Caitlin attends St. Louis University

This past weekend in Barcelona was three full days spent in breathtaking awe of all that surrounded me; my incredible friends and travel companions, the natural beauty of this earth, and the majestic art and architecture that dotted the city of Barcelona. Upon reflection of an amazing first weekend trip I found myself unable to formulate words to express the beauty of the places we visit, particularly La Sagrada Familia. I think Gerard Manley Hopkins sums up this beauty better than I ever could, stating “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” I could not agree more.

It was a beautiful weekend filled with equal moments of chaos and peace. We found chaos the moment we arrived in Barcelona and discovered the host of the AirBnB we were supposed to stay in was “in the hospital” and so we had no place to live for the weekend. We found peace in the McDonald’s with free Wifi where we eventually found a beautiful hostel with comfy beds for all. We found chaos in the vendors at Las Ramblas and then stumbled upon moments of peace in beautifully complex, yet simple cathedrals. We found chaos in the 25,000+ steps we took every day exploring and experiencing as much beauty of Barcelona as we could. We found peace on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, in churches and cathedrals, on top of hills and bunkers, and around parks and cafés.

On Saturday, we started the day with a small, European breakfast (which mostly consists of cappuccinos and croissants which are delicious though I desperately miss my mom’s waffles) and then ventured through the streets of Barcelona searching for the famous La Sagrada Familia. We were just walking through the streets not paying much attention to anything when we suddenly turn the corner and the immense beauty of La Sagrada is suddenly directly in front of us. It was a breathtaking moment in every literal sense of that word. I have never been in such awe…until I entered the inside of the church. The colorful reflections of the stained glass and the dazzling light that was dancing across the interior of the church was entirely mesmerizing. I completely lost my group of friends because I was too busy trying to soak up every bit of beauty and ray of light.

It wasn’t until I sat down today back in my host home in Madrid that I truly began to realize how many beautiful, God-given moments we were given this weekend. I could not be more grateful for the group I travelled with and every single moment of our weekend. Despite losing my voice and coming down with a cold, I wouldn’t change anything. Moments dancing in the water of the Mediterranean Sea, climbing to what seemed like the highest point of the city, and eating our way through the streets of Barcelona will forever be my memories of this wonderful place. Looking forward to returning with my family and enjoying similar experiences with those I hold closest to my heart.