Have you ever fallen in love with someone, almost as though you knew them before you met them? As though it were a return to each other and not a first encounter?
Well I think that feeling happens with places too.
And I’m not talking about love at first sight, that’s often superficial. I’m talking about feeling a place as though it were yours. Like you’ve known it your whole life. Like it’s somehow home even though you’ve never been there before.
That’s how Barcelona made me feel.
It’s an odd feeling to describe, one that doesn’t really make sense (very much like love), but I knew Barcelona was a me place before I even stepped out of the taxi from the airport.
It was like the city lit a fire in me and I knew I’d fall in love.
Maybe it was the ancient buildings and tiny iron balconettes, colored in peaches and teals and rose hues and sage, layered in history but hovering above modern establishments at street level. Or the tapas places—one after another after another—with their sidewalk seating and lax patrons. Maybe even the warmth of the taxi driver and her welcome to the city that was steeped in so much pride. Who knows.
But it was love.
By the time the taxi driver dropped us off, after coming out of the car, shaking my hand and wishing me well for the trip, I had seen almost nothing but learned almost everything: Barcelona is a me place.
Don’t get me wrong, I am the first to find something to love about every place I visit (and have been known to say “I want to live here” about most places I go), but there are certain places that just awaken something different. It’s like friends versus lovers. There are some destinations that will be in the “friend zone.” You’ll like them, be glad to spend more time with them on occasion, you enjoy their company. All good things. But there are other places you can’t resist. That whether you wanted to or not, you are drawn to them—pulled even. You want to be with them constantly, feel what they feel, taste their favorite things, and you are loathe to leave them when you finally have to and may always be trying to figure out how to find your way back to them.
That’s what certain places do for me. And that’s what Barcelona did. The feelings weren’t in vain either because with each passing day spent there, I fell more in love with the Spanish city. There was no rude realization that no, maybe this place wasn’t for me after all.
The romance was a short one, laced with lust after every other beautiful building, all the Gaudí I could get and tons of pan con tomate at a slew of tapas places. All I can think about is when I’ll return. How I’ll return. What will I see the next time? What will I feel?
It’s exciting—the city and the feeling. And if only for those moments, I will travel until my breath escapes me.