Barcelona, renowned for being a big pick-pockety place full of paella but in in my opinion it's more of a friendly cosmopolitan cove of culture .
With my sister on placement and a resounding phrase of "travel while you're young" ringing in my ears from many elders, I plucked up the courage to brave the brute of Ryan air and jet over to Spain for a quick April adventure.
To avoid boring you (and myself) with a stereotypical travel re-tel, my trip can be summarised into a couple of quirky titles and imagery insights to give you a taste of this Spanish cities sites and scenes...
Beach strolls & Beetroot lattes
An evening arrival calls for one thing- an evening beach stroll. The Barcelona beaches are great: flat stretches of sand are greeted by a long promenade buzzing with joggers, skateboarders and evening strollers. The seafront panorama was pleasing on the eyes, however I'd recommend a slight blur of vision for the hardcore Spaniard exhibitionists who brave the chilly spring breeze budgy-smuggler-less.
I can imagine the beaches here to be almost perfect on sunnier summer days.
Just up from the sand (escaping the nakedness and sea breeze) is an avenue of eateries. You could dabble in a paella, grab a gelato or like us, try one of the indie brunch spots for a quirky evening coffee.
Brunch and Cake was the chosen spot. We didn't dabble in 'cake by the ocean' (despite Joe Jonas' promotion), however, a fresh homely vibe, and doors open wide, something caught our eye that we just HAD to try.
...A BEETROOT latte!
Attempting to ask what exactly this beverage was proved a little difficult with our Catalan being less than perfect, so we yolo'd it anyway.
Turns out a slight pink tinge and sweet earthy taste was a pleasant edition to any latte lovers usual and was enough to leave me content whilst looking out at the sunset over Spain, contemplating the roots behind root vegetable beverages. Can't say it was the most life changing drink- but you have got to try these things.
...So with it being called BRUNCH and cake, of course we had to return (especially having sneakily checked out the menu before) for brunch. We were not disappointed. A floral garden of granola on a sea of smoothie, smoked salmon and smashed avo burger, a tossed and toasted tostada salad. It was every an aesthetically driven instagrammer could want.
This was my favourite Barcelona eatery.
Not all those who wander are lost
Barcelona has streets upon streets upon streets of places to just 'wander'. Yeah so our map skills weren't great, and nor were our coffee fueled 'planning' sessions, but in terms of exploring we did a great deal. In my opinion you don't need a city break itinerary, to get the most out of a city you've just got to walk. Just sketch an idea, and some 'must sees', then open your eyes and explore. If in doubt, Starbucks will most probably be just around the corner to offer free WiFi and hunky Spanish baristas.
Being students, we didn't fall into money trap of going into the little 'pit' of the parc. The architecture it highlights is quite clearly visible from around the outside and only accounts for about 10% of the parc's features. No fomo there.
The Camden of Catalonia
If you've ever been to the Camden markets of London, you'll know all about the off-the-wall vintage stalls and stores. Barcelona, too is peppered with alleyways filled with such shops. With a nose for exploring the back streets for some back street style we spent a great deal of time delving thriftily. It's not something so much advertised in your typical tourism leaflets, but a great thing to check out (particularly if you happen to find yourself a little lost yet curious).
From the central square's half finished stairs, to a tall monumental pole. Barcelona is full of art, sculptures and design. It is perfect to just absorb and it really doesn't have to take a lot of wallet content absorption to enjoy this city. You can simply just breathe in the Barcelona vibes and feel your globetrotting fulfillment fairly easily.
As a city, I found Barcelona not only to be interesting, pleasing on the eye and brimming with good vibes, but I also felt it was pretty unique compared to other European cities. I'd say it's a diamond in the rough of the 'lads holiday' infested Spain that I have previously encountered.
Of course there is much more to see and do in this young, laid back yet historic city. I merely offer you a quick taster of my Barcelona break to tempt your inner Dora the Explorer.