Spain: Barcelona

I love that Easter weekend is a 4-day weekend here. Last year we were took advantage of the extra days and went to Italy. This year, we went to Spain. We decided to do 3 stops this trip: Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid. Our first stop was Barcelona. Barcelona is a vibrant city, with a lot to see and do. The main touristy/sightseeing places are Gaudi, which I will blog about in a separate post.

Travelling in Europe can be a bit risky. There are horror stories about people being detained or arrested for not showing proper ID in Greece, and all types of mugging / pickpocketing stories. In our time in London and travelling in Paris and Rome, we’d been warned about pickpockets and heard stories, but thankfully had never been targeted. We had an interesting encounter in Madrid, but I’ll get to that in a separate post 🙂 I don’t think I have heard or read of as many warnings about pickpockets as I had for Barcelona and Spain in general. Apparently, Barcelona and Madrid have some of the higher rates of pickpocketing in Europe. If you’re considering travelling to Barcelona/Madrid, a messenger type bag that you can wear to your side or in front of you is important. A bag that fully zips shut is a must, and keep your valuables (like money and what not) in an inside pocket, so even if someone gets into your main compartment, they can’t easily access your money. Don’t wear fancy jewelry, in fact I left my engagement ring in the safe at the hotel. I probably should have just left it at home before we left. If you’re carrying a camera, and wearing comfortable walking shoes, you’re going to look like a tourist. Even though people say not to look too much like a tourist, sometimes it’s inevitable. Just be aware of your surroundings and your valuables! There’s my 2 cents. Now onto Barcelona!

We arrived in Barcelona and were able to check into our hotel a bit early. There is a main area called Las Ramblas where a lot of vendors, bars and restaurants are. Our hotel was really close to a metro station (Paral.lel) which made it very easy to get around the city. The city itself has a lot to do, but it’s worth going to the beach area as the feel and atmosphere is very different. It was really nice to get some warm sunshine and take in the beach area since London has been so cold these days.

The main street in Barcelona with lots of shops, restaurants and vendors
The main street in Barcelona with lots of shops, restaurants and vendors
In the mercado area there are places like this dispersed between vendors selling fresh fruit and meat. Great place to pick up some tapas!
In the mercado area there are places like this dispersed between vendors selling fresh fruit and meat. Great place to pick up some tapas!
An example of the fresh meat available. If you look closely, there's a skinned goats head with the eyeball still in, and a brain next to it. I don't usually get squeamish but the head gave me goosebumps
An example of the fresh meat available. If you look closely, there’s a skinned goats head with the eyeball still in, and a brain next to it. I don’t usually get squeamish but the head gave me goosebumps

Later that evening, we walked around the Gothic Quarter, or Barrio Gotic. It was actually one of my favourite places to walk around and explore. There are placas (like the one below), restaurants, dessert places…just lots to see and explore.

Panorama of Placa Sant Jaume in Barrio Gotic
Panorama of Placa Sant Jaume in Barrio Gotic

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Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter
Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter
Dotted around are these snack shops that Joe had to frequent. Nothing like a nice sausage sandwich before dinner :)
Dotted around are these snack shops that Joe had to frequent. Nothing like a nice sausage sandwich before dinner 🙂
View of Barcelona from Parc Guell vantage point
View of Barcelona from Parc Guell vantage point

On our last day in Barcelona we went down to the beach area for an amazing seafood lunch and explored the area. The weather was perfect and warm.

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Structure by the beachfront
Structure by the beachfront
I miss palm trees
I miss palm trees
Awesome gelato place that was recommended to us by a friend who studied abroad here! It's by the beach so grab your gelato, find a place by the ocean and enjoy
Awesome gelato place that was recommended to us by a friend who studied abroad here! It’s by the beach so grab your gelato, find a place by the ocean and enjoy
That is a medium cup with 2 flavours piled in. They give very generous portions and it is GREAT stuff.
That is a medium cup with 2 flavours piled in. They give very generous portions and it is GREAT stuff.
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3 thoughts on “Spain: Barcelona

  1. Clariss almost got pickpocketed by some fake cops/gypsys when he went to barcelona! lucky for him he had street smarts and knew something was wierd and got outta there!!!! i had another coworker and a friend who got mugged in rome. Thankfully i’ve bypassed any mishaps. can’t wait to hear your story!

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