Barcelona #1 – Gaudi

Being back in London is so convenient as I can easily do little weekend trips away. I recently hopped over to Barcelona with Vueling and explored on my own for a few days. I had never been to Spain before and had no idea what to expect. All my friends had told me about the beauty and thriving hustle of Barcelona so I wanted to experience it for myself. I stayed at Sant Jordi Rock Palace and got a private room for next to nothing. It was in a great central location and all the staff were friendly and helpful so I definitely recommend it. This is day one of two and it’s basically a visit to Gaudi’s masterpieces round the city.

To start the day I grabbed the metro up to Park Guell. It’s on a hill in the north of the city and requires bits of walking and wandering but is worth the hike! Antoni Gaudi (one of Spain’s most famous architects) designed part of the park with his unique geometrical sculptures. The use of mosaic, tiling and overall structure is really lovely and there is a lot to see. To explore the main area you have to pay a small fee and are given an entry time (so it’s worth booking in advance online). It combines two things I love – art and outdoor spaces, so I easily spent around two hours basking in the sun and feeling like I was at my own private gallery.

From there I walked back downtown and stopped off at some cafes and shops. It’s a nice half an hour stroll through more residential streets and a great opportunity to escape the tourist hustlebustle. Sagrada Familia is a church also designed by Gaudi but currently incomplete. It is privately funded and therefore relies on donations (hopefully it will be completed by 2026). You can however still visit and go inside. There is a lot to take in so grab an audio guide and just isolate yourself. The outside is ridiculously detailed but I think it’s the inside that makes it a masterpiece. The stained glass literally pours rainbows into the main hall.

Things got hangry by this point so I headed to Placa de Catalunya, the main square, and went to Bacoa for some grub. It is a very trendy burger place similar to GBK or Byron but only based in Spain. I went for the bravas potatoes and Bacoa burger (meats and cheeses and chutneys). It is a monster of a meal as the burger is probably double a normal-sized burger. The different sauces are a great touch and the whole ethos and atmosphere was really lovely. If you’re looking for something different to McDonalds or tapas (as you will get tapas’d out) check them out!

With my stomach double the size I hobbled home and slept like a baby. The next day was more sporadic with me running around a lot but still amazing. There’s a calmness about Barcelona, everyone is very relaxed and happy to be there. The coffee culture is very much alive at night with people sitting out in the streets until four or five in the morning. Siesta’s are common and that’s why most people eat dinner or go out much later. You should adapt to the local way of life and fully immerse yourself to get the most of your trip!

Discussion

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