I was just outside Barcelona hiking in the foothills of Mount Tibidabo. I was at the end of this path and I came to a clearing and there was a lake, very secluded. And there were tall trees all around. It was dead silent. Gorgeous. And across the lake I saw…a beautiful woman…bathing herself…but she was crying…
(Btw that’s a quote from a Friend’s episode that is also very relevant to this trip.)
Back when I lived in Barcelona, I had a short but sweet trip to Tibidabo. Atop this beautiful mountain is a church that overlooks Barcelona and has spectacular views of the city, Catalunya, and the Mediterranean. On this day trip to the clouds, my friends and I ventured to view the inside of the church and finally see our city from a different perspective- the sky!
Our first stop was to the inside of this beauty. Inside the lower church, we ran into a old man who volunteered to share this history of the church. The old church took many years to build, as it was funded by private donations and the material had to be hauled up the mountain by donkeys!
The first part of the structure was tiny, about the size of a telephone booth, but it has expanded dramatically over the years. The interior decorations were beautiful and colorful, reflecting the rich history of the vibrant city. After the church was constructed, a small theme park was added below. It even had a wooden roller coaster and a log ride!
We then wandered into main sanctuary of the church (the newer part of the church), where a wedding had just concluded. All of the women were dressed in hats and headdresses and the bride was in a crisp, clean white gown. They sang in a big group with an acoustic guitar, and although we felt like intruders, but in true Spanish fashion, they welcomed us into the church to celebrate their special day with them. Felicitats Laura y Francesco!
Finally it was time for the main event- the views from the top of the church! We had to pay to take an elevator to the top part of the church, but the small fare was absolutely worth it, as the panoramic views were spectacular.
I felt like I was Simba on Pride Rock looking over my new kingdom- everything the light touched was mine to explore!
You could see every part of the city and we loved trying to figure out where everything belonged. I realized that I actually knew a lot more of the city that I thought I did, and was able to spot La Sagrada Familia, Monesterio de Pedrables, Gràcia, Parc Guëll, our university and so much more.
As I looked on the rolling hills in the distance, opposite of the Mediterranean sea (!!), a twang of homesickness caught my stomach. As a SoCal native, everywhere I’ve lived has been in the foothills, and somehow, seeing a hill or mountain in the distance reminds me of home, comfort, and joy. Even as I am writing this, I miss the mountains of SoCal, Berkeley, and even Barcelona. It’s something that I miss dearly in D.C.
But alas, I will hold the mountains and views of Tibidabo in my memories, placing these comforting memories of mountains alongside the other mountains and molehills of my past…
What day trips are you fond of? Do you have any special places that make you feel at home again?