Spain Travels Part I: Barcelona

It has been about a week and a half since we got back from our epic Spain trip.  I intended to divide it into 3 parts as we did cover a lot of Spain in the week and half we were there.  So part 1 — Barcelona.

I didn’t know what to expect out of Barcelona.  You always hear about it and it is a frequently visited city.  Sure there is Gaudi’s work and the Sagrada Familia but what I didn’t know is its history and the food, and man did we eat!

We arrived in Barcelona on a Saturday night.  We picked a place to stay at in the El Born district which is just next to the Barri Gotic.  I’m not gonna lie but it was hard to get your bearings and find your flat in this part of town.  The city is laid out in an old grid and without having turned on our cell data, we didn’t have maps on the first night.  Anyways, we found it after going around in circles a few times lol.

Our first day in Barcelona, we did walk around in awe over Barri Gotic.  The buildings and its history is enough for me.  We then headed down La Rambla which is the main drag that takes you all the way to the waterfront– Barceloneta.  We hung around here for a bit and enjoyed the views of the Mediterranean sea as we were seeing it for the first time.  We got lucky as we’ve heard that spring in Spain is rainy but hey no rain to be seen here!

After Barceloneta, we headed to Sagrada Familia.  We bought tickets ahead of time so make sure to make your appointment time.  I definitely recommend this to avoid lines.  As you wait to get in make sure to spend some time at the park across the street.  It has some good views of the church.  Since the church was so big it is better to take pictures from the park.  So what did I think of Sagrada Familia?  Well it is enormous!  The interior of it is something out of this world.  Even though it is not my favorite church, I truly respect Gaudi and the fact that he was well beyond his time in designing something crazy as this church!

From Sagrada Familia we went straight to Gaudi’s other work which is Park Guell.  We strolled the grounds and it sure was pleasant!  The views from the park is to die for.  We didn’t pay extra for the museum as it was enough for us just to see the park grounds.  But if you are interested I think the entrance is 10 Euros.

After our excursion, we returned to our flat and rested and headed out to El Born Cultural Center and to the park across the street which had a lot going on for a Sunday afternoon.  From there we used the Metro for the first time after using taxis this entire time.  We headed to Casa Batllo to again wonder at Gaudi’s work.  Casa Batllo is on Passeig de Gracia which is a main shopping center, I would say similar to 5th Ave in New York City.  One thing to point out is on Sundays a lot of places close early or not open at all!  That is one reason why the list of restaurants we wanted to try were closed 😦

For dinner on a Sunday we just ventured out in our neighborhood and was able to find a Pintxos place, then headed to a tapas bar and ordered the best Langoustines!  The wine here just flowed like water.  I don’t think I had any bad wine at all.

Monday morning my husband and I headed to Mercat de Santa Caterina for breakfast, which I highly recommend!  We separated ways, he to check out the FC Barcelona stadium and me to find the best churros in town– Granja Viader!  We met up again at Mercat de la Boqueria.  I was a bit let down as I wanted to try one of Rick Steve’s recommendation but lunch time is the worst time to be here so we literally just walked in and out.  For lunch we headed to Quimet y Quimet instead and OMG this place is awesome!  My friend and Anthony Bourdain spoke highly of this place as it should be.  Do yourself a favor and order the Salmon, Yoghurt, with Truffle Honey and you can thank me later!

We shopped some in the afternoon as this place is shopping central, anywhere you look there are shops that you just have to check out!  So make sure to carve out some time to do some shopping.

On our last night for dinner we went to Cal Pep.  Everything here is locally sourced and man it is popular!  Expect to wait in line for sure.  We had a fantastic meal of Bacalao, Langoustines, Spinach and Garbanzo Beans with Jamon, and Fried Artichokes.  Oh and to top this restaurant visit, Gwyneth Paltrow was just one of us who stood in line to get a seat.  How crazy is that?!

Overall, I highly recommend spending time in Barcelona and enjoying what it has to offer.  I enjoyed this city more than I thought I would and would definitely visit again if I am presented a chance.

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