Smile! You’re in Barcelona!

Smile! You’re in Barcelona!

After so many months of preparations, negotiations with my friends of where we going and if we’re going at all, the decision was unanimous; let’s go to Barcelona!

“Let’s do it!” My proposals were Barcelona or Lisbon. I haven’t been to any of those cities before and thought it’s about time to visit at least one of them this Summer.

I won’t write about how beautiful Barcelona is, as you all probably know that already. I am going to write this in a form of itinerary, day by day, what I visited, eat, drank, felt, when, where, how. Simple as that. Comprende?!

Before I left, I downloaded Duolingo app to learn some of Spanish. My well knowing of Italian language helped me a bit. Still, I haven’t learned much. Yo soy un hombre. Yo bebo leche. That’s all I’ve remembered. And Ola. Yes, it’s the greatest and probably sexiest greeting ever.

The four of us flew with Ryanair. From Venice. If you book early enough, you can get a really good deal. We, umm… it’s a miracle we even decided to go. Well, on a last minute. So our deal was still good, but not that good.

Day 1 – arrival

2hrs flight went by really fast. But when you forget your earphones, that fast could’ve been even faster. Anyways, it wasn’t that huge deal. Forgot to tell you about my luggage. Flying light was the term I had in mind while preparing for this trip. And this is how it actually was. Two pair of shorts, swimming shorts, two pair of jeans, one chinos, two shirts and couple of t-shirts. Two pair of sneakers and one pair of flip-flops. That’s all. And I’ve managed to fit all that in my hand luggage. Thanks Zara on a great Holdall bag. And thanks to WMag who asked for permission and featured this image in the their magazine. I’m flattered.

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Arriving on Barcelona El-Prat airport and getting along was really easy. What was a little bit complicated was understanding the Metro lines. We looked on the map we bought on the plane (one of the billion things Ryanair staff is selling on board) but still we haven’t been quite sure what line should we take. Then we saw that the price for a Metro ticket is 2,15E and that for two euros more each one, we could get a taxi that would drive us directly to our accommodation. With our luggage in hands and the fact that we didn’t want to get lost on our first day in Barcelona, we decided for a taxi. From airport to the city center of Barcelona, Poblenou, to be precise. Eventually, the price was cca 30E. So when there’s four or five of you, taxi is definitely, if not a cheaper, then definitely a better option.

We left our luggage in our room, took a shower and went out for a dinner. TripAdvisor helped us to find a great restaurant very near our accommodation. Raco De La Vila. The review were great, price reasonable, maybe a little on a expensive side, but we were so hungry. Calamari were around 12E if I remember right. And they were great. Portions were big and before the main meal you get some baked bread with tomato and something like garlic sauce. Delicious. I asked for a drink named Crema Catalana but they didn’t have it. Crema Catalana is probably the tastiest drink ever. Even better then Baileys. Someone got me a bottle couple of years ago and so every time someone goes to Barcelona, I ask them to bring me a bottle or two. The bill for four of us, main meals + starter + drink was about 90E.

As it was getting dark already and we were tired we decided to call it a night. We’ll explore the city tomorrow.

Day 2

Getting up early and going out. Almost. We slept a little more. 11 am. Navigation was on. Thanks to Nokia Here. Hands down, the best navigation ever. Working offline. “Take us to the beach!” Right away.

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The beach in Pobleunou was beautiful and to our surprise, not crowded at all. Still there wasn’t time for sunbathing, only exploring. We left the golden sand beached and boardwalks full of palms and headed north to La Rambla, Barcelona’s main street. But before we got there, we stopped for a quick drink. Mojito on the la Barceloneta beach. You can’t miss that one. 8E. Good one.

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La Rambla is huge and packed. Literally, river of people was floating up and down. In the middle of the day. Noon. Hot as hell. After going through La Rambla and the Placa Reial, which is one of the most beautiful squares I have ever seen, we decided to find some refreshment again. Agua, Agua. Yo bebo agua. Finally.

