Ed Sheeran is the most adorable Ginger of all time. Now that that’s out of the way, one of my favorite albums of his is Divide. And my favorite song from that album is called “Barcelona”.
It’ll make sense in a minute.
Upon leaving Greece a few days ago, after I finished my semester at ACG-Deree, I didn’t head straight home.
I needed a vacation after a vacation.
So, I flew to Spain for a few days! Barcelona specifically.
Cue Ed Sheeran.
Thursday afternoon of the 21st to Sunday morning of the 24th, I spent roaming around the streets of Barcelona exploring the city of art and history.
And eating great food.
Leaving Athens a few days ago was sad, but the flight to Barcelona was a breeze. Even ran into a friend from ACG-Deree who was on the same flight. Which proved to be incredibly helpful considering he lived in Spain for a while.
Thanks for the help with directions, Mahmoud!
Once in the city, I stayed in an Airbnb where I had a small private room in a shared apartment. My host was an awesome lady who moved back to Spain from the U.S. a few months ago. We got along quite nicely.
Along with her 4 cats and 3 dogs.
By time I had arrived Thursday evening it was dark, but that didn’t stop me from heading out to explore. Honestly, the best time to travel is near the holidays. City Christmas lights are absolutely to die for, and Barcelona was no exception.
I grabbed a quick sandwich at a street-side bakery and walked along the main roads, through the university of Barcelona campus, and down around the gothic district where I stumbled upon a Christmas market.
I woke up early Friday morning to get a head start for the day and to figure out the metro/train system before it got too crazy.
Once you’ve navigated one, they’re all the same.
The metro brought me to Parc Gruel, a Gaudi inspired park with artwork and monuments. I spent hours in the park looking at the intricate mosaic patterns, walking through odd catacomb like structures, and people watching.
Lots and lots of people watching.
That afternoon I headed back downtown, near Plaza Catalunya. This plaza was a base for me while wandering around the city. If I ever got lost…
Which is pretty much all I got all weekend.
.. I’d just make my way back to the plaza. Worked well.
A few of my many stops of the day included, the port of Barcelona, a train station, a gold chariot statue and fountain, the Arc de Triumph, and the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.
So much walking.
After a whole day of exploring and taking photos, my phone died. I headed back to my Airbnb to charge it, but I ended up taking an hour and a half nap.
Felt so good.
I ventured out again that evening to see a few interesting architectural buildings lit at night and to go back to the Christmas markets. I also stumbled upon a neat nativity scene.
On my walk back to the plaza, because I got lost, I stumbled upon La Boqueira Market on La Rambla Street. La Rambla street is like Hollywood strip in LA. But better.
Sipped on mango and strawberry juices while walking through the market. It was packed, but there were people from all over the world and so many different produce and product stands.
I slept in a bit on Saturday morning. I was exhausted from walking about 15 miles the day before. By the time I got going, however, there was plenty of time to walk 11 miles around the city.
Gotta get those steps in.
I started the day with a quick metro ride to Plaza Espanya, where I found the Barcelona Museum of Art, Majic Fountain, and breathtaking views of the city.
The old Olympic stadium is in the same park as the museum. It’s in great condition, unlike many other Olympic stadiums, and is still used for sporting and athletic events.
There’s also a castle on the other side of the park. Little did I know that “the other side” meant up a huge hill. Thankfully the views up top were worth it, because the castle was closed. I sat there for a while, mostly to catch my breath.
Side note, the weather was perfect all weekend, mid to high 50s.
As I rode the bus down from the castle, because I wasn’t about to walk any further quite yet, I noticed something kind of interesting. I could pick up on four different languages throughout the group of people. There were some kids who spoke Arabic, a young couple from Greece, an older gentleman and his son from the UK, and another middle-aged couple who spoke Italian.
Becoming quite the linguist, I’d say.
A few other stops I made throughout day the were to the mall which had a 360-degree view from the roof, the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista, a flea market where I spent a good hour wandering through the stands of vintage items, clothing, tools, and fabric, and an egg-shaped skyscraper.
But I have no idea what it was for.
Once it started to get dark, I headed back towards La Rambla Street to do a little souvenir shopping. And it wouldn’t be a trip without a coffee stop, so I enjoyed a classic Italiano Cappuccino at a popping café on La Rambla Street. I sat at the bar chatting with the baristas and watching people go in and out.
I ended the day with a bit of fried seafood from La Boqueira Market. Whenever I find busy market in a new city, I feel like I’ve found the hub. It’s one of my favorite parts.
So is the great food.
Speaking of great food, I had churros that night too. Nothing like sugary fried dough with more sugar on top.
Like Athens, Barcelona is said to have a pretty great nightlife. While I didn’t experience it myself, on my way to airport via the metro last Sunday morning, the streets were full of young people still on their way home for the night.
Living a grandma life over here.
So, you’d think after a little Spain vacation, I was ready to go home.
My next adventure just happened to start with a 2-hour flight, 6.5-hour layover, and another 9-hour flight. So, every waking hour of my last day in the beautiful city of Barcelona was spent walking around airports in Spain and London.
Perks of traveling.
Stay tuned for the next leg of my trip home, a quick pit-stop in… New York!
If they let me in after four months…