Several days after I turned in my MA thesis Sam and I celebrated by purchasing a Groupon trip to Barcelona. Turns out it was a total scam. The hotel that the coupon was for wasn’t the hotel they were going to put us in, we’d be on separate flights- all kind of crazy things. We had to call 12 times to try to get them to redeem what we had purchased. And by us, I mean Sam because I get phone anxiety. I’ll talk to anyone in person but hand me a phone and really awkward things happen. I have zero phone grace; I script out important calls. But back to the story. Luckily, Groupon completely refunded our money. Bad news we were down one trip. So Sam swung into action and sorted it out for us!
Our hotel was amazingly central. We were just a short walk from La Rambla. Since we were only going to be in Barcelona for two days we spent the first day on one of those Hop-on, Hop-off Tour buses. Cheesy yes, but for short stays I recommend them because you can get a general gist of the famous sites, and pick which ones are the most important for you to see on this trip and which you can save for another. Then you don’t have to feel like you need to run around frantically trying to cram everything a city has to offer in one short go.
Of course we hit up all the Gaudi Classics.
Since I minored in Spanish and cultural studies are part of that degree I’d seen hundreds of pictures of La Sagrada Familia. But they all fell QUITE short from describing the extravagant, fantastic, amazingness that is the Sagrada.
(Ceiling in La Sagrada Familia)
Sam and I both came to the conclusion that I “accidentally” force him to do things he hates. Like being up high, anywhere. The London Eye, the Eiffel Tower, the top of the Sagrada….
(Sam looking very nervous at the top of one of the Sagrada spires)
Parc Guell was my favourite part of the trip. We spent ages there.
We took the cable car up to the top of Montjuic and then walked all the way down, and crossed the city to the beach. No trip to a seaside city would be complete for Sam without a trip to the beach. If you do all the walking trails down Montjuic you will find all these amazing picnic spots, photo spots and playgrounds for kids and adults. (Including the longest slide I’ve ever been on.)
On our last day in Spain we went to the Mercat de la Boqueria, aka the best food market in the entire world and also the part of the trip I was most looking forward to- all that food!!!!! It was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
(Mercat de la Boqueria)
We also experienced culinary highs and lows. We had some truly horrific Paella. But then we also had some of the best chorizo I’ve ever had. We also splashed out for dinner one night and it was one of the finest meals I’ve ever had. And of course we hit up Bar Marsella, one of the last remaining 200 year old Bohemian absinthe bars. Where everyone from Picasso to Hemingway liked to have a drink, and where part of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” was filmed. Obviously we both had absinthe, which while I found the taste unpleasant, I really liked the ritual in preparing it. (Be forewarned though, it is in the red-light district.) I was convinced we were going to get mugged because it was really shady, middle of the night, we were drunk and Sam is too friendly.