Barcelona Guide: 

4 November 2017

Any time I get to travel anywhere with Victoria is a treat. Especially if it involves her visiting me in Paris and then going off to explore a new city.

Whilst planning all of my weekend trips throughout my time in Paris, Barcelona was always one city at the top of my list. Even though I never particularly had the greatest interest in visiting the Spanish city, countless glowing reviews from close friends made me change my opinion. That, and the amount of concept and coffee shops I learnt of when I dived deeper into what the city had to offer.

After visiting Lisbon, my love for Mediterranean cities was running deep. The charm and warmth (literally and figuratively) of Lisbon was what made me so attracted to it, and Barcelona was that on steroids. Also similarly to Lisbon, I wish that we had more time to explore (Victoria and I talked about how we wished we had a few weeks to experience both Barcelona and the surrounding area). When deciding where to travel, my general rule of thumb is that I don’t revisit places until I cross others off of my list; however, in the future I may have to make an exception for Barcelona.

We flew in very early on Tuesday to make sure we had the maximum time to explore. Once we arrived to our Airbnb, we hit the ground running by visiting all the nearby concept shops. One of the reasons she makes for the best travel partner is that our traveling to-do’s are often exactly the same: concept shops, well designed restaurants, and coffee shops ( for me, tea for her). We compared lists, mapped them out, and started out into the city.

Making our way through most of the gothic quarter popping in and out of shops, we rested at Nomad coffee before going home for a siesta in the evening (we needed it after a 6:30 AM flight). On our way back to the Airbnb, we walked through a square with tons and tons of pigeons. Because Victoria grew up with her grandfather’s pigeons in Poland, she was excited to see a cart selling bird seeds in the square. I’m pretty sure she was the happiest girl in all of Barcelona in that moment. Although I’m not scared of birds and don’t detest pigeons, it was a wee bit frightening having them fly towards my face. Especially when one of the pigeons flew towards my face and then rested on my head (here is a great photo of that). I’m pretty sure that was the moment Victoria surpassed her status as the happiest girl in Barcelona and became the happiest girl in the world.

Nap behind us, we went to The Green Spot: the most well designed minimal restaurant. We were the first ones in there (at 7:30...why do the Spanish eat so late?) and couldn’t stop taking photos even though it was dark and none of them turned out. Once we finished our sweet potato and black truffle pasta, we stopped in a speakeasy per a friend’s recommendation. It was kinda a surreal experience. As the hostess took us behind what seemed like a refrigerator door, the rest of the staff cheered and poured drinks as we entered. A quick look at the menu confirmed that this wasn’t an ordinary bar. Each drink looked to be really creative, well crafted, and was rated based on strength of the alcohols used. I obviously ordered a drink with the greatest strength and also appropriately named after The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors). She ordered a drink that came in a seashell. What we weren’t expecting, however, is that her seashell came in a smoking treasure chest and that I got drunk off of that one drink (and stealthily stole a glass whilst leaving the speakeasy).

The next morning (Victoria hungover, my young blood coursing through my veins making me feel better than ever), we waited for brunch with all the other white girls at Brunch + Cake and had the most opulent breakfast food either of us had ever seen. Afterwards, we made our way south to Federal Cafe and then roamed the sea shore on our way to the trendy neighborhood of El Born. We wandered in and out of more concept shops, got gelato + fries, and the settled at a restaurant for wine. Being the idiots we are, we played What Are The Odds and had to do some pretty stupid shit in public (that is until two breakdancers came to the same spot to perform). Even though we should have gone up to join them, we went to dinner at Oval and then fell asleep early like the true grandmothers we are at heart.
For our final morning in Barcelona, we woke up a bit early to see La Sagrada Familia. Another travel rule of thumb for me is that I avoid touristy spots, but I felt like I couldn’t leave the city without seeing this architectural feat. I was right, and although we didn’t go inside, we did admire it from the exterior. Before we made our way to the airport, we stumbled upon another Nomad location conveniently located down the street from our Airbnb, and admired the Contemporary Art Museum as we passed by. As I am sad to leave any beautiful place, I was even more sad to leave this city. I always cherish the time I get to travel, or even see, Victoria, and it is always difficult to have a much-anticipated event come and go.

It would be wrong of me to write this post about Barcelona without mentioning the political state in Catalonia. While I would do a shit job explaining what is happening, I’ll link you to a Vox video that gives an informative overview. Thankfully, the city was very safe and we didn’t see anything abnormal. We were able to experience Barcelona as it was meant to be experienced and came to love a city full of vibrant people, sights, and history.

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