I went for a little weekend break to Barcelona with my good chum Jodie back in September, we only went for 3 days but we managed to pack a ton of sightseeing and exploring in those 3 days. I’m such a busybody tourist whenever I visit somewhere new, I like to plan every second of my trip and cram in as many sites as I can and spend as much time as possible exploring, pretty much the only time I will sit still for longer than an hour is to go to sleep. Luckily for me, Jodie is very similar to me in that sense, she was more than happy to have everything we’re doing planned out so that we had minimal “chill” time. I had such a great time in this amazing city, every corner that you walk around homes something that you’re going to want to stop and look at, the architecture is so varied and exciting it’s just like every building you walk past is something worth taking a photo of.
The overall vibe of the city was beyond what I expected too, we arrived in Barcelona the day before the Catalan independence vote so I can imagine that the atmosphere isn’t always as electric as it seemed to me, but to be able to see and feel the emotion of all the protests that were going on felt very special – though they scared the shit out of me, I’m not used to seeing people battling against police in riot vans wearing balaclavas. I haven’t really travelled much apart from a couple of city breaks over the last few years, truth be told I am terrified of flying so that is honestly the biggest thing that puts me off going away more, but this trip really set me off on wanting to travel, since coming home I have booked trips to Iceland and Lisbon next year – so expect more travel posts! I took so many photos while in Barcelona that I thought I would write up a little bloggy scrapbook of my hightlights of the trip.
A lot of the highlights of the trip for me were seeing all the Gaudí buildings, Sagrada Familia seemed like the most obvious one for us to start off at, it is probably one of the most recognisable buildings in Barcelona, it’s also famous for being under construction since the late 1800’s and still isn’t set to be completed until about 2016 (you can see an amazing animation of how it’s going to look here). Despite not being fully built, this building is INSANE, I was amazed and the sheer size of this thing, it’s enormous, as soon as we walked out of the metro station it was just stood there right in your face. The outside of the building is way more impressive in real life than it is in any photos, the detail from the carvings are on a scale that I have never seen before, the intricacy is beyond words. I really loved the little pops of colour that you could see randomly dotted over the exterior. The interior is just as incredible, I think its the detail that really struck me while looking around the cathedral, all of the shapes, colour and lighting make the building feel so magical.
Tickets available here
Aka Casa Mila, this was the first of the two Gaudi houses that we visited, this one is the more practical of the two buildings which are down the same street as each other. This building is still to this day a functioning apartment block, there are actual people living in this building (£££££££££££!!!!!), there is a mock apartment which is set to recreate an apartment from the early 20th century, it is also entirely fit with original fixtures like the door handles and tiles). You start your journey of the block in a little area which is right in the middle of the building, it’s almost like a little courtyard which leads you onto a lift which takes you to the attic. The attic contains lots of information on Gaudi’s life and his designs, it’s like a little museum. I didn’t read very much in this part, instead, I spent my time just wandering around looking at the building itself. Next, you go down to the floor which is set out as the apartment, I think that things like this are so cool; to see a little piece of the history of the building and actually be in it is so much more interesting than just seeing photos. Following this we went up to the roof terrace which is really surreal looking, the whole roof is dotted with these sand-like sculptures, the view from the roof was amazing as well.
Tickets available here
This was my favourite of both the Gaudi houses, it has such a magical and mystical feel which I think was largely because of all the colours. Every room that you went into had a totally different vibe from the last one, sometimes it would almost feel like you’re in a completely different building. You had the option of doing an audioguide here which included a little phone which had some kind of augmented reality setting on it, you could look at the screen and the room around you would start to come alive.
Tickets available here
Park Guell was such an unexpected highlight for both of us. The walk from the metro station to the park nearly killed us and when we got there all of the signs were in Spanish (not like we were in Spain or anything) so we spent ages just wandering around trying to find the entrance, but it was totally worth the walking. The park is full of amazing colours and little details, it felt like a very special place. The view of the city from the park was incredible as well, you had the whole city and the sea in one direction, and if you turned around you were surrounded by the park and the mountains in the distance. We managed to get up to the platform just as the sun was at its fullest, I got a little burnt but it was a memory that I’ll never forget.
Tickets available here
I wish I could have spent more time exploring the Gothic Quarter, we went there for dinner one evening in search of some traditional paella, we ended up going to a little restaurant called Restaurant Pitarra where we stuffed ourselves with fresh bread and the paella we were craving, I had a veggie one and Jodie had seafood. The walk back to the metro after the meal was really all I got to see of The Gothic Quarter but I would definitely recommend having a wander around the beautiful cobbled streets to see what hidden gems you come across.
Food markets are like my idea of heaven, being surrounded by so much amazing food and produce is something which I would enjoy anywhere in the world. This market was very very busy, its just off La Ramblas so be warned that it will probably be packed, but it is well worth it.
My obsessive planning always leads me to plan where I want to eat when I go away, I had stumbled across Chaka Khan online a few weeks before the trip and the menu looked incredible, I knew we had to go. The restaurant “Khan” is on the top floor and the bar “Chaka” is on the ground floor, the whole place is decorated and designed in an exotic but sleek way, I loved the whole vibe of the place and the staff were amazing, even the head chef came over and introduced himself and shook our hands, it felt like a really special experience. We started off by having a drink at the bar while we waited for a table to be free, I had a mocktail called the Amador which was coriander, cucumber, ginger, grapefruit, lemon & pink peppercorn, it was unlike any drink I’ve ever had but it was amazing, it was so nice to have an exciting non-alcoholic option instead of just a coke or orange juice. Onto the important part, for my main, I had slow-cooked beef cheek in a peanut and allspice sauce with fufu (haha), it was insane, I would pay to go back to Barcelona just to eat this. For pudding, I had an ice cream sandwich with saffron and pistachios and Jodie had chocolate ganache, spiced bread & hemp seeds, we couldn’t choose between the two so got both and swapped half way.
I don’t really need to say anything do I? just look at them doughnuts! I found choc on Instagram and immediately put it on our to-do list, I bought a Kinder Bueno and cereal doughnut and a Nutella cronut which, I ate all 3 to myself and didn’t regret it one bit.
I hope you enjoyed my first travel post, I can wait to share more travels next year, thanks for reading! X