¡Hola amigos! For this month’s blog, I’m continuing with a travel theme as I recently came back from a short trip to Barcelona, and now I’m pining for the beautiful Spanish city.
I flew out to Barcelona on the 5th, with my mum and my friend David, who happened to be celebrating his birthday the next day. Following a long and stressful morning, we landed on Barcelonian soil around 1pm. We jumped on the Metro and got off at the nearest stop to our apartment, and after what felt like a ten mile walk (it was around two miles, but with a load of luggage it felt like so much more), we finally arrived at our home for the next three nights and settled in.
A quick freshen up later, and we were ready to explore the sights of Barcelona. As we basked in the glory of the sunshine, I couldn’t help but feel as if we were in Miami or something. Not that I’ve ever been, but the surrounding palm trees and general exotic atmosphere resembled the Miami you see on the TV, and that’s something that I kept repeating the whole time. In fact, if I could have popped a palm tree in my suitcase to take home, I definitely would have.
As someone who lives in wet and windy Wales, I truly appreciated the beautiful weather from the off. It made me laugh to see the locals wrapped up in big thick coats, whilst we were parading around in short sleeves and sunglasses. It just goes to show how awful our weather can be back home, hence why it’s all “sun’s out, guns out” once we see a little bit of sunshine. (There was a slight thunderstorm on Wednesday night but it cleared the air up beautifully by Thursday).
Our trip was fairly chilled in terms of plans, but we had a couple of must-do things on our agenda. One of these things was a visit to Barcelona Zoo. I’m far from being an animal person, and I don’t think I’ve been to a zoo since I was about seven years old. However, the zoo was incredible, and we actually spent hours walking around in fascination at the countless animals. My favourite, by far, was the meerkats – I could have genuinely sat and watched them all day. They’re such funny creatures, and kept us entertained with their cute antics. I also fell in love with the Galapagos Giant Tortoise – it genuinely didn’t look real. To watch it walk was truly hypnotising!
We also visited the Sagrada Familia and Gaudi House Museum, two of the most popular attractions in Barcelona. Before flying out, we decided to buy a TurboPass which gave you a great deal on travel and attractions during your stay, so we got to skip the queue at both of these attractions and guarantee our entry. (The TurboPass had a whole lot of other perks and was well worth the money, so you should consider buying one if you’re off to Barca!).
The Sagrada Familia was beautiful – the detail on the building is so intricate, it’s no wonder that it’s still yet to be finished! The inside was also stunning – I’ve never been so mesmerised by stained glass windows. I wasn’t too impressed with Gaudi’s House, but I guess it pretty much replicated the simple life that he lead. However, the views of Barcelona from Park Güell were just superb, making the trip to Gaudi’s House worthwhile.
In terms of other touristy stuff, we took two trips on the Barcelona Bus Turístic. We ventured on both the blue and red route, which was handy in terms of spotting some great landmarks. There was an audioguide on the bus, which you listened to via headphones. It was great when it spoke about the actual attractions etc, but in between they would play classical music which, combined with the fresh air on the top deck, made us really sleepy! There was definitely more to see on the red route, but I’m glad we did both.
We also ventured along Las Ramblas, which was so overwhelming. From markets and stalls, to museums and street artists, there was plenty to see and do, but you had to be on guard. It’s a notorious pick-pocket location (the number of people who wore their rucksacks on their front was crazy) and we also experienced a ridiculous number of men offering us all sorts of drugs as we were trying to mind our own business. They’ll do anything to try and distract you there, but it didn’t deter us from having a lovely time. We simply ignored them and continued our journey!
One of my favourite places to visit during the short trip was Port Vell, the waterfront harbour. It was just really pretty and peaceful, and also super fun to pretend that we owned one of the many boats that were docked. We walked miles along here, and onto the beach nearby. In fact, a key theme throughout the trip was walking. We used a little of our Metro TurboPass, but for the most part we just walked everywhere, especially as the weather was so beautiful. Over the few days, we walked around 50 miles which proved to be painful (definitely busted my knee), but enjoyable too.
One of the most entertaining things down at the port was the number of street sellers. Again, they’re notorious in Barcelona and you’re warned not to buy anything from them as they sell counterfeit goods. (In some areas, they even had signs saying that you’d be fined €50 if you were caught buying from them!) What made me laugh the most about them was the domino effect you saw if the police were in the surrounding area. As soon as one seller was notified, they would whip up their stock and slowly walk away with their goods in a big blanket. Next thing, you’d see the message make its way down the line, with each seller grabbing the four corners of their sheets and gathering up their goods in seconds.
The port was our favourite place to go for food too. On the first night, we explored down the port but made our way back to the centre and ate in the Hard Rock Cafe instead, a favourite of ours wherever we go so it was a must. However, on the other two nights we ate in the restaurants by the port, which provided a beautiful setting. Do watch out for certain cheeky restaurants who charge you 10% for sitting outside, but when in Spain…(the view was worth it).
On our last day in Barcelona, we had a late flight so made the most of our day by dropping off our luggage in Locker Barcelona. Handy tip for you, don’t book online. We had five bags between us to put into storage, and from the information on the website, we assumed that we’d need several lockers, equating to around €40 for the day. However, when we got there, the lady was extremely helpful and suggested the XL locker, which just about managed to hold all five of our bags, and only cost €12 for the day! It made our last day a lot easier, as we didn’t have to lug around a ridiculous amount of cases.
Late on the Saturday night, it was sadly time for us to leave Barcelona. I was gutted to miss Ed Sheeran’s gig by a day – I would have sold my soul to hear him sing Barcelona whilst in Barcelona, but I’m sure I would have done him proud during my trip, dancing around the Sagrada Familia, drinking Sangria and all that!
Barcelona feels like a hundred years ago now, but I’m so fortunate to have had such an amazing time there. The trip came at a much needed time for me, and nothing pulls you out of a slump more than a bit of sunshine and culture. I hope to return one day, but for now, the memories will have to make do.