Friday, 20 June 2014

Barcelonaaaaa

Dos cervezas por favor!

The one and only spanish phrase I know translating to.. "two beers please".

Yes I am finally getting my butt into gear and writing a post on my lovely trip to Barcelona.


I'm not really too sure what kind of post this is going to be, I was just going to post a load of pictures of my holiday with a little intro but then thought actually It might be helpful to do some sort of blog post guide to Barcelona in case anyone was thinking of going and wanted some advise on where to stay, what to do, where to go etc..

Also when it comes to new places or just a sense of direction in general, I am probably the most incapable person ever. I rely largely on Jay to find things, and to know where we're going because I'm just useless.. So if you're like me and you're a bit of an idiot abroad, this may be quite useful.

So me and Jay stayed in La Rambla, which is one of the busiest streets in Barcelona and probably one of the main tourist areas. This was great for us as it was conveniently in the heart of everything, we had a tube station almost directly opposite from our hotel and we didn't really mind the crowds or the noise. If you're looking to stay in an area thats maybe a bit quieter and chilled out you would probably be better to look for a hotel in Catalunya which is a bit further up but still very close to La Rambla.


As I mentioned La Rambla is pretty alive with hustle and bustle during the day and in the evening... So that's always a great starting point. Once we had settled into our hotel after the flight we decided to go and do a bit of exploring (and have a beer obviously). 



On our travels we found this incredible market called the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, or just simply la Boqueria. This was possibly the busiest and most diverse undercover market I've ever seen, selling things from fresh fruit, to fish, cured meats, nuts, sweets, olives... you name it they had it! It's pretty handy if you're looking to get a snack or some lunch as you can actually dine at some of the market stools too.

On our first evening we intended to find the cathedral as we'd been told that we could find some nice restaurants around there.. However after getting a bit lost a  random drunk guy kindly pointed us in the complete wrong direction. So we decided to eat at a restaurant in a little square called Placa Reial, which is just off La Rambla. Originally me and Jay weren't too sure how things worked in Spain in terms of tipping etc but if you've been before you'll know that the Spanish are pretty relaxed and impeccable customer service isn't exactly pushed like it is over here (They really are living the dream). So it's probably why tipping isn't generally the norm in Spain but with tourists 5% of the bill is usually the acceptable amount. 


We then wondered over to this slightly alternative looking bar called 'Sidecar' which was pretty cool. They played good music and alcohol was cheap which is all I need for a good night out. Jagerbomb is a language we can all speak.. evidently. 


On our second day In Barcelona we decided to do the touristy thing and hopped on the tube to go and see the Sagrada Familia. *Top Tip: It's worth getting  BCN card for a couple of days as it gives you free use of public transport and discount on tourist attractions, you can get these from the machines in the underground*

If you haven't heard of the Sagrada Familia, It's a large and very famous Roman Catholic church that was originally constructed by Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi unfortunately died in 1926 leaving it unfinished, however many sculptors and arctitects have pitched in over the years to add their own touch to Gaudi's project. The church still remains unfinished however it is estimated that it will be complete by 2026... Only what 100 years later.





After mooching around for a while we got the tube to the stop Universitat as we'd been told they have a wicked vintage shopping area along Carrer de Pelai and Carrer dels Tallers *Top Tip: Get a map, it will be your best friend*

It definitely didn't disapoint and we found some seriously cool shops including one called Pink Flamingo which charges you on the weight of items so it's super cheap! 





We even found a cute little flea market on our travels just outside the Cathedral de Barcelona....




Day 3 was mostly spent on Barceloneta Beach which is just a short walk from La Rambla. The beach is awesome and has plenty of bars to sit and drink, and quite a few of them hire out sun loungers for the day pretty cheaply. 







Our final day before catching the flight home was spent in Parc de la Ciutadella which is a stunning oasis just to the east of the old town.  We hired a boat on the lake and gazed in awe at the cascade fountain. The parc also has a zoo but no Zoology museum much to my dismay as it has now been moved to a different location. 











And not to be forgotten one of the main parts of any holiday.... Food. We were pretty savvy when it came to finding good places to eat. One place recommended to us was an Argentinian Steak House, I can't remember the name for the life of me but it was around Carrer de L'Almirall Cervera In Barceloneta. From the outside it doesn't look like much at all, in fact a little off putting but the steak was the incredible and about the size of my head as you can see.. It actually defeated me. 


Another Great find was Bo Bun which is a quirky Vietnamese restaurant located near the Barcelona Cathedral on Calle Sagristans. We went here for lunch and got 3 courses for just 10 euros!


Another awesome place to go in Barceloneta is Makamaka beach burger cafe.. The burgers are incredible! There's usually a bit of a wait for a table, especially on hot days as it is so popular but its definitely worth it. 



And finally on the last night we found a quaint little restaurant called Suculent on Rambla de Ravel, this place was a little more pricey and a la carte so to speak but again the food was on point and a little different which was nice. It was definitely one of the less touristy restaurants we visited which was good for Jay as he got to practice a few more of those Spanish phrases. 


Well that was an awfully long post... I hope you enjoyed reading something a little bit different from my normal babble and it was in some way helpful. As always please leave me comments, I love reading them and replying.  If you liked this then would you like me to do a similar post on my trip to Amsterdam? 

Thanks for reading guys,