My sister has just returned from a weekend in Barcelona with her boyfriend. I managed to pluck this post out of her…Enjoy!
Well, I’ve just come back from a 5 day trip to Barcelona with my boyfriend, and seeing as I have the day off work, my sister has been pestering me to write a blog post on it. You might ask, why Barcelona? No real reason, we had never been to Spain and most importantly there was an offer by Ryan air in October whereby we paid Eur 0.01 each way i.e. Eur0.04 for two return flights including taxes and all charges (we travel light…hand luggage only). We were not certain whether we would actually go, but anyways it was only Eur0.04. As time passed however we started planning more, found a hostel, and started checking up on Barcelona things to do. We had some friends who had been there last summer and who loved the place, so we were bombarded with options.
Therefore last Thursday saw us going to the airport in the morning for our flight to Barcelona (actually Girona airport, because that’s where Ryanair flies to). The flight left a bit early and the plane was relatively empty. No worries, all the better for us because we got some good seats. Arrived in Barcelona a bit early and caught the bus to Barcelona city. It just takes around 1hour to 1hour 15mins so it was not such a problem. Once in Barcelona we started to make our way on foot to our hostel. I must say this part was the part I was most anxious to get done, because I wanted to see what type of hostel it would be like, and more importantly the area of the hostel. We arrived at the address and it looked quite a nice area, so that was good. The hostel is situated on the second (and third I think as well) floors of this old building. It looks like my grandma’s house, with high ceilings etc. We made our way up 58 steps (Bernard counted on the first day) and started to settle down. Unfortunately our room was not yet ready, and we had to wait 15mins. But once that was done we settled in and where shown around (mainly this is your room, these are the showers/bathrooms and this is the kitchen). It was certainly not what I would have expected from a hostel, as it was not a purpose built place, but it was more like going over to visit a relative and being given a room. However I really really liked it (Bernard took some more time I think, but by the end he liked the places as well), and the place was clean and the people really friendly. So that is the most important thing.
We then went out and walked along La Ramblas. I must say this first impression was not so good. It was just people around and nothing interesting, and I was getting worried I might not like our stay. Everyone had told us that La Ramblas is the nicest place, but these friends are mainly interested in shopping, so La Ramblas is the places for them, but probably not for us :S. The high point of this walk around was however certainly the Market de la Bouquoeira (something like that), which is a fruit, fish, meat market where you find everything. I think from our stay in Barcelona it is our favourite time and we returned time and time again just to walk around and also to buy some really good pastries. However that evening we had a meeting with Bernard’s roommate from his traineeship a few years back, who comes from a village close to Barcelona and works in the city. He proceeded to take us away from La Ramblas, and walked around different parts of the city, where we started to understand more the beauty of Barcelona. After some time he left to start his 1.5hour or so trip back home and we went to eat in an area Pere had suggested.
Next morning, after breakfast (included in the hostel price-consisted of cereal, toast, coffee etc…nothing much but certainly enough for us) we went to our first stop of the day…Palau Guell. This is an old building built by Gaudi. Unfortunately only the servant’s quarters are available for visits at the moment since the remainder of the building is under renovation. This area was however BEAUTIFUL, so we can only imagine the beauty of the remaining parts. We then started walking towards Travel Bar, from where we were planning to take a free walking tour of Barcelona. Our guide took us on a 3hour walk around Barcelona. He knew quite a lot of history and was quite entertaining. Not sure if all he said was factually correct, but who cares, we got to go round the old part of the city and had some great fun. From there it was on to the Maritime museum, and after that to the Museu de la Historya Catalunya. This was the museum I wanted to go to, because these museums always seem to be the most interesting. Unfortunately we only had around 2hours to see it, and we did not manage to see it in the detail I would have preferred, but anyways. After closing time we had something to eat and off to sleep. We had an early night because I was suffering from quite a bad cold, and so was not feeling all that well.
Saturday saw us going to Montjuic. We walked to the metro station and got the funicular. We then proceeded to walk around the hill. We went through the Olympic area and also saw some museums e.g. MNAC (Museu national Art Catalunya), Mies van der Rohe’s pavilion (a total waste of time and money in my opinion…it’s just a building and a chair, however Bernard LOVED it, since he had studied about Mies’ architecture and also his chair styles, and so was really excited. We also saw Caixa Forum where they had a number of installations/exhibitions. We then started our way walking back to our hostel. IN the evening we met Pere and his girlfriend Nuria, and went for a night on the town…Tapas, Capirinha, Mojito…I really enjoyed it. It was my first time meeting Nuria and she (and Pere) is really nice, and therefore the night passed quickly and soon it was time for them to start their way back.
The next day was Gaudi day for us. Pere and Nuria were supposed to meet us in the morning, and catch up with us wherever we would be. However they overslept and so we met in the afternoon. We went to Sagrada Familia (WOW), La Pedrera and also saw some other Gaudi buildings. That afternoon after meeting Pere and Nuria we walked around the town…Park de la Cuitadella, the waterfront etc and had some more Tapas in a tavern next to our hostel (Squid, octopus, and Spanish Omlette yum yum). We also went to this nice bar called forest of the fairies or something of the sort, where the atmosphere is beautiful.
Monday was our last day. We woke up to catch the metro to Park Guell, which everyone had told us was a must see. After walking up and up and up and up, we managed to reach the top area. Although the park was really beautiful, I think my heart did not like it. If I did not get a heart attack then I think it is still a very rare occurrence. To make things worse it started raining etc (Otherwise we had BEAUTIFUL weather). However we walked a bit around…it was worth the heart pumping and the tiredness, saw Gaudi’s beautiful buildings and proceeded to La Ramblas. There we did some shopping…Bernard bought this really cute crib from Peru, and we bought a number of pastries from the market, which we had been visiting nearly every day. We also walked a bit more round the area…saw the Barcelona Cathedral, revisited the Music Hall of Catalunyan Music (a really nice building) etc. After eating at this Irish pub, we walked along the waterfront for the last time, and went to the hostel to pack and get some rest. At least that was the plan. Bernard managed to sleep immediately but I just couldn’t sleep. At 1:30am we woke up and started our way to the Bus station to get the bus to Girona airport and start our trip back homeL.
Well, I can say that Barcelona is really beautiful. Furthermore, this being my first trip abroad with Bernard (excluding visits to Gozo :P), I think that it went really well.
Thanks BCN for a beautiful time…Thanks Pere and Nuria for your time and your company… Unfortunately we are now back in Malta and tomorrow it’s back to work. No probs…we will now start planning our next trip…where shall we go??