It wasn’t really that smart to go exploring the city in the midday sun. But then if we were waiting for a late afternoon or evening, when the sun finally let go, we wouldn’t see a thing. That’s why we sat inside a bar for an hour or two, drank Sangria and enjoyed the AC. Where La Rambla finishes, Plaza de Catalunya and Rambla de Catalunya continues. We walked few meters across to the parallel street called Passeig de Gracia and continued walking along. Passeig de Gracia is beautiful street, similar to many other European cities where luxury brands had their stores. Still, what other European cities didn’t have was Gaudi’s beautiful architecture that could be seen especially on Passeig de Gracia most famous buildings; Casa Batlló, Casa Amatller, Casa Lleó Morera and Casa Milà.

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Plenty of people in front of every Casa. We admired for a while, took some pictures and headed toward another Gaudi’s masterpieces, the greatest Barcelona’s attraction – Sagrada Familia. Still unfinished but still, such a beauty, Sagrada Familia is definitely one of Barcelona’s highlights that could be seen from every corner of the city. It entered the final stage of construction and should be finished in 2026. Btw be prepared for a big crowd in front of and the big line if you plan to enter.

As the sun was going down, so was the temperature, so we could breathe again. I guess the best time of day to explore the city in Summer would be around 7pm. We headed further and arrived to the spectacular Arc de Triomf. As it was almost complete dark when we got there, we couldn’t enjoy it it’s full glory but still it was really marvelous. In the next few days, it would turn out that we’d be passing by it numerous time.

9pm. Got to our apartment. Dinner, shower and bed. Almost 30 km of walking. Exhausted and amazed. Barcelona is awesome.

Day 3

My friends have, probably because of the day before and my love for walking, proposed that we should take a hop on/off bus. At first I wasn’t crazy about the idea because I love exploring the city by foot and getting lost along the way, but as we were planning to visit some attractions outside of the center, that made sense. We took the metro that took us from our accommodation in Poblenou to the Plaza de Catalunya in couple of minutes. Plaza de Catalunya is where the hop on/off bus first station was. The price for a daily ticket, two routes (orange and green, hop on/off as much as you want) was around 28E. Tip: buy it online, you’ll get it few euros cheaper. And when in line, just show the code you’ll receive on your phone.

Hop on/off bus was on average, an okay experience. It did drive us all around the city from the morning till the late afternoon. We visited or re-visited some of the locations. In the morning we sat down in the bus as we didn’t want to get boiled in the midday sun sitting on the top. AC and Wi-Fi were a big plus. Later in the afternoon we found seating upstairs. No AC of course, just the wind in your hair and Wi-Fi somewhat stable. The downside was that the multi-lingual guide that you’re supposed to hear on your earphones that were given to you when you enter the bus, wasn’t really working like it should. Every few minutes languages were changing all by them self and as the sound was really low at the highest point, I haven’t even noticed it at first. So I was driven around while listening to English and Spanish and Italian and German guide. And then figured that it doesn’t make any sense so instead of listening and looking around, I was just looking around and checking on the internet attractions that we were passing by.

First stop that we took was Jardins de Miramar. Fantastic viewpoint. Here you can enjoy some of the best views on Barcelona and it’s port. Next stop we took was MNAC Museo Nacional de Catalunya and from there we walked to the Plaça d’Espanya. In between those two, there were Magic fountains that started to work in the evening so we didn’t enjoy it in the full glory. Next time, this is something I definitely don’t want to miss.

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Our next stop was something I really looked forward to it – Camp Nou. This is probably my favourite experience from the whole Barcelona trip. Ticket price is 23E and you get to see the stadium, you can even go down to the field, museum, player’s tunnel, commentary boxes, Champions league Trophies, all other trophies and much more. Definitely the experience worth every cent. They are also taking the pictures of you before you enter so you can buy them later in a special photo book but it turned out to be too expensive. Some 40 E. But I took so many photos on the stadium, selfies and videos that I didn’t need three more photos they took. Although the whole photo book was nice, still combining it with the ticket it’s more than 60 euros. Too pricey. After almost an hour and half or two, I left the stadium happy as a kid who just got an ice cream. The feeling you get when you first reach the field or the stands is incredible. Unfortunately while I was there, there was no matches, but that’s one more reason to come back to Barca.

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After the next half an hour/hour of driving, we got to the Plaza de Catalunya once again. From there we took the next tour, orange one, the east one that took us in a different direction to see some other attraction. But since we saw most of them, we basically took the ride back to our apartment while enjoying the sunset over Barceloneta beach on the top of the bus. Worthy experience.

