Horta. As it came into view from around the bend, I nudged my friend and carefully instructed her to watch her things because Barcelona is known for pick pocketers. Dragging our luggage, souvenirs from other travels, backpacks, and more, we made our way to the metro as it came to a screeching stop. My five friends boarded the metro and as I went to follow them three large men placed themselves directly in the doorway. Assuming they were trying to get off the metro at this stop, I politely tried to get by, apologizing for being in their way. I quickly realized I wasn’t getting anywhere as the three men sandwiched me in between themselves. Uncomfortable, unable to move, and panicking that the metro (with all my friends on it) would leave, created a nice, sickening feeling. This feeling lasted all of maybe a minute or so before I finally was able to break through the wall of men blocking me from my friends and board the metro. My wallet was not so lucky. It took me about a minute to realize my wallet was gone but a minute was all the three men needed to be long gone with my cute, sea turtle wallet. And that was how I ended up spending three hours of my morning in Barcelona at a police station—so fun. Despite being significantly poorer and now carrying a purse full of snacks (that was now carefully secured because I wasn’t going to let anyone steal my snacks) rather than money, I was determined to not let the incident ruin our time in Barcelona. And it didn’t. In fact, Barcelona was wonderful. We were able to visit Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia, La Boqueria (a fantastic market!), view incredible architecture, and try the most delicious cuisine. My favorite part may have been the wonderful dinner and evening we had right on the water at Restaurant Barceloneta. I finally tried the traditional Spanish dish Paella and it is now ranked among my top favorite foods along with sushi and Italian cuisine, of course. Accompanied by champagne on the house, sweet desserts, complimentary cappuccinos, and a shot of liquor at the end (it tasted so good I was almost certain it wasn’t liquor at all), it was the perfect way to end our adventures in Barcelona. Although I arrived with a wallet and was sad to leave without one, I left with something much more valuable than a wallet or money: extraordinary memories. And they will certainly be cherished much longer than any wallet ever would. Arrivederci Barcelona, I can’t say I’ll be returning again too soon, I’ve spent enough time on your metro for now; but there is much more to see and experience in this city so one day I think I’ll find myself there again—perhaps resorting to some other mode of transportation, however, rather than the metro.
Lauren Graziano è una studentessa americana USAC che studia all’Università della Tuscia per il primo semestre di questo anno scolastico. E’ cresciuta alle Hawaii, ma ora vive in Colorado e studia in una università nello Iowa, dove ritornerà il prossimo autunno, dopo il suo semestre a Viterbo. Ama viaggiare, leggere, scrivere e uscire fuori, sia che si tratti di escursioni, sci, nuoto o altre divertenti attività all’aperto.