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Rooftop Reverie in Barcelona, High Above the Streets and Clamour

March 20, 2011

I am enamored with the many ways we humans find rest, sanctuary and places to gather in even the most crowded and trafficked of locations.  I took these photographs at a hostel I stayed at while visiting the bustling city of Barcelona.

After several days trapsing the streets and buildings of Barcelona, we were very tired.  I think the city lover within me was filled to the brim with interesting architecture, elaborate edifaces, paths crowded with people and the ever present din of streetcars and motos racing through narrow streets.  I was just about “city’d” out.

We had talked tentatively of making a detour during our time in Barcelona to explore some more natural settings, hike for a day or two, rest in a quiet space and see some of the beauty of the Spanish countryside.  We hadn’t definitively decided on a plan when we made a shift from a centrally located hostel to one slightly more removed from downtown on one of the longer metro lines.

The night we arrived, I could tell there was something going on up on the rooftop.  Sounds of laughter and doors opening and closing kept drifting down the stairwell above the top floor of rooms.  My experience thus far in Barcelona had taught me that, like many cities:  real estate in Barcelona is maximized with balconies, terraces, central court yards and roof top space.  Most of the hostels I’d visited made ample use of these architectural spaces but I had found them largely unrestful.  A quiet central court yard is nice but too often, I felt hemmed in by the towering buildings on every side and things became a lot less quiet when they were crowded with exuberant backpackers.

That night though, I hiked up the stairs to the third floor to check out the rooftop.  There was a group of travelers laughing over a bottle of wine, some folks talking quietly in another corner and a couple necking near the door to the stairs.  I could just make out the lights of other rooftop gatherings suspended in the darkness across the city scape but with the necking couple so uncomfortably close, I chose to turn back around and head downstairs.  I was supremely tired and hunger was calling me to join my companion in gathering our culinary skills for a one-dish wonder.

The next morning, as per tradition, we stopped by a local bakery and picked out some bread and pastries.  We decided that, with the hostel quiet in the morning and last nights partiers still sleeping off their adventures, we’d head up to the rooftop and give it a shot.

Boy, was I surprised.  I had never seen a rooftop space constructed so beautifully!  It felt like we were in a different place all together!

We sat up top and enjoyed the quiet of the morning, the beauty of the sky and the light brush of the wind.  It was the perfect antidote to the over-stimulus of a crowded city and by the time our pastries were reduced to crumbs and granules of sugar, I was pepped for another day of exploring!  A few days later we did head out of Barcelona and hopped a train to the small city of Sitges and had a few lovely days of restful sleep, small town quiet, and hiking along the coast.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. tigger permalink
    March 20, 2011 7:23 pm

    lovely, just lovely! your posts are like a small oasis of refreshment for the soul. thank you.

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