I can’t believe it! A month since my adventure has passed already, and here we are at the last of the train diaries (and sorry it is a day late!)! My final stop was of course the wonderful Barcelona, where I arrived to beautiful sunshine and a stunning Miss Sophie, can you tell how happy I am to have some company?
I’d had a really early start that Friday morning, I wanted to get as many hours in Barcelona as I could (and by hours, I mean jugs of sangria) and I managed to make it to Plaza del Catalunya for lunchtime. We’d found the PERFECT apartment on Air BnB located just off Las Ramblas. Unlike in Valence, this flat is solely rented out to holiday makers and visitors to the city, so while there was no cosy chat with the host, it was really lovely to be around people from all over, including Belgium and Switzerland and erm… London. Plus our room was DEAD CHEAP, granted it was more of a cupboard than a room, but if all you need is somewhere to leave your stuff and sleep, then why bother spending any more? This is the flat we stayed in, and if you look there are actually bigger rooms available.
The rest of the day were all about soaking up the sunshine, catching up (aka: me unloading all the words I had stored over the last 7 days on to Sophie) and drinking Sangria on the beach before heading out that night for some tapas, a wander around the squares and a relatively early night, ready to be a tourist NINJA the next day.
And of course, all good ninjas need a good breakfast, so we headed to the markets, and part of me died with happiness…
Freshly baked pastries, fruit salad and a mango and cocconut juice that I am still drooling over. The markets off Las Ramblas are what dreams are made of, they make you want to leave the UK, set up home in a bohemian Barcelona flat, and by fresh STUFF every day from the market. Stuff which of course you carry back to your flat in an adorable wicker basket. In all honesty I’m still contemplating the viability of that as a life plan.
When Sophie finally managed to drag me away from the markets, we made our way across town to La Sagrada Familia. And this is when I first realised: Barcelona is not small. Barcelona is HUGE. Luckily it is also dotted with wonderful Gaudi buildings and what have you, so Barcelona by foot is worth seeing. just don’t expect to be able to see it all by foot, because if it is humid and sticky and you get a little lost, you will get moody, and that is just a fact of tourist life.
My number one recommendation for you would be to book your tickets for the La Sagrada Familia in advance. When you arrive there is a que around the block, and chances are even once you get to the front of that que, you will still have to wait for an hour or so before your admittance time. It is pretty simple to do online, and you can even do it on your phone whilst your in the que, if like us you didn’t plan ahead.
Tickets secured and a few hours to spare we decided to head up to Park Guell, and this is when we should have given our feet a rest, because Park Guell is at least an hour a way from La Sagrada (at least – meaning if you don’t get lost) and it is up hill. Repeat after me ‘Barcelona has a Metro.’ However, despite getting sticky and irritable a picnic in the park was still a delicious way to have lunch. We didn’t pay the 7 euros to go and sit on the bench, mainly because as already mentioned we were irritable and then we got on our high horses about how it was a public space and that that isn’t what Gaudi would have wanted, oh, and there was another que. Ticket to sit on the bench or not, the park is still gorgeous, buskers hidden in secluded caves and views across the city, I would definitely recommend visiting the park, particularly if you’re blessed with a beautiful clear day.
Having climbed down from our high horse and filled our bellies with bread and olives (which, will come as no suprise, having been fed I was much less irritable) we then wandered back to La Sagrada Familia. If you have read my other train diaries, you will know I saw more than my fair share of European Cathedrals, but well, that Gaudi, he certainly broke the mould didn’t he!
And you’ll also note: that this was one tourist attraction that I actually managed to go inside of! Although my luck hadn’t completely changed as the towers were shut due to bad weather. I’m not going to try and describe the church to you. It’s beautiful, awe inspiring and more than a little insane.
We dragged our tired and weary tourist feet back to our flat, whipped up a little pasta and cracked open several more bottles of Sangria. With the floor to celing windows thrown open and a little music we rested up (drank) before heading out to see Barcelona in a different light (ie. no light/through squiffy eyes). We weren’t really sure where to go, so a quick look on Google Maps ‘suggestions’ feature directed us to El Bosc de les Fades, which I described on Instagram as disney land for grown ups.
A magical enchanted forest and reasonably priced drinks just of Las Ramblas (sorry about my super vague directions – basically everything in my head is ‘just off las ramblas’) I would definitely recommend starting your night here! We got chatting to some Americans studying in Barcelona, and I felt the envy sweep in as it suddenly dawned on me, this was the last night of my adventure. And well you have to make last nights, last, don’t you? So we headed to another cocktail bar, one we found entirely by accident, ull of locals where the pina coladas were only 4 euros, got chatting to a group and before we knew it we were swept into a club behind velvet curtains (not as dodgy as it sounds or looked) and danced to 70s hits until 5 in the morning!
Sunday morning came along (I refuse to say the morning begins until after I have slept) and we were two very glum little travellers. The end of a holiday does that to you doesn’t it? We sat taking the city in, eating brunch at an amazing Vegetarian restaurant, lost in thoughts of the life we were returning to.
And I realised how lucky I was to not only have been on this amazing trip but to be able to go home to a life that I liked. This year has been all about becoming the person I want to be, and it really felt like 10 days travelling in Europe showed me that that is exactly what I have managed to do. I’m in no way a completed project. I still have so many goals that I am working towards, and I doubt that list will ever really get any smaller. It is just in my nature, but now more than I have ever been before, I am well equipped to tackle the mountains I decide I must climb. And that’s it, the great conclusion of the train diaries. Not quite Eat, Prey, Love and not a giant quest of self discovery, but on some level it was one of self realisation. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my wee jaunt I can’t wait for the next one!
Live life & go on the adventures you feel you must x