Walking on La Gran Via to class the first day, Christine tugged on my shoulder and pointed to a mountain. The mountain had a beautiful castle (or we thought it was a castle), on the top, and it looked millions of miles away. It sat on the mountain and commanded attention, and we gladly gave it. It looked like a dream, and we found out that it was really easy make our dream a reality and to visit the “castle”, too.

Except it wasn’t a castle, it was two churches and also an amusement part — Tibidabo.

When it came time to visiting the “castle”, it could not have been easier. Spain is an ancient city with rich history, and in addition to this, it also has bomb public transportation and infrastructure. We walked to La Plaça de Catalunya and took the Red Line (L1) on the Metro. One moment, I was in the legitimate center of Barcelona, and 20 minutes later I was on top of the mountain and looking down at a city I already love after 5 days.

The Metro stopped in a little town called Vallvidrera. The Spanish charm blew me away and so did the view. I was aghast, and I swear one day, I’m going to own a house in Vallvidrera.

Not only was the town lovely, but there was a little shop across from the public transit stop called Uaala Gelatetría. It is a MUST ~treat yourself~ gelato shop with the cutest decor. With hanging succulents, a chalkboard menu, and little ornaments that hang from the ceiling, you walk into the shop and, sadly, you can’t stop looking around and taking photos of everything, including the little lady scooping my Hazelnut and Strawberry Gelato Cone that I ordered immediately.

Whoever said Gelato for breakfast was a bad idea?? ?

You can choose to either walk or to take a bus up the mountain, and although I’d walk it in a heartbeat (I have to work off the gelato somehow), our group opted for the bus. We took the bus up and up. We were so high that it felt like we were looking down at Barcelona from a bird’s eye view. When we got to the top, we realized the amusement park was closed since it was a Sunday and it’s winter, but that just gives us another reason to come back and to get that yummy gelato!

Honestly, Tibidabo is a little funny. If you face one way, there’s an amusement park with a ferris wheel and the whole nine yards, but if you take a moment to look behind you, there’s a beautiful cathedral — El Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón. Finished in 1961, the church started being constructed in 1902 and when you go inside it makes sense why.

Before I left for Spain, my mom hugged me and told me that whenever I walk into a new cathedral to say a prayer and ask for 3 wishes.


That day, I had the opportunity to make 6 wishes, and as I ate my bocadillo on the steps of the church and looked out on the most enigmatic and enchanting city, I couldn’t help but wonder what these next 5 months will bring me.