Hola Barcelonaaaaa! I was so unsure of what to expect of Barcelona and España in general! Basically the whole city is on display for you, even the hidden parts! From magic fountains to family castles, amazing artists and architecture and random alleyways overflowing with wall art just in case you happen to stumble across it. Which is what we did!Most of the cities we venture to across Europe can sometimes feel like ticking off a box of historic monuments that you “have to see” and as Barcelona was the last leg of our recent Euro trip we were less interested in historic cathedrals (although we still managed to stumble across one) and more interested in getting lost in a very busy city and falling over hidden Barcelona secrets instead of actively searching for them.
Here’s what I discovered and the fun I got up to!
The first thing we did was walk down the classic Plaça de Catalunya street from our hotel to connect down to La Rambla, we walked passed the masses lining up for Casa Batlló – an extremely quirky apartment designed by Gaudi, down past fountains and tree-lined streets, stopped in for a happy hour before ending up at the ever vibrant Las Ramblas! This street is an easy-access guide for tourists to get around in Barcelona, forget the hotel map, anything that’s anything is directed with an arrow at every cross street, you can basically just stroll down the 1.2km street veering off when something catches your eye!
There are outdoor restaurants lining the street with fish bowl size sangria and beer beverages, waiters are running across the side streets to bring food from the chef and it appears to be a little hard to score seating but like they say, the early bird gets the worm!
Next up: Parks on parks on parks!Give me a park a day and I’m one happy gal! We make our way through the Park Ciutadella and laze around, staring into giant greenhouses and admiring garden beauty. There’s a lake you can row across and beds of shady purple petals welcoming you to relax on.There’s also a massive water fountain structure which is truly impressive to stand in front, as well as street performers blowing giant, soapy bubbles into the air for the young local children to run and play with. So many moments to capture if you just sit and watch them unfold. So often travelling it’s all go go go, but it was refreshing to be able to take a breather and sit and relax in nature, admiring life like a local and soaking in the Barcelona sunshine.
The next park I was dying to sink my feet into was Park Güell.My google maps took me this really random way and I had even noticed escalators going up a hill and thought, omg, that’s so cool, I’ve never seen outdoor escaltors and sort’ve chuckled to myself, then walking a few blocks up and hiking up what I’m fairly sure was eleven thousand STEEP steps, realized why the escalators were in place before. I did get to see some elderly locals swapping their lunch on a bench at the top and they stared at me oddly as I filmed my vlogs and probably wondered why I was talking to my camera, but I snapped an iphone pic of proof of my efforts!I finally got to the top and walked in through the Park Güell entrances (one of the entrances) and thought myself lucky for my misguided google maps and entering through the hard way, if I hadn’t I might have missed this amazing view of some of Barcelona’s city skyline!I walked down through the park, across pretty flower gardens, ran through pillars, waited for my turn to go into the timed and ticketed monumental zone area to see the mosaic walls decorating the opening. Snapped some happy snaps of the prominent Gaudi designs sticking out above the skyline and then exited the park to go get some fruit sorbet on a stick – always a good idea.You pass by so many tourist shops and some actually have some really cool things, I saw some “I heart Barcelona” panties as well as this cool shot pourer – pictured. Unfortunately my only souvenirs seem to be bracelets, keychains and fridge magnets – basically sizeable items that will fit in my suitcase without any dramas!We randomly started following a walking tour through the Gothic Quarter and stopped to take in the graffiti art, we also passed under a deserted bridge with different peoples portraits painted across it, it’s all so random and I love it. It’s what I loved most about visiting Melbourne in Australia, you never know what you’ll find decorating an alleyway, it’s like a creative stranger has just left art in various areas in hopes it brightens your day. Art for the sake of art.We did stumble across a cathedral – of course. And we did stop a while, just to listen to the street performers playing their tunes and enjoy the melody and sunshine. We never really knew which way we were going and definitely didn’t design our days. I didn’t check out the beach and I didn’t do the 3D tour of the Sagrada Familia, but I also didn’t care. I got fabulously lost in the crowds of one of the most jam-packed cities I’ve been to yet, I stayed still when others were busying past, I smelled the Spanish roses, fell asleep underneath the park trees and spent the plane ride to Sweden listening to ‘Learning Spanish by Rosetta Stone’ – Adios Barcelona – hasta la próxima!