A month with no sleep.

Ecaterina Kilian's picture
A month with no sleep.

Last year I spent a month in a summer language school to learn Spanish in Barcelona. To be honest the classes were just an excuse to spend as much time as I could afford in the city that swept me of my feet a mere half a year before.

When I arrived I was put into a very nice flat, close to the university, and a few stops away from central Barcelona, in the trendy neighborhood of Gracia. During the first day of class all the faces looked new and unfamiliar, and the next month was full of surprises, I was puzzled with questions on whether I will ever become friends with those people or will I spend the rest of my time in Barcelona alone. All my fright was useless as during the 30 minute lunch we all started talking and decided to go for a walk after class. The following 28 days seemed to go in the same manner. As days went by we grew closer and closer. From day two we would see each other every day, and our days would be broken down into four parts; morning classes, after class lunch, siesta (a nap), and dinner with some night activity. I have to admit that the couple of hour naps were very helpful as waking up for class at 7:30AM whilst partying till dawn is a big hit on health.

One of the best nights like that was one of the first ones, when we went to Shoko and as the night ended at 5:30am and we weren’t tired yet, we decided to wait for the sunrise, so sitting on the beach we admired the beautiful sunrise on the Barceloneta beach. On one sunny afternoon we decided to rent bikes, which is one of the cheapest and most entertaining ways to learn about the city, because traffic is a bit scary the ride was along the beach, stopping once in a while to take pictures, to rest on the sand a little bit or to admire the views of nudist beaches. 

Barcelona is not only known for the partying, the sun and the beaches, but it is a city with a profound architectural history, one of the main creators is Gaudi, an architect very ahead of his times, as he was building decades ago and his creations still look futuristic, bright, and enlightening. Parc Guell which is one of his most famous works is a great place for relaxation, and fun photography. After the park we would often travel to the Barri Gotic to an incredibly authentic, famously secret little champagne bar called el Xampanyet, where the cava is Catalonian, there are not many tourists, but it was impossible to sit, we always had to stand outside, but it was so worth it, they also served amazing cold local tapas.

One of the most memorable experiences that I received in Barcelona was going to a football game, which was something more than special. As a Spain and FC Barcelona supporter I was over the moon when a big group has agreed to go. We all got jerseys and bought tickets, the game we went to was a Champion’s league one; they were playing Panathanaikos, a Greek team. To start trying to describe the emotions felt in that stadium I will share with you the fact that this is the biggest stadium in Europe and can hold up to 99 000 people, that game only had 94 000 people present, about 90% were Barcelona fans, the emotional energetic level could have made any nuclear factory useless. There was so much love and support in the air that it all of a sudden becomes obvious why FC Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world. The experience was so amazing that it felt like a rollercoaster and finished too soon, so I and Julie went to a second one, where we were sitting even closer to the pitch and nothing but a win and a beautiful game mattered.

On one of the week-ends we decided to venture to Tibidabo, the famous mountain situated on the outskirts on Barcelona. The mountain is famous for two reasons; the fact that it is the oldest functioning theme park in Europe and that is has a magnificent cathedral from which you can see Barcelona in its entirety. The journey there in itself is rather complicated. You have to take the subway, then an over ground train, then either a bus or a blue train up the mountain, then a funicular, and you have finally made it. The journey up has the most amazing views. Once we got to the top we realized that we should have eaten before or brought something with us as the prices up there were, ironically, extremely high.

Unfortunately the end approached and the last three days of the trip were a festival called la Merce, the entirety of Barcelona is non functional as everyone enjoys the 24/3 party. The city is covered with people, there are concerts, markets, performances, street theater, fireworks in the evening. They are breathtaking three days that are one of the best times to go to Barcelona to. The last night spent with the people that became dear to me, with the streets that became familiar, with the language that sounds like a symphony was magical; after an entire day of walking around enjoying most of what la Merce has to offer, we went to the beach to watch the fireworks, as we sat there we knew that it was ending but it was nice to know that those memories will stay because they are priceless.

Barcelona te amo