Saturday, October 21, 2017

My Barcelona Trip - Part III

Our final day in Barcelona was amazing. We planned to spend the first half of our day in Barceloneta and the second half on Montjuic Hill. The downside of the day - I got absolutely fried! But it was so worth it to spend the morning on the beach, taking in the Mediterranean Sea. Below is the recap of our final day in Barcelona.


OUR DAY 4 ITINERARY

BARCELONETA: The beach in Barceloneta was great. We had fabulous weather, it wasn't too crowded, and we were able to go in the water. When we went in the water, we found out that you don't step in sand, but on a bunch of tiny pebbles. It didn't feel super great on the feet, but the water was so beautiful that we didn't mind. After relaxing in the water for a bit, we went back onto the beach and took a nap. I also had a massage on the beach that was perfect. Our final stop on our beach adventure was lunch. We went to a restaurant that was right on the sand with the perfect view of the ocean. Plus, the food and sangria were delicious!

BARCELONETA MARKET: Before heading back to the hotel to pack, we went to a row of craft tents that were set up from a festival the week before. I bought a unique statement necklace in pastels - I love it!

MONTJUÏC CABLE CAR: We saw some of the best views of Barcelona from here. It was a quick ride, but we timed it perfectly. During our ride, we caught the sun just as it was setting, making for a beautiful trip.

MONTJUÏC CASTLE: When we arrived, it was too late to go in the castle, but we were still able to walk around it. It was huge! There aren't any other castles in the city of Barcelona, so it almost seemed out of place to have this one there, however, it was beautiful. It reminded me of other cities in Europe I've been to.

MAGIC FOUNTAINS: I absolutely loved this! In the middle of the city there's a fountain show, complete with timed colors and music, that occurs. And trust me, it was magical. I was so glad we were there on a night that they put on the show as I was in awe. I just love things that like!

EL MAMA LA PAPA: To cap off our trip, we went back to El Mama La Papas. When we were there the night before, we were told that they were having a celebration there the next night, so we made sure to attend. There were drag queens, singing, dancing, acrobatics, and so much more. It was truly the perfect way to end our time in Spain.

I still can't believe that I was able to travel to Barcelona with one of my best friends. We saw so many beautiful things and created memories that will last forever. I'm already itching to travel somewhere new! Cannot wait to make traveling to new places together a tradition. Marie, thank you for such an incredible trip!

Monday, October 16, 2017

My Barcelona Trip - Part II

The third day of our Barcelona trip was my favorite day! We signed up for a bike tour and I'm so glad we did. Biking around different parts of Barcelona was a unique way of seeing the city. Below is a recap of all the things we saw and did on our third day of our Spanish adventure!


OUR DAY 3 ITINERARY

Before we officially started our day, Marie and I went to the little market around the corner from our hotel. We sat outside sipping coffee and enjoyed people watching with the locals.

LA RAMBLA: Marie and I decided that we needed regular sized coffee (European coffees are tiny), so hit up a Starbucks. We then explored La Rambla, enjoying all the little stands that were set up along the boulevard.

LA BOQUERIA: One of the reasons we went to La Ramble was to check out La Boqueria - one of the biggest markets in the world. It had everything! Fruit, meat, juices, chocolates, and so much more.

BIKE TOUR: My favorite part! We booked our electric bike tour through TripAdvisor and it was worth every penny. The two of us, along with seven other people and our guide, went biking around Barcelona. And best of all, at the end of the tour, we went to Els Quatre Gats, a local restaurant where Picasso used to frequent, for tapas and wine - delicious!

EL BORN CULTURAL CENTRE: In the El Born neighborhood, it was discovered that under a large market were old Catalan ruins from the 1700s. We stopped there for a few minutes to take a look inside. It's incredible that centuries ago they were able to build these elaborate fortresses to protect them during the Siege of Barcelona.

PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA: What a beautiful park! We biked all through it, stopping at the main attraction, the fountain designed by Gaudí.

BARCELONETA BEACH: After stopping in Barceloneta on our first day, it was nice to return, but to a different part. Seeing all of the boats docked and the different restaurants that were available right on the beach had us so excited for our Day 4 adventure at the beach!

