Spending a brief time in a city is a love affair of new sights and experiences, rushing by in such a whirlwind that you’re left craving more. Barcelona has so much to offer that lovers of art, food, nightlife and shopping alike fall in love with this city so Vicky and I couldn’t wait to explore the city together.
Straight off the bus from the airport, we got our priorities straight: ice cream and exploring. Spending almost a week in Italy together meant that we bonded over a shared love of gelato and tubs in hand, we wandered the streets leading from La Rambla through the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter).
Cute vintage shops and musty bookstores captured our hearts – at least, until we arrived at the Gothic Cathedral where the flea market was filled with the sound of a jazz band playing jauntily nearby. The sun burst through the clouds, stripping away the last dregs of tiredness from our 3am wake up call, and instant contentment came over us both.
Spending New Years Eve in Barcelona was a pretty special experience as we brought in 2016 surrounded by people of all nationalities eating a dozen grapes for good luck.
New Years Day was a late start but we started it well by discovering a beautiful place for lunch: Makamaka Beach Burger Cafe. Here we swatted away the last of our hangover to devour ‘The Dude’, a burger with walnut and goat’s cheese sauce, bacon and salad, all on a multi-grain bun. Oh, and a hefty side order of fries. The smoothie selection was incredibly tempting but in the end, we opted for a chai latte each to finish.
Wanting to get out of the city centre for a while, we took the metro to Vallcarca where the most ridiculous hill dauntingly rose up in front of us. Walk a little further and you’ll find outdoor escalators that will save your legs from certain collapse. At the top, the beauty of Park Guell awaits. We were there for the golden hour, where the setting sun touches everything with an extra hint of beauty, and how wonderful it was.
We decided to spend that evening embracing another local speciality; sangria. While I’d encourage you to avoid La Baguetina Catalana like the plague, we spent a brilliant few hours chatting and people-watching. At least until we were presented with two roses, bought by the men sitting alongside us, and swiftly had to leave the area out of sheer awkwardness.
The next morning, we set our alarms to start the day in my favourite building in the world: the Sagrada Familia. So there aren’t words to express how disappointment when we arrived to find that the tickets were completely sold out for the day. Instead, we had to perk ourselves up with a simple breakfast alongside the cathedral. The cafe we chose, Arlequino, was reasonably priced (considering the area) and also stocks my favourite Portuguese cakes alongside ice cream and sandwiches!
As if sensing our sadness that we had to leave Barcelona, the sun put on an appearance for us on our final afternoon.
We stretched out on the sand and took a nap with the gentle warmth of the sun on our faces for a blissful ending to our break in Barcelona.