Barcelona – the amazing city of Gaudi

Hello there dear travelers! After more than 2 months without writing anything, I’m back. Today, I woke up like this: with a great desire to write about this magnificent Spanish city… the one and only Barcelona. So happy to finally getting back my inspiration. Hurray for that! Moving forward, this 4-day trip was actually my birthday present, I have visited this city at the end of July, 2018. Yeah, long time ago. I hope you all miss the summer vibes! Because I certainly do! Let me take you there.

I remember husband wanted to surprise me and he made some folded little notes with 10 cities and asked me to pick one, in order to choose the destination for my birthday. To be very honest, at first I picked Porto, a super beautiful city in Portugal, and was super excited about that choice, however, flight tickets were way too expensive at that time and wasn’t worth it, so I decided to choose another destination, therefore, Barcelona. I was super excited about Barcelona as well, even though it was my second choice! Wanted to visit this city for over a year as a matter of fact.

Flight tickets – Wizzair 165 euros for both of us, a very good price considering it was in the middle of the summer and also considering that Barcelona is not quite a cheap destination, overall.

We stayed at Habitacion Schaby Chic Barcelona (rated as “Very good 8.1” on Booking) and paid 240 euros for 3 nights. Yeah, not cheap at all. I have to say that the accommodation itself was super nice, I mean so nicely decorated, it looked so so sooo pretty, but the owner was a little bit too much of a control freak for my taste. Didn’t like that she was staying with us, as this was not mentioned anywhere on the website when I booked this apartment… I don’t want to be rude, she actually didn’t bother us with anything, except for the fact that she needed to mention how we must clean the shower glass wall and the faucets every time we use them! Ok, for 240 euros I believe that she should have been the one doing this and not us, but anyway. Overall, it was a nice stay, very close to subway and also walking-distance to Park Guell, quiet neighborhood.

DAY 1. Having our flight super early that morning… at 5:50 AM, we should have been at the airport at 4 AM, therefore should have gotten up at 3 AM in order to be on time. These being said, I actually haven’t slept at all that night, not one single hour. Started this vacation totally wrong, by being already super tired, even before getting to Barcelona. Trust me on this, not getting enough sleep before going somewhere can spoil the mood and ruin the whole trip. And this is exactly what happened to me, to some extent.

From the airport to the accommodation, we took the subway. The metro is just outside the building, next to train station. We bought the 4 day Hola BCN! travel card which includes unlimited journeys on Barcelona’s public transport over 4 consecutive days. The card was also valid for metro journeys from Barcelona Airport to the city center and vice versa, so very useful for us. Price: 28.50 euros (10% online discount) each. https://www.tmb.cat/en/barcelona/fares-metro-bus/barcelona-travel-card-hola-bcn

Barcelona is based on a hilly area so walking around on more than 30 Celsius degrees was quite uncomfortable. The humidity was so high that you felt like fainting during the day. Not very wise decision to visit Barcelona at the end of July. But at least we had good beer. Cheers!

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Then we stopped at a restaurant in La Rambla for some food and alsoooo some Sangria which is actually red wine mixed with lemonade, fruit, and spices. Perfect way to end the evening, right? La Rambla is a very famous place in Barcelona. A tree-lined pedestrian street, it stretches for 1.2 kilometers and it forms the boundary between the quarters of Barri Gòtic, to the east, and El Raval, to the west. Can be crowded, especially during the height of the tourist season. Its popularity with tourists has affected the character of the street, with a move to pavement cafes and souvenir kiosks. Very nice place to hang out with friends.

Talking about friends… we couldn’t wait to meet 2 friends of ours who are actually living in Barcelona since past couple of years. At the same time, another good friend of ours arrived from Scotland that night and we all reunited. Went somewhere close to the National Palace of Catalonia and spent some time there. By some time, I mean that we stayed there almost until morning, talking and having some drinks. Staying up all night lead to witnessing this magnificent sunrise. Oh god, those colors. Just like a painting!

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DAY 2. Less and less sleep… I was getting more fatigued. Don’t know about you guys but I can be a real pain in the ass if I am tired haha. Not doing it intentionally though! Sooo… first night no sleep at all, then spent whole second night with friends… I wasn’t just tired, but extremely tired! Therefore, slept until noon. If you want to visit a city, the best time to do it, especially during summertime, should be in the morning, obviously. But because we went to sleep that late, we got out of the apartment when it was already hot outside.

