Fancy seeing you all back here 🙂
After exploring the Best Rocky Beaches on the Maltese Islands this Summer it was time to head to another country even if for a short getaway. As I had mentioned in my Where to Next? blog post my awesome friends got me flight tickets for my birthday. The secret destination was Barcelona! Obviously it was not as secret to me, I do not like surprises and half the fun is planning the holiday itself, don’t you think?
Brace yourselves, I have so much to tell you!
I went with my friend Amy who you have met before when she came Searching for Paradise with me. It was our first time travelling just us two. We both have a short attention span and have no sense of direction but…food is both our everlasting love and we always have the best times together.
We flew from Luqa, Malta airport to Girona on a Saturday afternoon. Once we got there we asked the tourist information…we needed all the help we could get. We left with great instructions as to what bus to take and a free map!
The bus from Girona airport to central Barcelona costs around €25 , return included valid for a month. It is about an hour and twenty minute bus drive to the Barcelona Nord Station, scenic at times with views of Hills and stunning houses.We were too excited to sleep anyway so we tried to get acquainted with the maps.
Upon arrival we decided our Hostel was definitely not that far and that we should walk to it to get a glimpse of the city. With our endless wandering and lack of sense of direction, we finally got tired of carrying our carry-ons and whipped out Google Maps- also know as, life saver.
We stayed at Diagonal House Hostel on Av. Diagonal. Being from a small country I was not thinking that one road could stretch so far. It basically cuts diagonally (makes sense now) through Barcelona.
[side note: I may have chosen this hostel because the name reminds me of Diagon Alley in Harry potter]
We got to the Hostel at around 8 pm, had to ask a stranger to open the door because they were not answering, but we finally made it! Got our keys, chugged all luggage into the lockers and off we went, here come the fun parts!
The first night we explored the surrounding area and ended up walking La Ramblas, the main shopping street of Barcelona. Our Hostel location was great, very strategically placed close to the landmarks and a metro station.
Beware of pick pockets in this area particularly as many go for shopping and so people are the perfect targets here. A man tried to get his hands into my backpack but luckily I noticed in time. I kept my backpack’s opening (the front) facing my back the whole time, this way they would have much harder time getting in to it.
During the week we were there ‘La Merce’ was taking place, a street festival of art and music. Live acts and drinking Estrella beer in the streets seemed to be the norm on the night. We had a look around but then decided to go for dinner ;we were famished!
We searched on trip advisor and got suggested Felice restaurant for Tapas, plus this was around 10 mins away from our hostel. We had a selection of mouth-watering Tapas, the staff is super-friendly also. Basic knowledge of Spanish or Italian would help you greatly but the waiter was kind enough to meet us in the middle, with regards to language, when it came to ordering food. Plus, you get to leave the bill payment in the cutest little treasure box. Great value for money too, all over Barcelona when it comes to food.
The next morning we woke up nice and early. The first day was dedicated to artistic sightseeing – my favorite thing to do in any city. I just feel like every place has so much heart , history and art to offer, I just cannot get enough.
Amy and I walked down towards Casa Battlo, stopping for a quick croissant and coffee on the way. The house is amazing , and definitely a must see . The audio guide is also very detailed. The entrance fee runs at around €22, but if you are on a tight budget you can always marvel at it and other designs by Gaudi from the outside.
The patio is stunning and the skylight so perfectly designed. The tiles encasing the skylight all seem to be the same colour when viewed from the first floor of the house, however the tiles actually get darker as you go up. Gaudi designed this in such a way as to ensure that the light hits every part of the house equally. Some describe the house as an experience of being underwater, and I must say I agree. The curved shapes and different colours give you the feeling that you are exploring a coral reef rather than an architectural master piece. I got two Gaudi bookmarks from the gift shop (read about Cher’s Top Reads here) and then decided we wanted to wander some more.
Barcelona in my opinion, is like Paris in many ways, there is art or an activity going on at every corner. We walked all the way down to the Barcelona Port. Activities related to La Merce, ice-cream and waffle stalls paved our way. We then took the metro and moved on to Park Guell.
A metro ride and the steepest hill I have ever been on away (there are escalators to help you, it’s that steep) we arrived. We got some lunch from a tiny place just at the top of the hill and ate it at the park.
Stunning views, greenery and sunshine.The park itself has free admission. However, to get into Gaudi’s house and a scenic view area it comes at a cost. We figured we would rather just walk around the Park instead.
Street performers played music , entertained in costumes and painted caricatures along the way. I intend to go back one day, hiking shoes on and trail the park, embracing more of its nature and what it has to offer. Carrob trees give the whole park the sweetest smell.
Sagrada Familia-or not?
We then took the metro from the park to the famous Sagrada Familia. However, upon arrival, at around 6pm, we were told the tickets were sold out for the day and to get them online for the next. We only got to enjoy the view from the outside on that day, but alas, it is so majestic!
We then headed for dinner and had an amazing seafood Paella. Got ourselves an Estrella beer for the road and called it an early night. Day two was already jam-packed as we had planned it; we had to add Sagrada Familia then too.
So that is how I spent my first hours in Barcelona, naturally I will be writing what I did on the rest of the days.
Thanks again for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to follow me on instagram
Cher shares xx