Is Barcelona number 1 on everyone’s travel bucket list? Because I know it was pretty high on mine!
During my European backpacking trip, my friend Chelsea and I met up with our Aussie friends, Mel and Mack, who we met in London. It was perfect timing that we were all in Barcelona!
Our first night we went out for tapas and sangria with our Aussie friends. Mack was also traveling with two friends from home and invited two Aussies from her room. I am obsessed with Australia so I asked them about Australian TV, movies and culture all night.
But the food was amazing! Chels and I split guacamole, patatas bravas (potatoes in a spicy sauce), calamari and mini burgers. The sangria was delicious, too.
We stopped for one drink at a famous mojito bar. I’m not a big fan of mojitos but really loved the one at this place! Maybe I’ve just never had a GOOD mojito before.
We ended the night at the famous Dow Jones bar. It’s concept is based off the New York Stock Exchange. There are Wall Street signs everywhere inside including a photo of Wall Street burning… So let’s say five people order a mojito but only one person buys a Guinness. The mojito will rise in price due to demand but the price of Guinness will drop. Each time a person ordered a particular drink, the price of that drink would go up. There was a ticker at the top of the bar that said the price of each drink and whether the “stock” was up or down.
Then there would be a stock market crash every hour. The price of drinks would bottom to insanely cheap. It was a Sunday night so the bar was empty, but I heard on a busy night, people literally run to the bar to buy the cheap drinks during a crash.
The next day we went to the famous La Sagrada Familia church. I think this may be the most breathtaking architecture I’ve seen in Europe so far.
Usually the wait to get in is about two and a half hours but Mack found tickets online for 20 Euro that let us skip the line and go right in with an audio guide!
The thing I found the most amazing about the church was that it’s not finished. Construction began in the 1880s by Gaudi, a man of many talents including architecture, sculptures and paintings. And it won’t be done until 2020. It looked like they had a lot of work to go!
We spent a little over an hour exploring the inside of the church. The inside was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
We spent the afternoon exploring Park Quell, another architectural masterpiece of Gaudi. Although I didn’t find this one quite worth the money. Especially after seeing La Sagrada Familia but it has beautiful views of Barcelona.
That night we went to Sensi Bistro and had a wide variety of tapas. We had ham croquettes, Indian curry chicken, truffle raviolis (and bread which I dipped in the amazing truffle sauce!), duck, roasted mixed vegetables, stuffed artichokes and more! Every single tapa was delicious.
We went around the corner to a cave bar that had a cool atmosphere but was pretty dead (it was a Monday).
Our last full day in Barcelona, Chels and I took a free walking tour of Barcelona through Sandemans, a popular travel company. We toured the old town of Barcelona and learned a lot about the history. But it was almost too much. I’m not too familiar with Spain’s history so I found the tour quite hard to follow. We learned about many different prime minsters and kings and different groups who persecuted each other and I just felt very confused. I prefer tours that give a mix of fun, trivia facts with history but this tour didn’t seem to provide that.
We saw the Roman columns, Barcelona Cathedral and more beautiful architecture.
After the walking tour, we met back up with Mel and Mack and had an amazing sushi lunch. We’ve missed sushi!
While in the restaurant, a beggar came up to our table. He had a sign written in very messy handwriting and was asking for money. The waitress shooed him out and told us that he was trying to get us to look at his sign so he could grab Mel’s phone that was sitting on the table, while we weren’t looking. We heard that Barcelona has a very bad pickpocket problem but this seemed beyond to me.
That afternoon Chels and I walked along the very crowded and touristy, La Rambla. This is the major street in Barcelona with the best shopping.
As we wandered, we ended up in a busy square with tons of restaurants. We picked one that advertised chicken paella, a sort of risotto with spices and meat that is the traditional dish of Spain.
But we were unimpressed. Don’t worry, we washed it down with sangria. At almost 11 p.m., we finally left the restaurant! I don’t know how the Spaniards do it every night. I prefer eating early but we ate after 9 p.m. every night in Barcelona.
And now for my favorite story of Barcelona…
Chels likes her showers. It’s her time to be alone with her thoughts and do whatever she does in there. I’m used to it. But the 50+ year old French woman in our room was not happy. Our hostel dorm had a bathroom in the room and there were no communal bathrooms on the floor so that was the only option. The French woman was tapping her watch and sort of yelling at me in French.
“Thirty minutes!” was all she could say in French. Five minutes later she would shout again. She would make motions at me that I think were meant to say, “Get your friend out of the freaking bathroom.” After 45 minutes, Chels came out.
“One hour! You take one hour!” the woman yelled as she tapped her watch. I couldn’t hold it together. I was dying of laughter. The woman gathered her stuff for the bathroom and in a sarcastic tone asked if Chelsea was finished. What a 50+ year old woman is doing in a hostel, I have no idea. But I loved the entertainment.
I really enjoyed our three nights in Barcelona. I wish we had been able to spend a bit more time here to explore more of the nightlife and culture but I loved every moment we were there. It’s always fun to travel with friends!