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Memories of The Way We Were – Palau de la Musica, Barcelona

by Mary Chong
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Sometimes there are memories, whether out of choice or from just plain age, that I forget but they come back to me when I least expect it.

The Palau de la Musica in Barcelona is one of those memories.

It’s like that Barbra Streisand song
“The Way We Were”
Light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures,
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember…
The way we were…
The way we were…

I could be walking down a street or driving by a place or eating a certain food and bang the memory is back…pulled from that dusty cob-web filled corner in my brain.

The other day I was visiting my new friend Noel’s blog www.travelphotodiscovery.com and the images of the music hall brought back memories of the wonderful and not so wonderful time I had in Barcelona.

…What’s too painful to remember…We simply choose to forget…

It was me and hubby’s first trip to Europe and our first Mediterranean cruise. The plan was to arrive in to Barcelona early, board the ship the next day, cruise the Mediterranean and then stay in Barcelona for two days post cruise and visit everything Gaudi – Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batló and then fly home. It was supposed to be a wonderful 18 day trip and it was – up until about day 12.

Not to go into great detail but hubby hurt his back somewhere between Rome and Naples and could barely stand or sit. Thankfully we were travelling with another couple and while hubby stayed on the ship I was still able to tour Pompeii etc with our friends. At the end of the cruise they helped me get hubby off of the ship (highly medicated and in a wheel chair) and into our hotel.

BarcelonaThere we were trapped in our hotel room – hubby bed-ridden and me playing nurse maid. Our friends would tour around and bring us back food/drink, share what they saw and then leave for another adventure while I figured out travel insurance, hotel doctors, flight/hotel arrangements and looked out the window at this small café in the city of Barcelona before me.

After two days, our friends had to return home on our originally scheduled flight. They gave me a run down of what was near by, handed me all their leftover Euro and off they went and we were alone.

I had never travelled on my own before – quite honestly, I’m a big chicken – but there I was actually – ALONE – hubby was useless to me laying comatose on pain killers in bed.

On the third day we ate from the room service menu. We had travel insurance so our expenses were covered. But I had to go out to the pharmacy to get more medication so I had to go outside by MYSELF (eeek!). I walked 1 block north of our hotel to the pharmacy and to my relief, I came back safe and sound with no incidents.

By day four, hubby was grumpier so I knew he was feeling a bit better. I said to myself “Girlfriend…you are a grown-ass woman. What the hell is wrong with you! Go for a walk! You can do this! Get out of here!” (my inner voice sounds a lot like Beyonce). I was going stir-crazy! I needed fresh air and so, I went out for a walk.

I left the hotel and decided I’ll walk for 1 hour, stay to my right and travel in a giant circle then I won’t get lost!

My bravery paid off because just 3 blocks north of our hotel on a street named Carrer de Sant Francesc de Paula, I came upon the most beautiful sight!

The Pálau de la Músîca

This Concert Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built between 1905 and 1908 and is covered in the most spectacular sculptures, mosiacs and stained glass. It was a real surprise because all the other buildings in the area are just plain, dull and ordinary in appearance and this is just so colourful. Even the gift shop is located in a building covered in frescos!

My photos really do not do this building justice because all I had with me at the time was my tiny point and shoot camera and the streets are so narrow and cramped in Barcelona that I had a difficult time getting everything in.

Noel has the most beautiful photos of the Palau at night as well as some photos of the interior. I urge you to check it out, the glass ceiling photo is just wonderous.

…If we had the chance to do it all again…Tell me, would we? Could we?…

I had forgotten about these photos but what I won’t ever forget is that I discovered more than just the Palau de la Musica that day I journeyed to the right. I discovered that if I’m ever alone again, I can still see something wonderful and unexpected if I am brave enough to take that first step outside the door.

I know that we’ll be back to Barcelona again. There is still unfinished business! And we may even stay in that very same hotel. BUT, we’ll create some new memories of Barcelona to replace the not so good ones that are tucked away in that corner of my mind.

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Tim Scheybeler February 20, 2020 - 10:45 am

Well, I do hope that our holiday starts out better than yours did. We leave in just over a week from our frozen homeland of Canada for Barcelona and even though it is not summer there at present it is hot enough for myself who cannot take the heat of the Summer months in Spain when the temperature is well into the upper 30 degrees Celcius. As things go this time of year is almost perfect for myself and I shall be very happy in the mid-teens of Spring in Southern Spain and Portugal which is also the other general destination of our extended vacation. We will be on holiday for close to six weeks giving us more than enough time to visit all the spots that interest us and for us to garner a very good selection of the music of both nations. Thank you for your information and i do hope that you do have the chance to revisit Barcelona again to replace the memories that you were cheated of before…

Jeff @ Go Travelzing June 15, 2013 - 7:39 pm

That is too bad about your husband. Barcelona is my favorite city in the world. I loved the Palau and all the Gaudi buildings. Hopefully you will get to return soon.

Mary Chong June 17, 2013 - 9:10 pm

Thanks Jeff. Thankfully hubby is fine now so hopefully soon we can return. I still need to see La Sagrada Familia!!

Freya June 2, 2013 - 3:46 pm

Barcelona is so beautiful. Sorry to hear your husband was hurt, but of course, the city will still be there next time. I have been to a few places as well where I vowed to return. Next time will be better. :)

Zoë Dawes via Facebook May 28, 2013 - 6:12 am


JR Riel May 28, 2013 - 12:57 am

What an awesome story, Mary! I could totally imagine the feeling of being stuck in a hotel room, I’m glad you finally got sick of it enough to motivate you to leave the room and EXPLORE! And I’m glad it turned out to be really worth it. Barcelona is a beautiful city, I got lost walking around in it for HOURS.

Mary Chong May 29, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Yes and it’s easy to get lost in Barcelona with all those tight lanes/streets everywhere you turn it’s like a labyrinth!
…Thanks for your comment JR!

Jessica May 27, 2013 - 11:56 pm

So sorry your husband was hurt. My husband has done that to his back, as well and it was just no fun. I had to laugh OUT LOUD when I read your pep talk to yourself. I’ve done that before too!

Meagan @ Life Outside of Texas May 27, 2013 - 10:10 pm

Sorry your husband was injured. I know how much is sucks to be useless on a vacation that you were anticipating so much! But I do love your inner Beyonce voice! I,too, find myself declaring, “I’m a grown-ass woman!” from time to time.

I always love reading about Barcelona because I hope to live there one day. Thanks for such a lovely post.

noel May 27, 2013 - 9:24 am

Wow Mary,

Its amazing what you can do when you really put yourself out there and discover things about yourself and seeing a whole new world and really enjoying your experience. This hallway also struck a cord, but even more so for the music experience at night time and all the lit up interiors, wow, it was magic. Thanks for including me in the post, truly appreciate it Mary!

Mary Chong May 27, 2013 - 9:53 am

Thanks Noel…Next trip to Barcelona I would love to see a concert there! Thanks for inspiring me!

Heather H May 27, 2013 - 8:56 am

Love this post, Mary! It was beautifully put together. “My inner voice sounds a lot like Beyonce”—Mmm hmm! I hear ya, girl. It just goes to show that vacations aren’t about the sights we see, the food we eat, or even the culture we encounter; it’s about what we learn about ourselves, the good and the bad, and what we choose to do with it.

Mary Chong May 27, 2013 - 9:55 am

Thank you Heather. Travel really does enrich our lives doesn’t it? I really feel that it brings the world closer together as well and makes each and everyone of us better people.


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