A SPANISH INQUISITION
Barcelona lives rent-free in my mind and in my heart. Of the three cities I’ve been to in Spain, I think Barcelona is the place I’d keep going back to. And with good reason. It’s a melting pot of so many different experiences that every hour feels different. I travelled to Barcelona with my sister and hubby. The initial plan had been for us to travel as a group of 6 with friends but life got in the way and we were forced to postpone. So off the three of us went in September 2019 looking forward to some downtime after an emotionally taxing year. We landed in Barcelona from Ibiza (a story for another blog!), quite excited to have a calmer few days after a crazy couple of days on the infamous party island. Naturally, rest or no rest, we were gonna do some touristy things. I love travelling with my husband and sister because they leave all the planning to me. It can get exhausting planning itineraries but then again, I get to slot in all the things I want to do *wink wink*
We stayed in an AirBnB, which was a great idea for affordability and just a relaxed environment. Our place overlooked a school and unfortunately the kids were not on holiday so at certain times the bell would go off and the children would spill into the playground playing loudly. Fortunately though, we spent most of our time out in the streets so it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience. The first day was spent meandering the city streets, and of course the first stop was the unmissable La Sagrada Família - Basílica de la Sagrada Familia. To be honest, it’s a monstrosity if ever there was one. It looks like a haunted building straight out of a Marilyn Manson music video. I should probably do 10 Hail Marys just for saying that because it’s actually a church! And get this, it’s the world’s most famous unfished church, construction having started in 1882! Hideous as it is, it’s just extraordinary. I must admit though, it was a magical experience.
Me being me, I had googled places where we could grab drinks and have an uninterrupted view of the La Sagrada Família. And that’s how we ended up at a rooftop bar with the most perfect view of the church away from the bustling crowds down below. After we tired of that, we went to have a meal and more drinks (of course) at El Nacional – what a gem! Certainly on the high side of the price scale, but certainly worth it in my view. It’s a hub of eateries and lovely bars with different types of cuisine and many offerings of Cava, which was my drink of choice while in Spain. I must admit, I must have tried about 10 or more different varietals during our stay but it just never quite hit the mark like champagne or MCC does. But I’m a never say die!
We took a leisurely walk in the area, passing through the famous Arc de Triomf, the Mirador de Colom strolling down La Rambla Street until our feet hurt and begged for Cava – LOL. We also saw the Agbar Tower, which my hubby calls the D* building because of its shape *hides*. Eventually we made our way to the Picasso Museum for some mandatory culture. What a wonder weaving through the passages with art-filled walls and witnessing history. Truly magnificent.
Day two was spent getting to and walking through Parc Güell. My husband decided to give this part of the itinerary a miss in favour of Camp Nou – the Barcelona Team Stadium – good for him! I must admit it was a mission getting to Parc Güell and at some point we almost turned back. We took busses to get there but in hindsight that was a mistake. The trip was saved by a quick stopover for a sandwich to fuel up. We eventually arrived to a snaking queue which made us feel so dejected but we stayed the course and finally got in. The park was lovely. It’s a lot of walking so be prepared. But it’s got so many gems inside and really worth a visit. If there’s a more seamless way to get there, like an Uber, then I would definitely do that next time.
After getting back home it was time for some QT with the husband at Marcado de La Boqueria, probably the most popular market in the city. The food was amazing and the vibe was great especially as we prepared to dance the night away. We walked the streets, strolling into any bar that caught our eye for a beer and then onto the next. I must admit that this kind of unplanned, carefree evening always makes for the best experience. We ended up at a Club in Plaça Reial called Jamboree which turned into a jump as the night wore on. We must have gotten home after 3am in the morning. A day well spent methinks.
Our last day was spent eating so much Paella that I think I’m probably good for the next 5 years. All in all, Barcelona was a most amazing experience. Would I go back again, yes! But not before I tick off at least 50% of the places on my bucket list.