Our plan was to go directly to Park Guell because it was 15 minutes walk distance from our apartment, however, when we got there it was already fully booked for that day. Whaaat???? Fully booked to visit a park? Ok, didn’t expect that. To be very honest, it was the first time when I actually didn’t prepare the itinerary in detail, because being my birthday, I wanted to just go with the flow. Bad decision! Bad bad bad decision! I should have known that it would have been better to book online.

We then wanted to buy tickets for the next day, but the guy from the pay office told us that, if we want, we can entry for free before 8 AM in the morning. Well of course we wanted that! Money saved is money earned. It seemed quite possible, for staying so close to Park Guell. So we took his advice and decided to come back next morning. There is a “but” coming. Stay tuned!

Afterwards went again to La Rambla, met our friend there and had something to eat + some beers. Trust me, on that heat, you cannot do anything else. You will feel like dying if you decide to wander around the city haha. Not kidding!

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We then decided to go and visit Montjuic, wanted to see some spectacular views over Barcelona at sunset. To go up there, you need to take a bus from National Palace of Catalonia. Wanted to visit the castle that is on top of Montjuic, but it was already closed, so we just visited the surroundings. From up there you can see the city and also the port. The views were indeed very nice but not exactly what we were looking for. We were looking precisely for that view over Barcelona where you can see how the neighborhoods are structured by being perfectly divided in squares. No luck from up there. Well, at least found these super tall bushes… so I decided to beat around the bush for a while hahaha.

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Our plan was to take the cable car from Montjuic until Barceloneta beach and to remain there afterwards. Wanted to take the cable car especially for the experience and also for the views over the city. Yeah, that was the plan. But guess what? The last cable car went down 30 minutes before we reached there. “It is what it is, there’s no reason to be angry, we’ll just take the bus down and that’s it”, we said to ourselves. Went to the bus station and looked on the board… There wasn’t any bus going down either at that time. Oh nooo!

Why??? I mean, I had new sneakers and they weren’t too comfortable. So whyyy??? As a side note, I really don’t know why the hell I always buy new shoes before going on trips. I guess I do it because I like hearing myself complaining about how much my feet hurt. I ain’t that smart sometimes.

Anyway, we sat there on those benches that were in the bus station, knowing already that the bus won’t come, so we were just resting for few minutes. But tourists kept on coming and they thought that we were waiting for the bus, so then they decided to also wait for the imaginary bus. Me and my friends looked at each other and said in Romanian: “Should we tell these guys that the bus ain’t coming no more? Naahhhh! They will figure it out by themselves.” We were mean, I know. But it was also funny. Hey, don’t get judgmental now, we all are mean sometimes hahaha. There’s plenty of room in hell for everybody, I suppose.

Started going down the mountain, also started complaining about my feet… then we stopped at a bar where we had some Mojitos. Then finally got to Barceloneta beach and had our dinner there. Went home by using a taxi-bike! It’s full of them in Barcelona. Someone will pedal a bicycle for you and he can carry up to 3 people at once. Driver was a cool guy from Berlin and I remember paying somewhere around 5 euros for a short ride, so not that cheap, but super fun though.

DAY 3. This day we woke up realizing that we haven’t seen too much of Barcelona since we got there, so we took the decision to rent a scooter to help us reaching places more easily. Looked online and found these guys: https://vesping.com/. They were awesome and very professional. Totally recommend them! Paid a total of 40 euros for 1 day with a deposit of 300 euros. They also provided us with a GPS containing 4 different tours of the most important sites in Barcelona. Super useful!

About Park Guell, remember we were supposed to go and visit it in the morning before 8 AM? Yeahhh… didn’t happen. Couldn’t wake up that early so we just decided to visit it the very next day, which was also our last day in Barcelona.

After renting that scooter, we stopped at Ayre Hotel Rosellón rooftop to have breakfast and tea. The view was right upon Sagrada Familia. Spectacular!

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Afterwards, decided to visit Basilica Santa Maria del Pi and more exactly, to visit its tower bell for some gorgeous views over the city. Entry fee: 9 euros each + guide. Totally worth it! Check out the views.

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We then visited La Pedrera, or Casa Mila which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Antoni Gaudi’s last civic architectural project. It is a unique building, a masterpiece of nature that reveals the architect’s boundless imagination.

Antoni Gaudi i Cornet (1852-1926) is a world-famous architect who transcended his own era and the architectural styles of his day. Unique and remarkable, he and his work defy classification.

«My ideas are of an indisputable logic; the only thing that makes me doubt them is the fact that they have not been put into practice before.» (Antoni Gaudi)

Entry fee: 22 euros per person, quite expensive but, trust me on this, it’s a real gem. The architect’s vision will blow your mind.

