“In the end, we’ll all become stories.”
And boy, will Barcelona be a story for the ages. And yes, I am fully aware of the fact that I just wrote a post about this city that brings so much life to my being, but well, I was never one for consistency, now was I. On the plus side, you get to enjoy my musings on this beautiful city twice; ain’t life grand. Fuck yeah, it is.
On this trip, I had to learn what my travel-partner-slash-best-girlfriend-slash-life-mentor-slash-person-who-makes-fun-of-me-all-the-freaking-time was preaching to me 24/7 —and forcefully sometimes, thanks Elke. “Don’t push, follow what pulls you.”
I always have the tendency to walk incredibly fast, as if my life depends on it. Or a pink dougnut would be waiting for me upon my arrival. She constantly reminded me to slow down and take it all in. And with the slowing down in the walking, she also reminded me to slow down in life. For I am always running, whether it’s literally and figuratively, away or towards something and tiring my mind and body in the process. This time however I would be strolling, and strangely enough, it took me a lot more effort — just like everything with me and my life going backwards. And even though we strolled and sauntered our way through our trip and didn’t end up doing all that much, we experienced so much more.
Prime example: the first evening just involved us sitting on a square, drinking shitty sangria, eating tapa’s and talking until our lungs gave out — boy talk can be really exhausting as you might know, especially boys named Fabio, am I right Elke (excuse me for making fun of this, insert smirking yet apologizing emoji here).
Staying at a hostel also means talking until your lungs give out, more specifically having deep conversations about life with strangers whom I’d known for exactly 23 minutes after being yelled at — “oi, Belgium” — in the bathroom of a bar. It also means dancing the night away with those same strangers until your lungs give out — I’m surprised I even still have lungs — and getting thrown out of a club for the first time in your life. Ah, ain’t life full of surprises? And the British. It’s also full of the British. They’re everywhere really, you have hereby been warned.
You know I kid; I just like to make fun of you British lads, but it’s only because the British population present at the time in Barcelona liked to make fun of the apparently very poofy and pink pom poms on my sneakers* — which I actually like a lot, thank you very much.
We took two of those above mentioned British blokes to see the sunset over Barcelona. But only because they brought sangria and food with them, you know I only do it for the food, don’t blame a girl. Even though the busride to the top was hell (we were famished), even though there wasn’t enough baguette for all of us (you had one job, Josh*), too much cheese, too many tourists, no panini’s and hot chocolate (you had one job, Marcus*) and a song that therefore will forever be stuck in my head, we had the most amazing view. The most amazing night watching the magical sunlight of Barcelona turn into bright city night lights. For a few moments in time, we were on top of the world. Watching it all unfold beneath our feet. Or as we like to call it, “The Miami of Europe*.” Watching the world pass by as we were, for a brief moment, immune to time.
Unfortunately not immune to the excessive spilling of Don Simon sangria*, as everyone knows the best one can find in the world (or well, at least at Aldi). Josh, thanks for blessing me for all my life with the grace of Don Simon as if you were the pope himself. I’ll have the stains to remind me of all the luck I will probably receive from now on.
I’ve always liked people who say, “the night is young”. I spent my nights in Barcelona like that; not knowing and not wanting to know when they would end, where they would take me. They took me on endless walks, long talks with strangers mostly deeper than with people you’ve known for years; to be drunk on the night and to say all the words we never dare to whisper in the sober day light. This proves to me once again that it’s not about how long you’ve known someone, it’s about whether you feel a connection in the deep ends of your bones. The night brings forth an insane amount of feeling so utterly alive, my legs could carry me endlessly while I dance through the streets.
These legs also took me to dodgy bars with dodgy Brits (I kid, once again, really) while almost getting hit in the face, running into a look-alike of my ex-boyfriend and almost having a heart attack when paying for drinks in an overpriced club while looking like a semi-hobo version of myself. Thanks Richard for being the most amazing tour guide ever & Andy for letting me walk home* (I kid, once again, really).
It’s just something about the night that makes us immortal. A never-ending story.
Barcelona beach. 3AM. Four eyes. A shooting star.
And about three seconds of disbelief as we layed there admiring the almost black sky, lit up by Barcelona’s never-ending lights of night life and one point of light in the night sky. And the sand between our palms turned to stars between us. Just two nights before I witnessed the exact same thing on my rooftop terrace in Antwerp. Just me. Tea. A blanket. And a sky lit by fireworks from moments before. I felt astonished. Two shooting stars, two different bright cities in exactly two days. If ever there were signs of the universe calling on me, this is the time. Shooting stars have always felt like fire calling me home, for I have a deep love for fire and everything that sparks light. It brings forth an emotion in me that is indescribable, that makes me cry like a little girl feeling overwhelmed by the power, the beauty of the universe.
& a bleeding heart
Just as I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it, our last night was anything but that. Being overtaken by disbelief and pure horror while enjoying the sight of sea and sand, my phone kept buzzing and ringing on and off for hours. Unaware of what had unfolded just a few blocks away, slowly the realization of what happened started dripping in, provided by friends and family at the home front who were glued to their televisions and news channels. People dead. Injured. My soul was injured, my heart bled. I refused to read any articles, or open any social media other than to comfort the ones worried for my life just because I knew I’d be in tears about the reality. A harsh truth my heart could not bear to hear; to have such a beautiful city feel so much pain all at once.
And just like that, in five days time, I experienced a life time’s worth of emotions. Of slowing down, of feeling alive, of feeling thankful to still be alive, to still be able to experience all the magnificence and wonder this world has to offer. To make the most out of every second, out of every night, out of every story. To still be able to pass on the story that is my life. To not let it pass me by. To not let it slip. For though I have an uncertain mind, I have stardust in my soul, and a wildfire heart.
For all I am certain of is this:
“In the end, we’ll all become stories.”
But this will be a story with an everlasting memory.
*Excuse all the inside jokes, but there were just too many to not write about them and too many awesome people to not mention them. Sorry not sorry.
The one I haven’t mentioned yet , but who carries a special place in my heart: thanks Norbi for being the absolute best human being on this planet and for taking such good care of me every time I come to Barcelona. I will see you soon.