I’m not gonna lie, Ed Sheeran’s recent song had me pretty pumped about finally getting to see everything that Barcelona has to offer.
So with “Barcelona” streaming through my headphones, I tried to calm myself down, as I set off for my weekend adventure.
I ended up flying to Barcelona on Friday, and flying home Monday, which gave me a good 2.5 days to fit in as much as humanly possible.
And that I did.
Within approximately 30 hours, I strolled along the beautiful beach, gazed at Gaudi’s impressive La Pedrera, joined a tour through the famous Sangrada Familiar, took a gallery’s worth of photos at Park Güell, made and tested tapas, sangria and paella at a Spanish cooking class, wandered around Las Ramblas and taste-tested at La Boqueria, smiled from ear to ear at the “magic fountain” show, and enjoyed some of the best ice-cream and churros I’ve had.
I’ll start at the beginning, shall I? I was staying at Amistat Beach Hostel for the weekend, so the first thing I did when I arrived was, you guessed it, go straight to the beach.
I changed from my plane clothes into shorts and a t-shirt…
I mean, it’s the end of October, so it wasn’t BOILING HOT or anything, but I was just so excited about sun and warm weather, having come from England.
Anyway, I strolled along the beach, with the sun setting in front of me, and locals playing beach volleyball while listening to Spanish music, it was heaven.
That night I made myself pasta for dinner (the hostel provides free pasta, bonus), and planned out my 2 days on the “hop on, hop off” tour bus, to ensure I saw as much of Barcelona as possible.
The buses take tourists around to all the main attractions, and were a great way for me to get around on my own. I also used the local buses to get to and from the hostel, since it isn’t in the city centre. There was one hiccup, when protests changed the bus route, and of course my stop was inaccessible. Since my Spanish is limited to ‘hola’ and ‘gracias’, I was unable to read the warnings on the bus, which made things interesting.
However, I had no other issues and always had locals help me along the way.
One of the main highlights for me was Park Güell. The colours of the Monumental Precinct amazed me.
Please learn from my mistakes and allow a lot of time to get there before your scheduled timeslot. I was late for my allocated time (I may or may not have wasted time getting some empanadas), and I’m still thanking the universe that I was still able to get in.
There are countless photo opportunities within the park and the monument, so make sure to bring your camera! And I would suggest checking online for tickets to the Monument, since it is often booked out. Oh, and wear your walking shoes, it is a park after all, and there are some pretty impressive hills.
But enough tips from me. The architecture in the Monumental Precinct is very impressive and original. And the unique, Gaudi designed mosaics make the perfect backdrop for a great Instagram photo.
I spent the day asking randoms to take my photo… and praying that they wouldn’t run away with my camera. So far, so good.
If you do make it to Barcelona, I would definitely recommend visiting one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. If not Park Güell, then maybe Casa Batllo, or La Sangrada Familia (which was also amazing to see).
But the highlight of my weekend, was actually the Spanish Cooking Class. I met a great group of American girls, who made the night a great one.
We began with some sangria and tapas, some baguette style bread, with olive oil spooned on top, followed by a rub of a tomato wedge. Not something I ever would have tried myself, but I actually liked it!
We also learned to make sangria. Can I just say, if you also go to a Spanish cooking class, please, don’t be the one that gets drunk from sangria and becomes extremely annoying for the rest of the night.
And after all of that, we began to cook the paella. I learnt a lot that night. Including what the spine of calamari looks and feels like (clear and plasticy) and how to prepare and eat prawns (I know, it’s late in my life to be learning this).
I surprisingly loved the paella. It was filled with fresh and delicious seafood, and flavoured with sweet paprika and turmeric. We even got to cook it in one of the giant sized paella pans! Another reason not to get drunk on the sangria, those things get dangerously hot!
Strolling along La Rambla is definitely a must while in Barcelona, I mean c’mon, it’s even mentioned in Ed’s song.
I was amazed by the range of ice-cream flavours in the stalls along La Rambla. So amazed that I had an ice-cream every day I was there.
Don’t judge, I’m on holidays.
La Boqueria had the most delicious cups of fresh fruit for €1, so even after my ice-cream, I couldn’t refuse. Another market speciality is the cones of meat and cheese, I mean what more can you ask for?
Barcelona simply blew me away. I loved the streets lined with palm trees, the caring and helpful locals, the beauty within the simplicity of the apartment buildings, and of course the sun and warm temperatures.
Until next time Barcelona, and I’m praying there will be a next time!