First off, please allow me to get this off my chest.
Ok, here we go..
Barcelona was amaaaazing!
Me and my friends all agreed that we all want to go back there in the near future. Some of us even promised to find a way to live or eventually retire there. Haha.
The trip planning started when me and my friends noticed cheap airfare to Barcelona for the four-day weekend we had coming up. We checked daily and one day, the prices dropped to 50 euro roundtrip via Ryanair. Booked. The only catch was that we will be flying into Girona, which was about an hour out of Barcelona. No sweat. The next step was booking our accommodations. I found an upstart hostel named Cool & Chic and decided to spend our first night there since we would be getting in very late. For a price of about 20 euro per person, we were treated to one of the newest and nicest hostels in town. For the next two nights, I booked three rooms at the Hilton Barcelona. The only reason we got it is because Hilton had a promo that slashed the prices to about 70 euro a night per room. To make it better, my elite status got us free breakfast for six people along with other benefits.
So what makes Barcelona great? Let me start with the people. We had amazing interactions with both locals and tourists. The locals took great pride in their city and it showed. The other tourists were just as happy as we were to be there and we soaked it all up. Next item, the food. Everybody knows about the famous Tapas and Paella but Barcelona is much more than that. The city is heaven for foodies like me. The highlight was our experience at the Boqueria Barcelona Market where we just went crazy over fresh seafood and fruits.
Next, let’s talk about the sites. The city in general was just very scenic as it combined beautiful old-school architecture with modern flair. The countless attractions like La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Olympic Stadium, Camp Nou, Las Ramblas Plaza as well as the various beaches kept us busy as we explored as much of the city as we could.
Shopping is also something Barcelona has a lot of. Right next to our hotel, we found a big shopping mall that housed a lot of famous brands. Scattered along the streets of various locations are small shops that sell local arts and crafts. All the attractions we went to had hoards of shops where you can buy souvenirs as well as football gear. And of course, there was the Famous Las Ramblas strip that was simply a shopper’s paradise. More than a mile stretch of anything and everything!
As for getting around the city, I’m not normally a fan of city tour buses but Barcelona had to be the exception. With a city of this size, it was great not having to worry about taxi, bus and metros when trying to find the next attraction. We purchased a 2-day hop-on, hop-off bus pass for 32 euro and that proved to be one of the best investments of the trip.
Barcelona nightlife was also very happening. We tried to get a taste of the different hotspots in the city. We found a small Brazilian bar that played amazing music. Enjoyed pinacoladas at a local Hawaiian spot. Sipped on Sangria and people watched in Las Ramblas. And then ended our nights in the bars and clubs by the beach.
Finally, it was just the whole vibe of the city. I learned from the bus commentary that the locals take pride in “living well” and I definitely understood what that meant. Everything was just beautiful. The architecture, the food, the people.
While the city has a lot of history and pride, it was still possible for a tourist like me to find a connection and feel like a part of the city. It’s going to take a while for me to shake this Barcelona bug, err, Barcelona Vibe. 🙂
Here are more pictures of the trip!