No more Italy posts from me! After Italy, my friends Cannon, Jordan, and Mani and I were off to Barcelona! We flew Ryanair because it was really cheap, and we honestly expected to have a horrible experience based on the online reviews, but it was just fine, just like any other airline. They didn’t overcharge us for anything so that was nice!
We checked into the Casa Gracia hostel, which we had booked on hostelworld.com a few months earlier. I’d say our stay overall was great there! The reception people were super friendly and we didn’t have any issues with the hostel. Although I’d say it isn’t as boujee as it looks on the website. We stayed in a mixed dorm and met a guy from South Africa who was super chill. The best part? A Starbucks was only a few blocks down! It was sort of comical how relieved and homesick we were to see a Starbucks (there weren’t any that we saw in Italy).
That night, we decided to go to La Cava, which is right around the corner from our hostel. Tapas are really popular in Barcelona, so we knew we wanted to eat as many as we could during our trip. Tapas are basically appetizers. Right when we entered La Cava, we were met with super cool, chill bar vibes, with dim lighting and graffiti on the walls. We were seated in the back at a roundtable for the four of us. We ordered a jar of sangria and four appetizers to share – it was so, so delicious! A little on the pricier side, but a wonderful start to Barcelona.
The next morning, we had breakfast downstairs in the hostel. It cost 7-8 euros, and it was pretty good but not amazing. The outdoor seating area was beautiful though! Very #aesthetic if you’re into that. We decided to sign up for the Barcelona walking tour that was provided by the hostel. Our tour guide was super funny and told long stories – I mean long. They were great but we spent so long at each location that the tour went on a lot longer than we were expecting it to. We decided to ditch the tour halfway and go explore ourselves since it would be way more efficient that way. We made our way to the port and really just walked around to La Rambla, the shopping strip. We grabbed lunch, and I ordered a chicken paella; paellas is a fried rice dish served in Spain that’s quite popular. I can’t say it’s the best food I’ve ever had, but it’s still good.
After lunch, we went to Amorino, a gelateria! It was hot enough in Barcelona that we still needed to cool down after walking around so much. What’s so unique about Amorino is that if you order your gelato in a cone, they scoop it into a rose shape! My scooper did a shoddy job though, it wasn’t even cute enough for a photo, boo. Then we headed to the Picasso Museum since tickets were pretty cheap. We grabbed some coffee afterward because we were all getting sleepy.
We took a nice little stroll in the Parc de la Ciutadella, and walked toward the Arc de Triomf. There’s a long strip toward the Arc where there are performers, people blowing bubbles, etc. It was so cool! Unfortunately, there was a concert set-up right in front of the Arc, so we couldn’t get any decent pictures.
Then we made our way to Tarantos to see a flamenco show! I knew going into Barcelona that I absolutely needed to see a flamenco show. We booked our 15 euro tickets online and got to sit down at the venue. It was a pretty small venue, and a surprisingly small stage. There was live music and the three dancers were absolutely amazing. They were so athletic, synchronized, and fierce! #goals.
Then we grabbed dinner – more tapas – at Taller de Tapas. This restaurant has multiple locations; we opted to sit outside and this one was even pricier than La Cava. But oh my lord, y’all, the sangria was the most amazing thing I’d ever tasted. The portions were quite small though, but still really good.
The next morning, we got up early and trained to the Cathedral of Barcelona. At this point, cathedrals all look the same to me, so the interior of the Cathedral really didn’t stand out too much. We ate crepes for brunch and then I hopped on a bus to meet up with some friends! A few girls in my sorority were studying in Barcelona so I met up with them at Satan’s Coffee Co. We had a wonderful time catching up!
After, I met back up with my three friends and we went out to rent bikes to ride around the city. Y’all, I keep forgetting how much I love riding bikes! We biked to the coast and rode alongside the entire beach. It felt like LA, what with the palm trees and all. The beach was packed with people – I imagine that it’s similar to Miami! Then we rode back to the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Arc de Triomf and snapped some more pictures. We had ridden the bikes for four hours, and once we got back into the main part of the city, we returned them and went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. That night, I went out with the girls to experience some Barcelona nightlife. We highly recommend Summum and the Dow Jones Bar (go business majors!)
The next morning, we slept in and it felt glorious – I felt like a whole new person risen from the dead after waking up. Jordan had gotten up way earlier so she wasn’t with us for a few hours, but I went to Park Guell with Cannon and Mani (we purchased our tickets in advance online!). It was pretty cool seeing all of the mosaics and structures within the park. After lunch, we met back with Jordan and headed over to La Sagrada Familia (we also purchased online tickets in advance)! The inside is unlike any other church or basilica I’ve ever seen, and the stained glass was so gorgeous.
When we finally left the church, the thunder clouds started rolling in and we got super ominous vibes, since the exterior of the church was looming over us and creepy-looking. Seconds later, it started pouring rain! It was completely unexpected and we were all in 80-degree attire. Needless to say, we were soaked to the bone by this floodstorm. We stopped by a café where Cannon bought a hot chocolate (it was literally a bowl of melted chocolate… lol), and then headed back to Taller de Tapas for dinner. This time, we sat inside but still ordered the amazing sangria. The restaurant itself is pretty classy and we felt like wet dogs, but eh, when in Barcelona, right?
On the morning of our flight, we embarrassingly (but also #noshame) grabbed breakfast at Starbucks and then said goodbye to Mani. It was just me, Cannon, and Jordan off to Paris!
Barcelona honestly exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t really expecting to like it much at all, but it felt so safe and the city was really beautiful. I wish I had more time to explore Spain more in general, since I’ve heard that Madrid is just as wonderful as Barcelona. Adios, Barcelona!