A city of art, culture and endless sangria, a trip to Barcelona has always been on my bucket-list. Just last month I was lucky enough to finally spend a weekend there on a trip to catch up with with my father who I hadn’t seen since early January. I was certainly not disappointed.
Arriving to Barcelona just before 7pm was an unexpected treat. Built like a grid, the city looked like a patchwork quilt of streets and buildings, studded with a series of streetlights, beginning to turn on as the sun set. A thin layer of mist covered the surrounding mountains and I started to feel the magic of the city before I’d even stepped off the plane. Later that evening we enjoyed a light dinner of tapas along Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s central most boulevard and the location of our accommodation, Hotel Exe Ramblas Boquería, before retreating to our room for the night. We spent the next few days exploring the city and everything it had to offer.
The trip was a whirlwind. In hindsight, 48 hours to discover everything such a splendid city has to offer was perhaps not enough. But, what we did manage to see was incredible. The Sagrada Familia was spectacular. We visited Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece on our first morning and I was instantly astounded by its sheer size. So large it loomed over the surrounding buildings, we spent all morning basking in its beauty and exploring all aspects of the temple.
That same day we strolled past Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, two more architectural wonders dreamt up by Gaudi on our way to MACBA – The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, where we saw the Poesia Brossa exhibition alongside the gallery’s permanent collection of Spanish and Catalan art. My dad described the former as ‘no better than the GCSE art project he got a D for’ but I really enjoyed myself.
However, by far my favourite place we visited was Park Güell – a park that has certainly redefined the meaning of the term for me. Another of Gaudi’s great works, Park Güell sits upon Carmel Hill, a much further walk from the centre of Barcelona than I’d anticipated but more than worth the trek there. It provides a wonderful mixture of modernist architecture and nature in all its glory as well as an unrivalled view of the city, particularly on a beautifully sunny day like when we went.
On another note, my top recommendation would be to stay around the Las Ramblas area. It is close to Barceloneta beach and the historic Gothic Quarter and provides a perfect starting point from which to explore the rest of the city. In addition its just a short walk from my favourite brunch spot in Barcelona, and quite possibly the world. Flax & Kale Tallers is a flexitarian restaurant by Teresa Carles that serves dishes designed to be both delicious and of the highest nutritional value. I ate the coconut milk parfait on our last morning of the trip and have barely stopped thinking about it since.
If I were to describe Barcelona in one word, it would have to be vibrant. The fresh food, colourful architecture and energy of the city sent me into the best type of sensory overload, a feeling I hope to experience again. Until then, Barcelona, te amo!
Peace and love, Bec