Location // Barcelona, Spain
Length of stay // 4 days
Travel companions // Jorge
Purpose of trip // Long weekend city break
“Allow me to state here how much I love Barcelona , an admirable city, a city full of life, intense, a port open to the past and future.” – Le Corbusier
We burst through the clouds over London into a Crayola sunset sky, deep amber, gold and pink ripples through a sea of midnight blue.
And that about set the tone.
The next four or so days in Barcelona were definitely colourful and definitely relaxing.
(Note that the photos throughout this post don’t necessarily correspond to the words directly above or below them. They are pretty random, as you’ve probably already noticed!)
In the mornings, the kettle would boil and Jorge and I would bring steaming mugs of tea out to the balcony.
We’d sit for a while, watching the business of the day unfold in the narrow streets below.
They were slow mornings, beautifully lazy mornings, sun pouring through the railings.
People stood in groups around doorways, smoking the first cigarette of the day.
There were men pushing carts piled with boxes, women walking dogs, birds fluttering their wings along the clay coloured Spanish rooftops.
There were some stunning flowers I’ve never seen before.
Once we’d finished our tea, we’d make our way down to the edge of Plaza de la Vila de Gracia for breakfast.
Coming from cloudy grey London, it was amazing to be soaking up the early sunshine.
Most mornings it was pan tumaca, crusty bread with olive oil drizzled on top, rubbed with ripe tomato, a bit of garlic and sometimes toastie style with ham and cheese.
We could sit there for hours, talking or not talking.
It didn’t matter.
We did nothing touristy.
Well, apart from a 10 minute stroll up Las Ramblas, looked around the colourful Boqueria Market and stopped at Happy Pills if those things count.
We just soaked it all in.
I didn’t see Palau Guell or Sagrada Familia or climb up Montjuïic or watch any flamenco dancing.
Sometimes when you travel, there’s a to do list, a tick list of museums and attractions, but you don’t get a real feel for the city and what it could be like to live there.
This time, though briefly, I did.
It was simply four days of enjoying life.
No internet. No phone. No work.
Knowing people who lived there (and had lived there) definitely helped!
The afternoons we spent with friends mostly.
We wandered along the beach with the pretty palm trees, twisting through the narrow alleyways of El Gotic or El Raval.
Beautiful buildings with tremendous amounts of detail.
We watched swing dancers in the square and Castellers building a giant human castle.
One day we both got our hair cut – mundane, but I enjoyed it!
I kept an eye open for street art, of course.
There were quite a few C215 pieces and some from Alice.
There are many others as well not posted here.
And there was shopping. Jorge’s friend Virginie runs a boutique called Mushi Mushi.
I bought a blue skirt by French designer Jad and a blue and orange dress by Sessùn, both of which Mushi Mushi stocks. Later, I bought red strappy heels from Uterque that still smell like leather.
The food we had on this trip was delicious, from Spanish tapas to Japanese, Italian and Nepalese restaurants.
Evenings sometimes wound down with a few bottles of wine and an entire fuet sausage shared between a few of us.
Jorge lived in Barcelona for a few years so I was introduced to plenty of new people who were all lovely and mostly multi-lingual people who lead interesting lives in this vibrant city.
There were mojitos, long nights in bars, late mornings.
A couple days I went off my myself to take pictures and walk through random shops.
I quickly learned to look up as much as possible.
If you don’t you miss so much of the architectural details, and there are plenty to be seen.
One of my favourite things to do when I travel is just to observe the local people going about their daily activities.
Some up to dodgier activities than others.
I always go to markets.
They are full of hustle and bustle and bartering and often locals more than tourists depending on the city and market.
They are incredibly colourful.
There are always a few tasty treats to bring home.
And they make for some vibrant photos.
But besides meeting Jorge’s friends, having breakfast in the sun and just relaxing, the best part of the Barcelona I had the chance to see was a mix between the street art and the buildings.
I was content to walk for hours, getting as lost as possible.
There was always the possibility of simply hopping in a cab to find my way back.
After only four days in the city, it’s definitely a place I will find my way back to because there is a lot more to explore.
If you have any Barcelona tips or recommendations to share, let me know in the comments.