Last August, My 2 girlfriends and I were travelling through Europe. First, we started off by spending a week in Portugal and then we took a flight to Barcelona, Spain. It was the first time that any of us had been to Spain in general. We were going to be spending just under a week in Barcelona.
Barcelona was beautiful. We loved the architecture, nightlife, and the entertainment that was everywhere. There was so much to see and do.
On our last day in Barcelona, we went to Brunch at this adorable french place that we had already gone to earlier on our trip (it was that good). We talked about what we wanted to do on our last day in Barcelona. Our flight to Italy was at 6 am the next day. We didn’t have a room booked for the night because our plan was to get to the airport early and sleep there.
After brunch, we decided to go to Las Ramblas and visit the “La Boqueria” food market. It was such an amazing food market with every type of food and drink that you would want. We walked on Las Ramblas and visited some shops but decided that we wanted to spend our last day at one of our favourite bars that we found.
We made our way to the bar and sat down on their patio ready to have another day of day drinking. We ordered a pitcher of mojitos, a bottle of white wine, and even tequila shots. We stayed at the bar for hours, laughing, and enjoying our beautiful last day in Barcelona.
I remember getting a text from my sister’s husband while I was at the bar, saying “where are you? be careful” but I didn’t give it much thought. I thought that he was just being anxious about us travelling between countries in general.
Hours later, we finally decided to get up and leave the bar; happy and pretty tipsy.
We were going to take a cab back to our hostel but decided to have one last beer at this bar along the beach. We didn’t want the party to end.
While there, a lady with a young child (whom barely spoke English) asked us if we heard about what happened. We said we had no idea what she was talking about.
She then told us that people had died and that something had happened in Barcelona. She looked nervous and protective of her young daughter.
I quickly glanced at my phone and realized that I had tons of missed calls and text messages from family and friends in Canada.
My friends and I started to get worried so we paid our bill and left. We didn’t think it was a terrorist attack at that point but we were nervous.
We spent half hour trying to get a cab back to our hostel but for some reason, no cabs were stopping for us. We continued to walk down the street searching for a cab.
Two men told us that the city was on lockdown and that no cabs would take us. Now, we started to freak out…
We started answering calls from family back home… they knew more about what was happening than we did. I vividly remember talking to my sister on the phone as she was freaking out about my whereabouts.
We didn’t know how we were going to get back to our hostel since we were pretty far away. We were also really scared to even walk down the streets. People were running and freaking out.
There were so many sirens going off. It didn’t help that we weren’t sober…we were terrified.
We realized that the only transportation option was the bus that was still running… we got on the bus which was filled with people crying and freaking out. We started to panic when we heard that this was a terrorist attack and that they hadn’t caught the men yet.
We spent the bus ride speaking with many worried family members. I remember my mom crying on the phone.
My best friends phone died and my phone was on low battery.
I had never felt more scared in my entire life. I kept imagining the men coming on the bus with guns. I didn’t feel safe being on there at all.
We finally got off the bus and got back to our hostel as fast as we could. On the way there we saw areas blocked off with tape and I remember looking to see if there were any bodies but we didn’t see anything.
Our next problem was we didn’t have a room booked for the night.
When we got back to the hostel, we asked the owner if we could stay there in the common area until we had to leave for our flight to Italy, the next morning. She said that we could stay there for a bit, but not for the night.
We were scared and shocked that she wouldn’t let us stay there during this lockdown.
We grabbed our luggage and went back to the streets, running and trying to find any cab driver that would take us to the airport. Eventually, one man said yes.
We were scared to even get in a cab since they hadn’t found all the men yet. But, we had no other choice or place to go.
We drove to the airport, 10 hours earlier than our flight to Italy but we were so grateful to arrive there.
I remember sitting at the airport gate and looking at my two friends sleeping beside me and thinking “wow” to everything that just happened. I was so shocked, scared, and grateful to be safe.
I was so grateful that we hadn’t stayed on Las Ramblas. I was so grateful that we decided to sit at a bar that day. I was so grateful to be alive.
I was also in awe of the number of people who had reached out or spent money calling us to make sure that we were okay.
I appreciated everything more at this point… my friends that I was with, my family’s love for me, my home country, and my life in general.
While we were in Italy the next week, I remember eagerly checking my phone daily for any details of that horrible day.
I remember anxiously looking at the list of the deceased, wondering if the next picture would be of someone that we had met during our stay there.
My heart truly goes out to those who died that day and to their families.
The point of this post was not to scare you or to make you not want to travel. I just wanted to share my story and my experience in hopes of inspiring you to appreciate your precious life more.
There’s no point to living in fear.
There’s no point in not travelling because of the chance of an awful event like this happening again.
All that we can do is be grateful for our precious lives and all the amazing things that we are blessed with every day.
Every day is a gift. Thanks for reading.