I went to Barcelona back in March 2014 – scary to think that it was nearly a year ago. How time has flown! It was a trip of much excitement, mixed with many catastrophes and a splash of bad luck. But bad luck always makes a good story when it’s not too serious, right?
I kept a diary of my trip and am using the contents to relive my sunny Spanish adventure. I travelled from Switzerland to Barcelona to meet my lovely Danish friend Mathilde who I had met while au pairing in France. Oh and I am English. Europe really is a small place! I hope you enjoy reading my adventures from this beautiful Spanish capital and find my top tips of use.
The journey to Barcelona was full of stressful situations. Due to mixing up my boarding pass times, I ended up arriving to the airport two hours early and missing a picnic on the beach, back in Switzerland. Darn. I was also placed next to a couple with a newborn baby on the flight, so I unsubtly swapped seats before take off. I needed some quiet alone time before my holiday – I hope they weren’t too mad! My flight arrived a lot later than scheduled, and therefore, I only met up with Mathilde at 8pm. No more time was wasted as we hit the streets of Barcelona.
We were staying in the Gracia district, a thirty minute walk to the centre of the city (ten minutes by metro) and very near to the Park Guell (or the Gaudi park, as it is known in England). It was a rather cool and artsy area that was far cheaper than the city centre! We went to a few bars and had the chance to catch up. We then found a nice Lebanese restaurant called Al Waha, that we ended up returning to every night. The staff was super friendly and the food, so healthy and inexpensive. Each night we went, we got an extra special treat from the staff. On the first night we received a free cup of tea, but by the end of the trip we were given a free dessert and biscuit with our tea! I recommend the restaurant if you are a fan of Lebanese food, as well as the street it was on – Carrer de Verdi. It was full of great bars and every type of food you could dream of. We had found our heaven!
Our Lebanese food obsession did however mean that we failed miserably in trying out anything remotely Spanish. Tapas and churros are on my bucket list for when I return in the hopefully near future.
Day two – The First Real Day.
After our first night of exploring, we finally got home at 3 am. Eating Lebanese food and finding more bars in that wonderful street took up most of the night. We didn’t wake up until 10 am and ate breakfast at the hostel. This simple meal gave us energy as we head out for day of exploring.
My diary says “we walked and didn’t stop until 7pm”. This really was no lie. After navigating our way into the centre and exploring all the side streets, we ended up in the Gothic district near the Cathedral (La Seu). It was a sunny day and there were people singing outside which really made the experience even better.
We really enjoyed just walking around, getting lost and finding exciting and new places to go. We discovered a cafe tucked away just behind the cathedral. A bright yellow door invited us in, where we had the best chai lattes I have ever tasted – Starbucks has never been the same since.
Along the way we encountered nuns in sunglasses far trendier than mine, a few hundred designer boutiques, plenty of ice cream shops and the wonderful Picasso museum, where I bought my diary. After walking around further, we came across a flea market by harbor simply by chance and a rare ounce of good luck (the next few days will show you what I mean when I say that this trip was full of mishaps). It was full of locals, many Spanish hipsters and a whole lot of clothes to sort through. I came out with two pairs of sunglasses (both of which have broken since my return – sigh) and a full length Japanese kimono. At the time, kimonos were not on trend but I thought it was pretty cool. I never did have the nerve to wear it, but hopefully I will use it for something one day.
The rest of the day included a trip to the harbor for some important photo opportunities, a few more pit stops at local cafes and a dinner back at Al Waha – baklava was included with the tea that night. Our plans of going out were crossed out due to pure exhaustion and I can tell you this is true by the state of my handwriting at this point!
If we could have captured our day and copy and pasted it like you can a blog post, we would have – for the next two days were full of lost rambles, transport disasters, failing to spot Macaulay Culkin and closed art museums.