As I tentatively stepped off the plane onto the runway I was hit by a surge of warm air. It was the height of summer and at just 17 I was going it alone! Unaccompanied, I had booked up a 2 week break in Barcelona to experience the dazzling lights and sounds of this amazing city for the first time.
With only the first night’s accommodation booked, a funky hostel just off Las Ramblas, I made the journey by train into the city centre, weighed down by the contents of my wardrobe. I crashed into my dorm to be greeted by a lively group of friends who’d already settled on their chosen beds. We quickly got chatting and made plans to go out for food that night.
We settled on a beautiful floating restaurant by the marina. The night was warm and the wine flowing as we sat and enjoyed our surroundings. It was my first introduction to paella, which has since become a favourite, a traditional Spanish meal famous in the region of Catalonia. As we hit the main drag back into town around midnight we watched before our eyes as the city began to wake from its slumber. People gathered on the streets to watch performers; break dancers, street dancers and more! The bars and clubs heaved with people and laughter.
The following days were spent wandering the maze of back streets in the old city, sampling the delights Barcelona had to offer: the bustling markets, the gallery installations and the Spanish cuisine, and (often by accident) coming across one of Gaudi’s many architectural wonders. I was in heaven! Towards the end of my trip I discovered La Sagrada Familia, a favourite memory. From the vantage point at the top of one of its three completed towers, I wondered in astonishment whether a more beautiful city existed in the world. I would return in a heartbeat.
Story written by Sam Hicks | **This short Travel Story was submitted as part of the Holiday Travel Writing Competition. All short-listed entries such as this one are published in our online Travel Guide**