Barcelona is a city of colour, of Gaudì, of shopping, nightlife, and is absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, my time in Barcelona is coming to a close, but that simply means that I am able to explore other parts of the country! Next stop, Valencia!
I played proper tourist in Barcelona. I didn’t get to practice much Spanish, as soon as I hesitated upon hearing Catalan, people would revert to English. Hopefully, I get the confidence up as I head south. BUT my final days in Barcelona were filled with solo exploration, hop-on-hop-off buses, La Casa Batllò, Mount Tibidabo, the search for a GOOD coffee, wondering through the Gothic Quarter, and Barceloneta. It was in Barcelona that I met up with Emma, and a few other travellers, ready to start a tour (and spent a lot of time wondering what I was thinking booking it…)
La Casa Batllò, again one of Gaudì’s incredible pieces, was astounding. Nicknamed the ‘House of Bones’ due to the bone-like facade, it was filled with imagery everywhere you looked. The house itself was inspired by the ocean, with vents that look like gropers, skylights that look like turtle shells and staircases that resemble the vertebrae of a giant sea-faring creature, it’s not hard to see the inspiration. I was glad to go early in the morning, and have a little space and time to explore. Gaudì was a firm believer that no part of nature is straight or perfect, which was reflected well in all of his works.
YES. I did make the trek up to Mount Tibidabo, purely for the FRIENDS reference. “Years ago, when I was backpacking through western Europe…” the epic pick-up line that eventuated in the birth of Emma (just in case you weren’t aware). While the views were spectacular and the Church impressive (but no Sagrada Familia!), the rest of Mount Tibidabo didn’t offer much. A small theme park, dearly needing upgrading, lies atop the mountain, but only opens on weekends or school holidays.
Barceloneta is the beach-side suburb of Barcelona. With quaint streets and beachy-vibes, you can see why it’s a tourist destination! Most of the best seafood restaurants in Barcelona are in Barceloneta, and I was lucky enough to have my first try of seafood paella in one of them one night! Was tasty!
In typical Melbournian style, the search for a GOOD coffee in Barcelona was a top priority. I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob, and hadn’t, until now, found a decent cup. BUT, with my fancy coffee hunting app and a few walk-bys of a few different coffee shops, I was successful in finding a coffee shop (essentially a hole in the wall), that felt just like home. Tucked away in a small street off Las Ramblas, I found Dalston Coffee and spent a wee bit of time one afternoon enjoying my Cortado and a book whilst taking up one of the three seats in the place. Was so good I returned with Em the next day.
The markets in Barcelona were one of my favourite places; the smells, the colours, the noise. (And the fresh food and great prices- a win!)
Not going to lie, after a couple of hectic days, sitting on the hop-on-hop-off bus and just enjoying the fresh air, the sites and the lack of walking, was a nice change.
Vamos a Valencia!