Throwback : The Heart of Catalunya

February 9, 2016

 I’ve travelled to 8 cities in Europe so far (soon to be more *fingers crossed*) and I can say with confidence that I’ve left a little piece of my heart behind in each one of them. But I left a little more than just a piece in Barcelona, I left a huge chunk !

Nestled in the heart of Catalunya, Barcelona is a city like no other I’ve been to in Europe. Simply stating, I just couldn’t get enough of this place & its energy.

I stayed in the city for 5 very very short days (I really wish I had stayed just a little longer). Let me briefly take you through my journey, show you what I saw and tell you why I fell in love with Barcelona and why I would love to go back for more.

Disclamer : Photo heavy post !

I travelled with some of my closest friends towards the end of September and went to a few different cities including Barcelona.

We arrived at Barcelona Sants in the afternoon and checked in to Gaudint Barcelona Suites. I can say without a doubt that this is the best BnB style apartment I have stayed at, in all my travels. No five star hotel can beat the hospitality and service we received at this place. They have a 9.6/10 rating on and its true, down to every single review. The apartments were clean, the beds were comfy, the terrace was beautiful and the best part ? I had a jacuzzi in my bathroom ! Yes a jacuzzi ! To sum it up, my stay was incredible. There was only one and really just one downside to this place; it was a little far away from the city center, beyond Sagrada Familia, in the residential district of Barcelona called Guinardo. Nevertheless, living a bit further from the city centre wasn’t as inconvenient as one may think since the metro was a 5-7 min walk away giving you easy access to downtown and the neighbourhood was very safe. Also, for how amazing the place was, it was worth it.

Nuria, the lovely lady at the reception, helped us with ur plans for the evening. The day we arrived was marked by the famous Le Mercé festival in Barcelona and there was a huge fireworks celebration at Plaça Catalunya followed by a majestic musical display at The Magic Fountain. Unfortunately, I didn’t carry my camera for safety purposes, therefore the pictures from this night are not great quality.

The fireworks begin at 9:00pm and go on for half an hour. However, we arrived a little late to the venue because of major crowds from all parts of the city heading into the same direction and didn’t get the best view. Nevertheless, it was the best way to start our stay in the city. The fireworks were breathtaking and the energy from the crowd around us was buzzing !

Later that night my friends surprised me with a VIP table at one of hottest clubs in Barcelona for my birthday. It was a crazy night to say the least and the best way to celebrate my 23rd !

The next day we visited the most iconic structure of Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia, a fine work by Antoni Gaudi that has yet to be completed. I had a short tour but one look is enough to recognise the beauty that lies within this place. I was in awe when I saw the natural light creating mosaics all across the church.

Later in the afternoon, we joined a Tapas walking tour, walking across several neighbourhoods in Barcelona (The Gothic Quarter, El Born, La Ramblas & Barceloneta), taking in the different food & sights the city had to offer.

The reason I fell in love with Barcelona wasn’t just because of the crisp energy of something exciting always in the air. I fell in love with its secrets; every turn I took would reveal a new secret, a historic landmark, a beautiful corner, something that I couldn’t help but capturing. I fell in love with the people, their hospitality, their laughter. I fell in love with Gaudi, he was everywhere, he covered Barcelona with his beautiful hands and filled the city with art.

I got a chance to have a quick stroll around the lanes in the city where one could get lost for hours. A blog post isn’t enough to show all the pictures I took and the things I saw but here are a couple things that caught my eye the most.

On our 4th day there, we decided to take a brief tour of Park Güel before heading to our scheduled Barcelona vs Las Palmas football match.

This park was dedicated to Gaudi, everything here had his mark on it, including his house. Although, more interesting than our experience at the park was the hike there. Yes, hike. We thought it was closer than expected until we realised midway through our walk that we were actually crossing over a mountain to get to the other side of the city where the Park was. Regardless, the walk was just as pretty if not tiring and we got a great view of Barcelona!

We ended up at the football match later, which honestly I don’t have much to say about as I just enjoyed the experience for what it was. I’m not a huge football fan but a key part of the city’s buzzing energy is it’s football and it is hard to not enjoy the heightened feeling of belonging to something greater, belonging to a team, regardless of being a football person or not.

The last day was filled with shopping, more strolling around and sunset at the beach.

I know it sounds like we did a lot & saw most of the things that you would see when visiting a city as tourist. But the truth is there is so much more left to do ! I wish I had had a chance to spend the entire day at Park Güel and stare at Gaudi’s wonders. I wish I could dedicate an entire day to the Barceloneta beach, enjoying the sun and the local sights. I wish I had a chance to hike up Mount Tibidabo or enjoy a midnight ride on a rented vespa. Like I said there was so much more to do. Hopefully, Ill get another chance to see Barcelona again.



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