heeeeeeellllooooo barcelona! and cue the flu. it must of been the recycled air on the airplane because the flu that thankfully decided to give me a few days off in paris was back in action the second we got to spain. so while we saw a LOT while we were here, i am sure there are things we missed because i was under the covers with the chills.
ps a couple of friends have told me to put vicks vapor rub on my feet and wear socks before going to sleep to get rid of a wicked cold. arian finally found a pharmacy that had it and within 24 hours my cold was 90% better. a miracle in a jar. i just wish i had found it earlier!
follow the map so you can mark down some of our favorite barcelona spots…
now, onto our adventures. basically 100 people warned me that we were in danger of getting robbed in barcelona. i considered rocking a fanny pack, but decided i would just be careful with my messenger bag. we never experienced anything sketchy and never felt unsafe the whole time and luckily went home with our passports and credit cards. i am sure there are areas where this is happening, but don’t be afraid if you go, okay? just watch your purse (you will notice all the ladies have their purses in the front of their body and never to the back) and guys keep your wallet in your shirt pocket instead. you’ll be fine if you’re smart about it.
we rented an apartment in the born district from airbnb (see the listing here.) it was $198 a night and we were told it was a cool area to stay in. we pulled up and i felt like i was dropped into another century. the buildings all had a very gothic feeling to them. our host met us, warned us about the pick pockets, and offered us a beer at his gallery downstairs. the place was a lot bigger than our apartment in paris and definitely felt more lived in as well. it had a lot of charm. the giant windows and the courtyard full of plants were pretty wonderful.
without sounding like a divA, i always say that renting an apartment is really nice for about 4 or 5 days…and by the 6th or 7th day your towels are dirty, the place is a mess from all the luggage and i’m missing a hotel room. sometimes it’s nice to book a few nights in a hotel and a few in an apartment so you can experience both!
the location was perfect. we walked a TON of places and always felt like there was something to do within a few minutes of us. our first night we ate at a fancier tapas place called 7 portes. arian recently started eating fish after being a vegetarian for 9 years, so he has been excited about trying new seafood dishes these days. we ordered the paella and sangria and WOW was it good. we were definitely in spain.
we also cooked in the apartment a few days…
on fridays they have a brunch at a little spot called picnic down the street from our apartment. it was our favorite breakfast, we both got the huevos rancheros. another great brunch spot was milk for the berry smoothies and salmon benedict. i wish i was feeling better because their bloody marys looked legit too.
it is difficult to get on the spanish schedule, i gotta say. we would wake up hungry and want to eat breakfast at 10 and NOTHING was open. places open at 11 or 12 here and then also take a break in the middle of the day. they also stay up super late. we found it hard to adjust and one morning got in a big fight because we were so grumpy from walking around looking for food. we found something eventually and made up. turns out we both aren’t very nice when we are hungry.
something i loved going to was the picasso museum. it’s 11 euros (only 6 if you are under age 29)and you can see a wide variety of picassos paintings and read all about his life. i was so impressed by his talent at such a young age and his journey of exploring different mediums and styles. you have to go!
(and yes, that’s just a wig. i was sick and over taking care of my appearance. ha) over the weekend we decided to rent bikes (green bikes is cheap!) and go to sagrada familia, gaudí famous work of art. he was working on this church and never got to finish it because he was hit by a tram and died. someone told me he became so obsessed with segrada familia and it took two days to actually identify his body because he appeared homeless. the detail of this building really will blow your mind. we turned the corner on our bikes and bam, there it was. i remember gasping when i saw it because it really is remarkable.
arian had fun jumping off all of the slanted walls…(boys)
next stop, park güell. the craziest park i have ever been to in my life. it feels like it’s straight out of alice and wonderland or something. more of gaudí’s masterpieces live here (they said he hated straight lines and it really shows) everything is winding, curvy, and detailed. we sat and enjoyed the sunshine and the fantastic view of the city. this park is a MUST see.
we walked down near the beach because a few guys recommended this seafood spot called can mano. guys would come in from off the street and play songs for you at the table with so much energy you just had to smile. they served the fish very simple (oil, salt, whole fish with all the bones), you can get a bottle of wine for a couple euros, and dine with the locals.
the next morning we went to the market. we had heard the markets in barcelona are a great place to wander around and experience the fresh local food. la boqueria is the main one that is supposed to be incredible. we just walked to santa caterina (we heard it was less crowded/touristy there too)around the corner from us and it was still a treat. we had potato omelets with tomato bread (a common food there) and just admired all of the the produce and amazing juices.
my friend elizabeth told me that i HAD TO rent a car and take it to dali’s house in a small fisherman’s town called cadaqués. if you want to go inside his house, make sure to make a reservation a day or two before…we didn’t and weren’t able to go inside. but even if you can’t go in, it’s worth the trip! it was about a two hour drive, we took one wrong turn and got in a hilarious old married couple fight about it, we were lost for about 30 minutes and then got back on track. (i am the worst backseat driver.) we drove through the countryside which was misty and peaceful…a nice break from walking around constantly! the road was really small and actually a little scary once you approach the town. it’s winding on a cliff, the views are epic, but you sort of feel like you might die also. however, i’m a chicken. and then you see it. a town full of white buildings all clustered together and glowing at the bottom of the hill on the water…it felt surreal!
once we made it there, we b-lined for the cafes along the boardwalk. (we picked the one with the most people) this was our most memorable spanish meal. tapas has always been my favorite way to eat, sharing little bites. i’m not sure i’ll ever have shrimp that was better than that that. we spent some time admiring the water and walking around taking pictures. a day i will never forget.
our last night we wanted to have a little fun. i finally started feeling better and i wanted to hear some live music and not be in bed by 9 for once. first stop was la champagneria! one of my blogshop students told me if i didn’t go here i was crazy, so i took her advice. talk about a unique experience. you can only order one drink here: champagne! it’s about 0.90 euros per glass and you have to order it with tapas (they range from 1-3 euros each, so super cheap!) there are no seats in this place so you just have to push yourself to the bar, point to what you want to eat and get your champagne. they have bacon hamburgers, chorizo, and these spicy green chilis that i fell in love with. if you want a great experience, you go here.
and we ended our trip with a jazzy night of live music at cafe royale in the barrio gótico neighborhood. it was a romantic evening, we sat and looked through old photos and videos on my phone when we first met and talked about how excited we were to get home to see our cats. this whole trip definitely bonded us closer together. you don’t realize how disconnected you can get from each other when life gets busy. this was a much needed break from reality in a beautiful country.
i hope you check out some of these spots if you ever visit barcelona!
(all photos by designlovefest & modshift. video by modshift. map illustration by asia pietrzyk. this post is a collaboration with the creative council by UGG Australia.. – see our paris post here and here)