The highest place of Barcelona

Last week two of my best friends visited me in Barcelona. They came to Barcelona to celebrate their holidays and I saw the city through their eyes. As a result, I also felt like I was on a trip rather than doing things in the city where I live. It’s always nice to do touristy things and to see lots of things. Naturally I also took them to one of my favourite places in the city: Tibidabo.

The first time I visited Tibidabo was in the summer when I was only visiting Barcelona for a month. That time I didn’t expect that one day this city could become my home. It felt like it would be the first and last time that I would visit this interesting place. Nevertheless, I immediately loved it and I am still very fond of it. This special hill with a breath-taking view all over Barcelona is difficult to forget.

So, I decided to take my friends to this magical place. All the other days we had been discovering the city by foot, but going to Tibidabo felt like a mini holiday in a holiday. This is because in order to go to Tibidabo, you have to take a bus up the hill and it will take you 45 minutes. Unfortunately we had to wait a long time for the bus, because the Spanish bus drivers are not the most punctual. When the bus finally arrived, it was too full and we had to wait for the next bus. We were determined to get there, so we waited some more while drinking ice coffee. Compared to the adventure that awaited us, all this bus trouble was nothing. It would have taken us slightly longer to walk up there, which would be around 2 hours according to Google Maps. Even though I love hiking, I didn’t mind waiting and taking the bus.

When we arrived there, we immediately fell in love with the view. My friends for the first time and I for the third time. Tibidabo has an amusement park on the hill and even higher there are two churches. The amusement park is fun, however, as I am a culture enthusiast, beautiful churches make my heart beat faster. They are not normal churches; they are two churches on top of each other, as you can see on the photo. While the first church has a simpler outer appearance and a very detailed interior, the second one is higher and more fancy from the outside with a plainer, but beautiful interior. The whole construction is quite big for something on top of a hill and the beauty of it all was very inspiring. Inside the church we had our occasional “Do you think there is more to life?” discussion which led to fruitful insights.

From the square in front of the upper church we were able to see almost all of Barcelona. We could only see half of the view, because it’s not possible to enter the area behind the church. However, the view over the city and the sea was definitely amazing and mesmerizing. This day we didn’t ascend the towers of the church by elevator (for 3 euro’s), that will reveal a 360-degree view over the city and the sea on one side and the nature parks surrounding Barcelona on the other side. I had done that before and that view was astonishing, in spite of the cold and strong wind that blew me off my feet. It was an amazing experience to go up there and see all. Because we didn’t feel like getting blown away by a strong wind, we didn’t go up the tower that day.

We also didn’t visit the amusement park, because we felt too old for it. However, I didn’t tell my friends that the previous time I was there I had actually ended up going for a round in the carousel. It’s possible to buy separate tickets for one ride instead of buying tickets for the whole park. So even though this time we decided to keep our feet on the ground, next time I want to try the Ferris wheel to enjoy this view of Barcelona from the air.

When I moved to Spain

Do you remember that day I decided to move to Spain? Well, I do. That is because I was terrified. I was full of doubts and insecurities. Spain was not new for me – I had been there many times. What was new for me was that this time I finished university. I was not going to Spain as a tourist who happened to be interested in learning Spanish. No, this time I was a sociologist and an English teacher who was planning to stay there forever and who had that “I can do whatever I want” type of energy. Moving to Spain had been my dream for many years, but actually doing it made my hands shake and my knees weak.

I started dreaming a few years ago. My dream about leaving my cold country found its roots in a singing class. Yes, this sounds weird. I took part in a class in which we were singing Spanish songs and I just fell in love with the language (I must say “thank you” to the singing teacher Lisbeth, if she ever reads this, because she was very inspiring). I must tell you, before that class I literally didn’t know any word in Spanish.

That time I didn’t think much about it, but after that class I started to take Spanish classes and I went on holidays to Spain all alone to learn the language and get to know the culture. I grew up in a small village and going somewhere all alone was something new for me. So, leaving my country for the first time was a big step. My country, the Netherlands, is situated in Europe and to the east its neighbouring country is Germany. Parts of this county are to be found beneath sea level. Which is not a problem at all, because for generations the Dutch have been great at building dykes. I used to feel connected with the Netherlands and its people, but my time there had come to an end. I liked to see myself as a dove spreading its wings and going there where the wind might take her. Yes, I like romanticising everything.

Gosh, what am I doing? Leaving my safe environment. This could turn out to be a plain disaster. Will I find a nice place to live? Will I make any friends or will I just die alone?

These kinds of thoughts occasionally crossed my mind. I think any person doing something new might have them. And then the angel on my shoulder came in:

Did you know that Madonna only had 10 dollars in her pocket and she didn’t have a place to live before she became one of the most famous people in this world?! Compared to that, my plan doesn’t sound scary at all.

Okay I felt like a lunatic and I decided to book a one-way ticket to Spain! And it’s unbelievable that I have already been living here for three months; I have a nice house to live in; I have found work; and I don’t think I will be dying alone after all.