BASILICA SANTA MARIA DEL PI: In the middle of the Barri Gòthic district sits a stunning basilica. This cathedral was built by the people in the fourteenth century so that they could have a place to worship. Marie and I both lit candles in honor of our grandparents who have passed away.

EL MAMA LA PAPA: Marie and I were dying to go to this restaurant! We had heard from some friends that they put on an incredible show and was worth visiting. When we got there, there was a lively band playing music, which we proceeded to dance in our seats to. We also ordered fancy drinks and delicious chocolate cake!

We had such a blast together on Day 3! Exploring new places on both foot and bike, we were able to see some amazing parts of the city.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

My Barcelona Trip - Part I

A week ago I returned from my Spanish adventure with one of my best friends from college, Marie. The two of us spent our time in Barcelona and it was amazing! We packed all we could into four days, and I truly feel like we saw everything on our list. Barcelona was different than other European cities I've been to; it didn't feel as old-timey as I was expecting. Their main architect, Antoni Gaudí, really put his mark on the city, with intricate details and ornate designs. Below is a peak into our first two days touring around the city.


WHERE WE STAYED: The Hotel Silken Saint Gervasi was wonderful! Marie and I had two beds, there was free wifi, and the staff was very friendly. But best of all, it was a two minute walk to the metro station, Le Putxet, around the corner from a market, and was both quiet and safe. Highly recommend it!


OUR DAY 1 ITINERARY

After heading to the hotel to drop our bags off, Marie and I went to Plaça Catalunya for lunch. We had some coffee and sandwiches, and then headed on our bus tour. When I was first putting together a mock itinerary for us, this was something I knew we should do on day 1. It's a great way to get a lay of the land, as well as learn about the history of the city you're exploring. We decided to do all the three routes, starting with the Red and ending with the Blue. During a switch between lines, we stopped at the beach to get a look at the Mediterranean Sea - it was beautiful! Once finished our bus tour, we were pretty hungry, so went for dinner. We each had some tapas and enjoyed the beautiful outdoor weather. I love that in Europe, there are certain boulevards that are blocked off from cars so that you can truly enjoy eating outdoors, in the middle of everything. We had a wonderful first day exploring!



OUR DAY 2 ITINERARY

Our second day in Barcelona was packed! We had a relaxing day on Monday, so knew that we wanted to see as much as we could on day 2. Our first stop was Park Güell. We walked up so many stairs to get there! Before heading into the park, we stopped at the sweetest cafe for breakfast, with an amazing view of the neighborhood.


PARK GÜELL: The park definitely lived up to its hype. It was a mosaic dream. Marie and I kept marveling at how colorful and intricate everything was.


SANT PAU RECINTE MODERNISTA: Once we ate lunch, we headed to Sant Pau Recinte Modernista. What a cool place! It used to be an old hospital, with several different buildings, all connected through tunnels below. It's incredible the amount of detail that went into the design - not only with the outside of the buildings, but the colors and patterns inside.


LA SAGRADA FAMILIA: This was by far my favorite thing we saw while in Barcelona. I was just in awe. While there, we went up the Passion Tower for a stunning view of the city! From there, we listened to the audio tour, where we learned so much about the church's inspiration! Each side of the church is a different part of Christ's life - his early life, his crucifixion, and once construction is finished, his glory. The inside was just as thought out. The architect, Gaudi, used nature as his inspiration. The inside was meant to resemble a forest, the stained glass was representative of where the sun rose and set, and the doors paid homage to leaves and flowers. I could go on and on about all the little details that went into this incredible church! It is such a beautiful monument honoring Christ.


FLAMENCO SHOW: Seeing as Spain is known for flamenco, we knew we had to go see a show while there. I loved the one we chose! It was in the coolest little place called Palau Dalmases in the El Born neighborhood. It was all stone, served amazing sangria, and had very enthusiastic flamenco dancers and musicians. 


SOB STORY: On our way home from the flamenco show, my phone was stolen. Still not totally sure how it happened, as it was in my purse, but nonetheless, someone took it. I cried. I lost all my photos from the past two days (thank goodness I had my camera, though) and then had to travel without a phone. Not so fun. But, what can you do?

We had a great time exploring Barcelona the first two days! Looking forward to showing you what we did on Days 3 and 4!
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