Bilingual Got Me Barcelona

I had a couple days off & I was feeling “stuck” in Philadelphia. Flights back home to San Diego were all full and I was a little homesick. Since I couldn’t get back to California, I volunteered to work during my off days. I was hoping I’d get called on a fun trip.
I’m woken up by my phone… It’s Scheduling calling me. I guess something opened up… I jump to answer. The voice coming from the other end sounds absolutely angelic when he says, “Cecilia, we have a four-day trip to Barcelona tonight. Are you interested?” Ummm, heck yes, I am!
I joined the seasonal “language of destination” program to practice my Spanish and to see if flying to Spanish-speaking destinations is something I want to continue to do on a regular basis.
I’ve always been a little embarrassed to speak Spanish because I didn’t learn the language until I was 12 years old, and I never felt like I mastered it.
One day (in San Diego) my dad asked me to bring him a hanger…but he asked me in Spanish. When I didn’t do it, he approached me to ask why. I told him I didn’t understand what he said. I’ll never forget the look on my dad’s face…he looked heart-broken.
That day, he told my mom that we’d be moving across the boarder to Mexicali. So, while all my friends were off to Jr. High, my younger sister and I were to attend a private school in Mexico to study the language until we were fluent. It took about 3 months before I was awarded “Student of the Month” and with that came the opportunity to return to school in California. Back then, I was pretty upset about the whole ordeal, but now, I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Learning Spanish has definitely opened doors for me…

Now I’m on my way Barcelona with a great crew. Since we have two full days in the city, we’re all making plans to go out. So many different personalities, so many different things to do. I’m excited.
I can’t even sleep when we get to our hotel. It’s beautiful! The room is very contemporary & the accommodations are great. I shower & lounge around in the plush robe & slippers provided while I wait on a couple of the ladies. We’ve agreed to meet in the lobby in the afternoon.
At the top of our list, is the famous Sagrada Familia, just one of the many masterpieces by Gaudí. When we step up out of metro station, we take in the scenery… Then, we turn around, and we’re stunned by the massive work of art that stands before us. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

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We walk around the entire building. Each side of the church has a different look to it. So many intricate details. I’m in awe.
Unfortunately, due to a private concert that evening, the church is closed earlier than normal. We can’t see the inside. Bummer.
After some walking around & a light snack, we meet another flight attendant back at the hotel. One of the ladies has other plans. So, we say bye & continue our day.
Another of the ladies is retiring this year. She’s committed to seeing as much as she can see before she hangs up her wings. She’s so much fun. She’s been out with me all day.
The flight attendant we’re out with now, travels to Barcelona regularly & is proud to show us around. She’s also originally from California. She’s such a great tour guide.
We walk to Las Ramblas, the popular street in Barcelona where you can find just about anything. It’s full of families, tourists, locals, shops, restaurants, markets, etc.

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The area is just full of life. We make a few stops along the way. One of our stops is at the local market. We pick up fruit & cheeses to snack on.

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I need to pull out cash, so, I stop at an ATM where I meet (& briefly chat with) Kyle Bryant, an American artist who is spending his time capturing Barcelona in a very unique way… Watch here.

The ladies & I are headed to dinner & a flamenco show. We join another crew member for dinner at a restaurant that is a crew favorite.
The flamenco show is in the same square, so, it’s a short walk to the venue. When the dancers & musicians take the stage, the room is captivated. The movements, the sounds, the storytelling…it’s such a great show. I even consider moving to Spain & learning the art, myself!

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The next day, I meet up with my fellow California girl again. She and another one of the ladies are spending the day in Sitges. I decide to join them.
After our train ride, we arrive to the gorgeous beach town. The weather is perfect & the beaches are full. The water looks amazing.

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We didn’t plan to spend time in the sand. We want to walk around & see the area. We hit the streets & take in the sites. Then, we stroll along the water before stopping for a drink.
It’s a Wednesday afternoon, and it’s a warm 70 degrees out. We’re sitting outside with a great view of the ocean. Each of us is enjoying a glass of wine…and one of the ladies reminds us that we’re getting paid to do this. What a life!

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I have plans to visit another one of the Gaudí sites. So, after a few hours in Sitges, I hop a train back to Barcelona. Then, I take the local metro to Park Güelle .
I didn’t really know a whole lot about the park, I just knew I wanted to see it. I have to stop for directions along the way.
Once I see what’s up ahead of me, I know I should’ve planned ahead, and worn more sensible shoes. That’s ok, though. I used to live in five inch heels…I can do this.
After my hike up what seemed like never-ending stairs, I make it into the park. There’s so much to see.

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There’s a line to enter the part of the park that houses all the well-known exhibits. So, I walk around the the surrounding area before I buy my ticket.
*Note: Purchase your entry before exploring the outside area. Then, it should be your assigned entry time and you won’t have to wait in line to enter. Also, wear comfy or athletic gear. You can make it a day of hiking. You might even want to pack a picnic to enjoy in the park. There are so many great views.

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When I make it inside the park, I’m stunned by all the beauty. The attention to detail and the creativity that went into the project is out of this world. My eyes are feasting on all the colors of the mosaic work. I’m walking around in awe… talk about jaw-dropping!

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After my big day out, I’m pretty pooped. When I get to back to my hotel, I run into one of the ladies that visited Sagrada Familia with me. We begin to recap our trip. We both decide we want to hit the town one more time before bed.
We stroll down Las Ramblas one last time before calling it a night. The city is alive. It’s hard for me to leave. But, we have a big day ahead of us…we have to work.
I wake up early, to catch the sunrise at the rooftop pool before getting ready for our flight. It’s beautiful. I love Barcelona & I can’t wait to be back over & over again all summer.

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Thanks Mom & Pap for sending me to school in Mexico to learn Spanish all those years ago… Being bilingual got me Barcelona!

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4 thoughts on “Bilingual Got Me Barcelona

  1. I’ve never really had the desire to go to Spain but after these pictures I’m totally wanting to go! I always wondered how you ended up in Calexico! Lol your dad wasn’t playing games. It is sad and defeating that the US doesn’t really celebrate or encourage it’s people to speak other languages other than English. On my recent trip to Europe I was really inspired to get my Spanish down and learn a 3rd language. 🙂

    • Yessi, thanks for the comment! So awesome that you want to see Spain now.. It really is beautiful. You’ll love it. & yes, I feel the same way about the language thing. Everyone in Europe knows at least a few languages… I want to learn more, too. & lol, yeah, that’s why I was in Calexico. My dad was serious. Ha!

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