Dinner. Shower. Out again. This time we took taxi to the center. From Poblenou to Plaza de Catalunya we paid some 8 euros if I remember correctly. Good choice.

We then walked to La Rambla and then to the beach. After stepping out on La Rambla we noticed that it’s a street that obviously doesn’t sleep. Immediately after we stepped on the most famous Barcelona’s street we were approached by various men trying to invite us to to this bar, that bar, trying to sell us this or that. Some ladies trying to do the same. And it was somewhat tiresome rather than relaxing night on La Rambla, trying to avoid all that. When we finally reached out to the beach, we immediately headed across the bridge to the Maremagnum centre where Cafe Del Mar was situated. Easy evening including fine lounge music, nachos, guacamole and mojitos. Mojito was ok priced, 10 euros. Nice ending of a great day.

Day 4

Considering that one of the main attractions, Park Güell, works until 21h, and the last entrance is on 19:30h we left it for the last day as no matter how much we tried previous days to get there on time, we haven’t made it. Our last day in Barcelona we decided to take it easy. Woke up a little later and first went to grab some lunch. Took the metro and we were in the city center in a few minutes. The Poblenou is a great place to stay while exploring Barcelona. There is cca 20 min walking to La Rambla and less then 10 minutes with the metro. Metro is clean, inexpensive and the trains looks new.

Having lunch on La Rambla can be an expensive option so most of the guides recommend eating outside the main street. But that doesn’t mean you cannot find some reasonable priced meal there. La Poma is a restaurant situated in the heart of La Rambla with the big window walls, so you can eat your meal and watch the lively La Rambla. How cool is that. And the people passing by can watch you eat. Which is not so cool. But I haven’t thought of it while insisting we should be seated next to the window. Anyways, book your table in advance as it might be full. Price for a combo: steak + patate + sangria = around 20E.

Lunch. Starbucks. Shopping. This is how our morning and early afternoon looked like. Later we visited two more attractions that we haven’t had time previous days. Gothic Quarter and La Boqueria. Gothic Quarter is awesome. I’m a sucker for history and it was amazing to walk around the Gothic Quarter, old buildings, great architecture and small streets. Cathedral of Barcelona, situated right in the Gothic Quarter is a must see.

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At sunset we were at the entrance of Park Güell. Haven’t even see it properly, we already understood why is it one of the most appealing attractions in Barcelona. Note that you should book your ticket in advance as the tickets are often sold out.

If you wanna see the whole park, it will took an hour and half, maybe even two. Depends on how fast do you walk and how many pictures you’ll take while walking. And there is going to be a lot of pictures as the view from the park is marvelous. You can see the whole city of Barcelona; turn left and there is Sagrada Familia; turn right and there is Barcelona Port; and in front of you is La Rambla. If you started from the entrance of Park and walked the whole circle, you’ll end up at the entrance to the monumental zone; another Gaudi’s masterpiece. Prepare for big crowds, lots of people and get ready to be annoyed by lot of people walking in front of your camera. But not a biggie, wait a little and find the perfect spot because it’s worth it. Park Güell is definitely a gem of Barca.

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On our way back, we decided we’re pizza hungry or hungry for pizza. Great thing about Barcelona is that the restaurants are working till the early morning hours or 12am at least. Perfect. We found a little Italian restaurant near our apartment called La Forchetta. Tasty pizza and bruschette and wine. And good prices. Think it’s around 10E or 12E per pizza or something like that. Recommended.

Day 5 – leaving

Sunday morning, rain is falling. Yeah, I wished. It was bloody hot even at 9am. But the worse thing is that it was our leaving day. Everyone is working the next day. Every Monday night I’m hosting a live TV show so wherever I am, Sunday is the day I have to be at home. Our plane was at 11am, and we were there by 9:30. While waiting for the plane, I went looking for the one thing I hadn’t had time to look for. Yes, the famous Crema Catalana. And I found it. Think it was 9E. Oh, happy days ahead. Drinking Crema Catalana and reminiscing of the great times I had in Barcelona. Yo soy un hombre. You bebo Crema Catalana.

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Hasta luego, Barcelona!

 

For more information visit: Turisme de Barcelona Official

 

If you need any more recommendations, drop me a line and don’t forget to subscribe.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Sanja
    September 16, 2016 / 9:15 pm

    Something missing in this text?.

    Passion! Spanish passion?

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