It is a four hour drive to Barcelona from our house in South France. Exploring far away lands is exciting, but so is adventuring to magical places on our door step. It was my first time in Spain and it was also my first time crossing a European boarder without passport control! That weird moment when suddenly I’m in a different country and the only way to know is that easily missable
We checked into our beautiful hotel in the old part of Barcelona city, scoped out the room for all it’s freebies and scoffed at the ridiculous prices of the mini-bar, freshened up and ventured out to explore! The lady on reception was super friendly and highlighted all the ‘must-see’ places on our map.. Turns out there is a lot of ‘must-see’ places in Barcelona. We headed to La Rambles as it was no.1 on our must-see list and wow – what a dump! It felt like walking down a rough area of London that I’d usually try to avoid if possible. It’s literally a gum covered strip of pavement in-between two sides of road, littered with what felt like the entire earth population and some tacky plants for sale. I was so overwhelmed by people pollution that we ventured down a back alleyway to find a quite space to recharge my batteries. Busy makes my dizzy quite quickly. Almost by mistake we found a beautiful square filled with fantastic architecture and the vibes of the city instantly changed! To our delight there was just more amazement around every corner and we spent hours getting lost off the main streets until the day turned into night and the sculptures we were admiring gained an eerie shadow and yellow illumination.
We totally ditched the map and just explored! My advice to anyone visiting Barcelona is to stay off the main streets and get lost down the back streets, it is totally different.
I loved the quietness and the stillness. Something about those streets made me feel peaceful. My partner said it felt like a real Diagon Alley, and I totally get what he means! Having just come back from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it felt very much like the fake-reconstruction built in Universal Studios – only these building were REAL! With REAL history!
We spent two days wondering around. We found the most fantastic art shop that literally had everything we needed for our hobbies; oils for me, airbrush for him. I got a fantastic easel for only $40!! Insane and it was so much fun carrying it back to our hotel through the city. We were laughing and chuckling that we could just stop, look as if we are setting it up while I start to undress against a wall and see how many tourists gather around to watch ha. Alas no nudity, nor artistic titanic moments occurred.
We didn’t have time to do all the touristy museums or to even look at half of the building highlighted for us on our map. However we did check out the Barcelona museum because Romans! Need I say more? The museum is really cool! A lift goes down underground to explore the remains of Barcino (the Roman city that existed before Barcelona). I love learning that way – to be immersed in the history, to walk through it and discover it is just brilliant. Sadly the museum was almost deserted of people – clearly they were all crammed down La Rambles thinking how awful Barcelona is and wondering why they bothered to go! The city has so many hidden gems as soon as you step of the main streets, and I am excited to go back and discover more of them!
Sadly I didn’t have time for the Picasso or the Gaudi museums and they are definitely on my to-do-list next time I visit!