Written on 9th March 2015
Barcelona, what a beautiful, sunny, relaxed city you were! I’m sitting at the airport now with three hours to kill before my flight so I’ve got a red wine and am enjoying a sit down to write the latest update in my travel blog!
I arrived nine days ago to prepare for my workplace’s event Mobile World Congress. I’d had a busy week prior to that and then the week of Congress itself was another blur that whirled by. We had a great time!
Once Congress finished on Thursday I decided to stay on in Barcelona until Monday to relax and explore the city. It turned out to be a very good decision.
On the Friday we caught up with a few other workmates for lazy lunch in the sun. The prospect of not having to be anywhere was that pure feeling of bliss that you just want to contain forever! I went for a harbourside stroll with friends before two of us agreed to nap at our rooms and then get dinner.
We walked through the Gothic Quarter for about an hour and then chose a restaurant (it was really hard to choose). Dinner was shared tapas with red wine, followed by decaf espresso.
On Saturday I meandered by myself down to the port for a walk and looked in shops. Then I walked along the coast to the beach. Men offered people mojitos and blankets. I was so tempted by both but I’m too suspicious of people who come up to you now. We had a few incidents the week during Congress so as a general rule when travelling – ignore everyone who comes up to you and hold your bag in front of you at all times.
I really love this city though. Personally I was really lucky not to have a bad experience so it was nice to relax by the beach. They even have beachwear shops right on the beach front, as you can see this one offered the most amazing view looking out.
One strange shop in the harbourside mall was this:
Yes it is what it looks like – a toilet shop. You go to the toilet and on your way out you can browse some handbags, accessories, “something of interest” as they might say. The best part being that when someone asks you where you got your bag you can say “WC. That toilet shop in Barcelona. Felt really relieved in there. I recommend it.”
I sat on the beach and then it got chilly so walked through the Gothic Quarter again. I came across these geese in a cathedral. I’m not sure why they are there so I need to look that up later.
I headed back to my room and met with a friend again for dinner. This time we went to a place we had passed the night before. The decor is pretty awesome (provided they don’t have an earthquake).
They even offered us 50% off our bill for being the first ones in the restaurant – a nice surprise. Although, after we decided on our meals, they proceeded to explain it was only if we ordered certain meals of a specific size and quantity. My friend tried to explain we’d be happy just pay full price and get what we wanted but they wouldn’t have a bar of it. So 20 minutes later our table was full with bready tapas and a large paella each. I set to work to get through it. It was more of a challenge than a relaxing meal. Alas I failed and only got through half. Essentially we still paid full price really!
My friend had recommended the Busturistic bus tour so I hopped on the red line and went round Montjuic. Then I had 30 mins before I had to use my 2.30pm Sagrada Familia ticket. I ran to the blue line bus and got outside the building at 2.25pm. I was very chuffed with my timing!
I took lots of photos of this surreal place – the Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi!
It’s amazing to think it’s been in construction for almost a century. I went up the Passion Tower to admire the views and then walked all the way down.
Then I stopped at Park Guell for a stroll. Brilliant views up there.
After that I got absolutely freezing sitting at the top of the bus so I huddled on the first floor by the heater for the rest of it. The bus tour was very cool. I hadn’t done a hop-on hop-off bus tour before but we got headphones and could choose a language. They even played music in between explaining each site. At one point this moving orchestral music played as I watched a plane soar vertically across the sky leaving a smoke trail and shadow – it was such a cool moment.
That night I was on my own and exhausted so I went straight to the room to rest. All the resting this weekend has been much needed. And it’s made me consider setting aside more time to rest each week and on other holidays. Last year was go go go. And I think this year is more about taking time to sit and breathe.
Finally today on Monday all I felt like doing was looking in the shops at Gothic Quarter and having an afternoon Sangria. Such a good day.
I prefer the clothing here to London because it’s brighter and suits my skin tone. Plus there are so many boutique shops. I could have meandered for hours. But it was time to head to the airport so I went back to the room and they called me a taxi. The taxi driver was a young woman who came to the door and took my newly heavy luggage outside. I felt bad for her – she was smaller than me! We got to her car and two cops gave her a yelling about parking in the middle of the road. She had blocked the lane with her hazard lights on while collecting me. They told her off for about a minute before giving her a warning. Minor drama averted!
In the car she told me she loved Australia and I tried to ask her if she went to the Gold Coast theme parks. It required a Google translation but we got there. I tried to ask her why there were geese in the church but she had no explanation either. I’ll update if I find out!
Now I’m at the airport with two hours left to kill, watching the Spanish sun set over my plastic cup of red wine.
Spain, we will meet again soon!