-the world as I see it
Tibidabo- for some reason the word had caught my fancy. “I will definitely visit you soon Tibidabo” I promised. But my friend ‘procrastination’ helped me come up with a million excuses to keep postponing my trip. Then, as I have told you in one of my previous posts, the visit to the bunkers happened and I just HAD to visit Tibidabo. So I finally got my lazy ass up there, just one day before I was leaving Barcelona after an amazing four-month stint.
If you are wondering who or what Tibidabo is, let me give you a short introduction. Tibidabo is a mountain in the North-East of Barcelona, overlooking the city. The word has Latin origins which translate to ‘I’ll give you’. Before you compliment me on my knowledge of Latin, I have to tell you that I took the help of one of my other friends- google translate. The phrase has its origins in the Bible. “All this I will give you, if you kneel down and worship me” – these were the words spoken by the devil to Jesus when they were atop a high mountain.
The plan was to go to Tibidabo somewhere around 4 p:m and stay there for a while. My friend Ji and I took the train on the L7 line from Placa Catalunya and hopped off at the Avinguda Tibidabo stop. From there, we took the bus number 73 at the Placa de John F Kennedy to the final stop. All the schedules and transit maps for public transport within Barcelona can be found on their official website. As we had read that the restaurants and cafes at the top of the mountain were a bit pricey, we decided to take along with us a few goodies to nibble on- a kebab from a Turkish fastfood place, some chips and juice. We then headed toward the funicular that would take us to the top of the hill. The ticket price for the round-trip was 7.5 euros. Considering the fact that we had spent a considerable time in Prague before living in Barcelona, the amount seemed exorbitant. We peeked at the funicular making its way to the top – “The way is quite short – 7.5 euros for just that?!!! ” I was doing the math in my head, comparing the distance travelled with the money that we would spend and then going on to think what were the other things I could splurge on with that same amount. Both Ji and I decided that we would walk instead – how far could it be anyway…? Before you judge me, let me make it clear to you that we were just students trying to live within our means and not stingy misers 😛
We made our way past the funicular station and went on a path that curved on ahead. 5 min.. 10 min…15 min….
“Ji, are you sure we’re going the right way?” I asked my friend. “We must be, considering there’s no other route in sight” , he replied. Alright, I thought to myself, we might get there in half an hour or so. The weather seemed pleasant enough- it wasn’t too hot and there was just a mild breeze. The trek went on.. and on and on and on. We were now reduced to two sweaty pigs, huffing and puffing, grumbling about how the walk wasn’t ending. While earlier I had gloated on my math skills in estimating distances and judging rates, I now realized that I had overlooked the fundamental “a straight line is the shortest distance between two points”. Of course the funicular followed the shortest path, while we had to make our way through curves and bends that snaked through the hill. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, just when almost all our energy had been sapped, we saw the church looming in the distance and in a split second the sap was replaced with a zap.
We continued on with renewed zest for another half an hour, until we reached the entrance. We proceeded to the viewing terrace which was situated right near the amusement park. I wasn’t too impressed by what the amusement park had to offer, it was something that was meant to cater to small kids. We didn’t go in there.
The view from the terrace was amazing and though our legs were killing us, we couldn’t get ourselves to walk away from there and find ourselves a place to sit. Then our hunger got the better of us and we decided to dig in to our snacks. All through the trek, we had looked forward to enjoying a delicious kebab once we reached the hill top. Turns out it wasn’t as delicious as we had anticipated it to be – the trek had reduced it to a soggy mess, but it had also made us build up a voracious appetite, so we ate it anyway and it was yummy for the tummy.
Once we had got the rest we deserved and had devoured our food, we went up the steps, into the crypt of the church. The layout of the church is quite unique – it has this rectangular fortress at its base. The walls of the fortress are made up of a stone from Montjuic, which is a mountain to the south-west of Barcelona. The church is called the Sagrat Cor and is dedicated to the Sacred heart of Jesus. Construction started early in the 1900’s and lasted for around 60 years.
We entered the crypt of the church and spent some time there, taking in the exquisite interior. As is typical in most churches in Barcelona, the altar is adorned by a hanging Crucifix. The beautiful painting on the apse has images of Mother Mary, a few saints and the church itself. On one of the lamps hanging from the ceiling, I could see the words ‘vobis pax’ written. This Latin phrase translates to ‘peace to you’ and that’s exactly what I felt as I stood there – a sense of peace and calm.
We then went up to the main part of the church, which unfortunately for us, was closed. It was past 6 p:m by the time we had gotten up there and so we spent some time just relaxing on the stone parapets, looking out at the city. I saw the Torre de Collserola, designed by Norman Foster, a renowned British architect ( I’m a big fan 😀 ). The tower was built in 1992 when Barcelona hosted the Summer Olympics.
After taking in the view, I closed my eyes – I was tired and nostalgic.
What had started out as a bad trip, turned out to be the perfect way to end my last evening in Barcelona. It had been a long day, but in the end it was worth it 🙂