I got to take a break from cloudy and cold England this weekend and head south to Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. This was my most beautiful and relaxing trip yet, and I can't wait to go back someday to explore more of this city.
For starters, I stayed in Hostel One Paralelo. If you're going to stay in a hostel while you're visiting Barcelona, I HIGHLY recommend this one. It was a great location that was only a minute or so walk to the metro and a 20 minute walk to an museum filled with Catalan art and several parks. The staff was also very helpful and friendly. They organized free activities each day, made a free dinner for us each night and also took us out to popular bars and clubs in the city (I only went out twice during my four night stay because Barcelona goes HARD when they go out). An all-you-can-eat breakfast was provided for only €2.50 as well. The hostel was very clean which is always a huge bonus when staying anywhere and there were security lockers for free use as well so that you could be sure your stuff was safe when you were out exploring the city. The atmosphere was the best, though, because everyone got along very well. I was happy to make some friends there so I wasn't all alone on my first solo trip.
Friday consisted of a trip to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, a museum filled with Catalan art from the medieval to the modern age. I personally like visiting museums wherever I go because it provides extra history and background to the city you're in.
The ticket to the museum also offered me access to the rooftop terrace, so you bet your bottom dollar that I walked up to that roof for some awesome scenery.
There were also several fountains in front of the museum which looked cooler and cooler the farther down you went.
One of the fountains even lit up every night at 9:45 and went until 10:00.
The walk to the museum itself also provided some lovely scenery though Parc de Montjuïc.
Saturday was my cousin Zachary's favorite day of the trip: a game at Camp Nou to see FC Barcelona take on Granada. For those who don't know Zach, he is OBSESSED with soccer. He's played since he was little and is determined to be a professional soccer player one day. There is no plan B for him, and I really believe he can do it. He has more heart and love for the game than anyone I've ever met. His favorite team is Barcelona... he loves them so much that his room is painted in the stripes of their uniforms. That's dedication if I ever did see it. Four hours before I even went to the game, I received the following text: "Did you take pictures was the game cool how close were you? Did you see Messi Neymar or tee stegan?" To answer your question, Zach, this is how close I was:
I paid a pretty penny for this seat, but it was worth it to see how excited Zach was that I attended a Barcelona game.
I did also see Messi, Neymar Jr. and Tee Stegan, but could only get a good photo of Messi.
Barcelona beat Granada 1-0 in a relatively boring match, but it was still cool to experience Camp Nou and live out one of my cousin's dreams.
Sunday was my last full day in Barcelona and was really relaxed, just like Spanish life in general. I went with a group from the hostel to Parc de la Ciutadella.
Even though it's also been 70 degrees in Chicago (not so oddly because Midwest weather is bipolar af), it was so nice for me to go from 40-50 degree weather to this. Feeling the sun on my skin again made me miss late spring/early summer and dread the coming of winter and snow once I return to the States.
Finally, the most important part, the food! Before I went to Barcelona, I texted my cousin Alli for some recommendations on things to do, places to eat, etc. While I missed a few major things to do on her list (Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell and Teresa Carles for food), I did hit up La Boqueria for some gelato and to see all the craziness of a food market, stopped for tapas (at least five times) at Blai 9, which was right down the street from my hostel, and tried some paella, a rice and chicken or seafood dish. I also drank plenty of sangria because they included it with our dinner every night at the hostel and it was a popular drink in a lot of the restaurants.
Paella made by staff members at the hostel. While it was good, I wish I would've tried it at a restaurant instead to get a more authentic dish.
Tapas and sangria from Blai 9 which I HIGHLY recommend! (Thanks, Alli!) The best thing I had was a chocolate filled mini churro. I'm literally drooling just thinking about it.
Barcelona really was a beautiful and relaxing city to spend my weekend in. I wish I could've spent more time there exploring, but I know that this is a place I'll want to go back to someday (preferably with Adam, so pack your bags, dear.) and spend more than a weekend in. If Zach's lucky, he'll get to come with. (Please don't spoil the surprise this time, Stephanie.)
Adéu per ara,