I have always been very strict with myself about my blog, making sure I pretty much only write about things to do in London. But after several trips away, I have decided to allow myself the occasional post about foreign cities, partly because I want to write about my fun experiences, but also because I think it could help others and be a sort of mini guide.
So, most recently I went to Barcelona. I’ve never been to Spain before, surprisingly, and I always love ticking off another country on my ‘to do’ travelling list, so was very excited about this visit. Long weekends away are the way forward, a welcome break from work and a refreshing time-out from everyday London life. I am going to try and do them more, even if it is just for one night.
We were staying in the luxurious five star Miramar Hotel, and got a very reasonable deal thanks to my work part-owning the establishment. I could easily have not left the building for the three days happy to gorge myself on the extensive breakfasts, use the wonderful gym and spa facilities and generally just hang out in the beautiful bedroom. The weather wasn’t perfect with quite a bit of rain and I considered sunbathing in bikini and wellies, but eventually decided against the idea.
We were in Barcelona for three nights, and I was pleased to find this was enough time to see rather a lot of the city. After a lazy first night, trying out the room service and pressing all the exciting buttons in the bedroom, we set off for a fun-packed first day which we completed with a visit to the Liceu Opera House (how could I resist seeing Carmen in Spain!).
– * Go to The Picasso Museum: a massive collection of this master’s work from his very early paintings to late ceramics, and everything in between. About 9 Euros entrance, give yourself a good hour to look round.
– * The stunning Cathedral is definitely worth the five Euro entrance fee. The biggest Cathedral I’ve ever been to, I felt drowned in its splendour. You can even take a little lift up to see the views from the roof.
– * Walk up The Ramblas and marvel at the street performers, some freakish, some quite beautiful. They definitely give the Covent Garden clowns a run for their money.
– * The best tapas can be found at Cerveceria Catalana on C/ Mallorca – go early, they are always full (even in October it was tricky to get a table). It’s not cheap, but they have an excellent selection of tapas on offer and a huge variety of beer. Very yummy.
– * Attempt the metro: it is super cheap (just over one Euro a journey) and very efficient. We saved a fortune using it, rather than taxis.
– * Make your way down to the seaside, book a table at Agua (very popular, very good fish restaurant) and then go for an after supper stroll on the beach, the perfect evening in all seasons.
– * Try and see some Gaudi architecture (see image above), but avoid the hideous touristy crowds (Park Guell has some of the best examples of his work, but tends to be completely overcrowded and therefore offputting).
– * Wander the streets aimlessly and see what you find, be sure to stop at the stalls of handmade goodies, perfect for presents or little Barcelona souvenirs.
Our stay came and went in a flash, and before I could say ‘sangria’ we were back on our Easyjet flight to Gatwick.