Our First Europe Trip…. (The Barcelona Edition)

1We got into Barcelona in the evening. It was dark, and we found that our hotel was actually a little ways from town. Unfortunately, with this trip we were trying to stick to a strict budget, so that meant small rooms or far rooms. We stayed at the Residencia Melondistrict which was actually like an apartment complex for local students.  It was clean, but quite small. Not as small as London & Paris, but none the less, small.   The bathroom had some flooding issues because the shower was not properly constructed to prevent water leakage, which was really frustrating. I was mopping up water with left over towels & I left the blow dryer turned on & lied it on the floor to help it evaporate. It was NUTS!!! REMEMBER: Water & blow dryers typically don’t mix, so if you must do this, approach with caution…. Nobody likes to be electrocuted. 

We got settled into our room & decided that we needed some fresh air. Our solution was to wander back to the underground and head back into town.  In my opinion the Barcelona subway felt really sketchy. It was hot, dingy, and I remember it being dirty. However, it was definitely safe & never overly crowded.

barcelona-4On our first night out it was warm, and the streets were pretty empty. We did end up finding Casa Batllo, one of the many Antoni Gaudi sites. (We did go inside a couple days later, and I will get to that shortly…) In the mean time, I wouldn’t rank Barcelona to be as enchanting at night as Paris or London, but fresh air is always good for everyone.  We also ended up on a hunt for bottled water. I must have water or else I get moody, and all bets are off. It’s probably the Arizonan in me.

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Moving on to Day 2. It was night to say things in the day light. I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful deep indigo trumpet vines that smothered the fence along the road.  We decided to walk into town to stretch our legs and see what we might find… The first thing was this intriguing Jewish Synagogue. We were confused about what it actually was until we looked it up on our Apple Map App.

Then it was lunch time, we went for sandwiches and then pressed forwards. The goal was to find La Sagrada Familia… We succeeded. The scale of the cathedral was massive, and the detail was truly exquisite. I was still wanting a break from all the tours, not to mention it was hot & muggy, so we made the mistake of not touring it. It’s on the to do list if we return.  TIP: Suck it up, wait in the line, and do the tour…. I’m certain it would be worth it.

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We primarily just wanted to chill, so next on the list was a trip to the beach. We found the subway and picked our route. Before we new it, we were there and heading toward the water. We decided to stop and eat. We picked one of the restaurants along the street that takes you to the boardwalk. Brad got Paella & I got a tasty pizza. Afterwards, we finished up with what is to this day, 10 countries later, the best chocolate & nutella gelato I have ever had in my entire life. If you are thebarcelona-9re, and heading to the beach, look for Deliziosa Gelateria Italiana. Their Nutella gelato WILL change your life.  From there it was a walk on the beautiful beach. TIP: Parents & conservative individuals beware, it’s a nude beach. I saw more than I cared to on several older individuals..   Anywho, the beach is beautiful, clean, and the water is clear. Sadly, we didn’t pack swimsuits so that meant we would only be walking the beach not swimming or tanning. One end are the large condos & resorts and the opposite is a small marina that is wrapped with tasty Spanish restaurants. We made it a point to stop for Sangria & olives. It was enjoyable & refreshing.

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barcelona-7lisbon 24.jpgThe last thing we did that day was some light exploring. We ended up finding a neat night time market  full of snacks, cooking essential and colorful treats. We also found a small taco shop along our mystery route that served tacos & cerveza (Mexican beer) with taco eating instructions on the wall for those who may not know how to eat tacos… and some don’t trust me… When we were at the Hard Rock Cafe in Paris, there was a gentleman next to us eating his tacos with a knife & fork. It was so wrong!  I thought about interupting him to let him know, but I figured that he wouldn’t appreciate my gesture of good will.
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Our 2nd full day was great. The first adventure was a tour of Casa Batllo in all of its Art Nouveau glory. It was truly intriguing to walk through the house that I studied and became so enamored with my freshman year of college. The tour cost is reasonable & you get a headset that will guide you through your house and give you information about the architecture in your language.  *You can scroll through more of the photos of this beautiful and unique house below.

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barcelona-23After Casa Batllo we decided that a trip to Park Guell would be completely appropriate! So we took the subway  and found the bus we needed & found ourselves at the bottom of a massive staircase that thankfully had escalators as well.  We found ourselves wandering through a massive “garden” in the heart of Barcelona on top of the hill. The views were very hazy, but vast. We curious about all of the things we we were seeing.

 At first we were disappointed as it didn’t seem that there was much more for us to see, and I started to wonder if we were in the wrong place. But as we kept going it turned into a rather enchanting place.

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We discovered a magnificent bridge designed by Gaudi… It made you feel as though you had stepped into a magical land. Photos are arranged below..

The area around it was filled with fun decorative touches & lots of people there enjoying the environment and warm weather. I would definitely return to this fun spot…. but what we discovered on our way out is that we were indeed in the wrong spot. Although this is labeled as Park Guell, the true Park Guell was on the opposite side of where we entered, and had a fee for entry. We skipped it, and that is one of the other things I regret doing, the downside is doing all of this during the peak of the day was a little brutal considering the heat and humidity.  With that behind us, we head back to the beach for gelato and relaxation. We loved watching the people and enjoyed watching the water move in and out…. On day 3, we were departing for Lisbon, but with the spare time we had… We did the exact same thing… Hit the boardwalk, got our exercise and just relaxed. Barcelona is a great place for that!

barcelona-30LESSONS LEARNED:

1) The best nutella gelato is in Barcelona (thus far)

2) Don’t skip the stuff you really wanted to see just because you are “burnt out”. It could turn your day around.

3) Always pack a swimsuit.

4) Spend more to be closer to the city!!!!

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The Compulsive Traveler

out to see the world, and snap beautiful photos while doing so.

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