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We didn’t have time to also visit Casa Batlló, another Gaudi masterpiece, but we will do it next time, for sure! I do have a nice photo of this building, though. Take a look at the facade, such a gorgeous piece of art!

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Afterwards, went to Barceloneta beach and wandered around the area until sunset. Such a cool vibe has that place! Really enjoyed it.

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Seeing this picture reminded me of Shakira’s song “un mojito, dos mojitos mira qué ojitos bonitos” lalalallalaaaaa.

We then stopped to see the Montjuic Magic Fountain show. It was super crowded and to be very honest, I am not that much into watching water pouring from the ground on some music rhythms. I don’t know why. Please don’t kill me now!

After midnight it was about to be my birthday, therefore me and my friends had dinner at a nice restaurant and then we spent some time on the beach, having some drinks. At 2 AM, the beach was full. Many many people were enjoying their night by the beach. However, we have also witnessed a sad incident when someone got robbed. Let me tell you how it happened!

So two French guys sat down on the beach and one of them decided to enter the sea for a quick swim. He undressed and remained in his undies, but his belongings and clothes stayed right next to his friend. After few moments, some little kids came and started annoying the guy standing on the beach, and while they were doing that, they stole the other guy’s pants with his wallet and phone. They got to notice this only when the guy who was swimming in the sea realized his pants are not there anymore.

There is an irony attached to this story as well. The kids who stole the pants returned with another adult and gave the guy’s pants back. Without the wallet and phone of course. It was like “hey, we are nice though, we’re not gonna let you be in your undies, we know it’s embarrassing”. I don’t know what happened next, I guess they called the police. We left afterwards, it felt a little unsafe.

DAY 4. Sooooo it was my birthday! Happy Birthday to me! Yaaayyyy! Had some balloons stating my age (29 by the way) and couldn’t wait to inflate them. The plan was to finally visit Park Guell and take that perfect birthday picture.

Unfortunately, same story repeating. Park Guell was almost fully booked for that day. And we got there in the morning. Not before 8 AM but pretty much in the morning. The next available spots for visiting the park were at 4 PM when we already needed to be on our way to the airport. I was super sad. I was about to start crying in front of the pay office so that they let me in. I guess it would have worked if I would have done it haha. But I didn’t. I was just disappointed. Why? Because our accommodation was 15 minutes walking distance from Park Guell and we still didn’t make it.

Change of plans, and by that I mean change of direction: Tibidabo! Said to myself that we will inflate the balloons over there and then take my perfect birthday picture. So said so done! Except for the balloons part. They could have been inflated only by using a pump, which we obviously didn’t have with us. Oh nooo… my balloons. Not a good day for this birthday girl. Poor me!

Anyway, Tibidabo was still amazing. If you want to take that gorgeous picture of the well known Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus then you should visit the amusement park and pay 5 euros, as far as I remember, for the observation platform. It’s totally worth it!

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We then went down the mountain and stopped at Mirablau restaurant to have our lunch. The restaurant was super nice and the views were also very beautiful. Food was perfect and beers were cold. Totally recommend the place. Cheers!

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We just couldn’t leave without seeing the Sagrada Familia. Let me tell you something… you always see cliché pictures on the internet, with the Eiffel Tower, with the Big Ben, with the Sagrada Familia and then they don’t bring that much interest to you because you’ve already seen them in hundreds and hundreds of pictures already, right? However, being there and actually looking at it… wow! Just wow! Speechless! So many gorgeous and amazing details! It really is a unique masterpiece.

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We didn’t visit the interior because it was super late and because I also believe that you have to wait all day in queue to be able to do that, but I promise one day I’ll return and visit it properly.

Time to fly back home! However, before heading to the airport, met our friends again and had one last beer with them. We also went by the entrance of the Camp Nou Barcelona Stadium because it was super close to the restaurant we were at.

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Barcelona has a very cool vibe, people are super friendly, they know how to have fun and the city itself is a truly architectural gem. I’ll definitely return one day!

Until next time,

Andreea.

  • Our stay in Barcelona: 27.07.2018 – 30.07.2018
  • Bucharest – Barcelona and return flight: Wizzair 165 euros
  • Accommodation: Habitacion Schaby Chic Barcelona 240 euros
  • Total: 405 euros as a couple

PS: If you are using booking.com to find the best accommodations like I do, then you should use the following link to receive 10% of your money back on your next travel! It’s a win-win situation… so why not?

https://www.booking.com/s/34_6/e222dd81

Thank you!

 

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