9/06/2013

HOLIDAY PT1: BARCELONA DIARY




So we went, to Valencia and Barcelona - the perfect summer getaway. I already knew I love Spain (been to Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga before.. not to mention the islands), but Valencia was a first for me - as was Barcelona in the company of the boyfriend. It is of this last one that I put together a diary (to begin with) - we spend an amazing three days in this beautiful city, and I sure believe its highlights are worth sharing. Enjoy! X

The sightseeing
As it was the boyfriends' first time in Barca, we did the no.1 sightseeing activity: Parc Guëll. And with help of Red Reiding Hood, we took the backdoor entrance while enjoying some amazing views (picture above!) and local friendliness (route is found here). Although it is a major tourist attraction (which both the boyfriend and I are generally not too fond of..), it was a great morning - the Parc is simply too widespread to feel overwelmed by all the people and buzz. The art is beautiful as well - be sure not to miss this one on your trip to Barca! 


While walking to Parc Guëll





The Parc .. crowded but beautiful!


Next to Parc Guell, we just wandered around the city - we only had three days there and didn't want to fall into a hectic schedule. And honestly, there's enough to see even by doing just that. Our favourite areas were Ciutat Vella (just next to the Ramblas, but way more quiet, affordable and friendly!), El Barri Gotic (the gothic area, where the picture below was taken and where we had great burgers at La Castanya, yum!) and Balmes (which has loads of nice places to drink and dine). 





The beach



Barcelona indeed has a city beach - and it's a long one. Starting off right at the Olympic Village, it goes all the way to the end of the Av. Diagonal. Last year I was in Barca as well, at which point I went to the most distant part of the beach (perceived from the city centre); this year I went to the part closest to it.. honestly, both were great (I've also seen the beaches of Malaga and Valencia and was more fond of this one..!) - but if you're not a fan of large crowds, take the metro to El Maresme Forum and enjoy some more quiet times (but take your own food and drinks, as there are not too much beachbars and etc. here). The beach near the Olympic Village is more crowded and carries more facilities for this crowd (naturally) - however, I was suprised by the relaxed atmosphere, not too many tourists nor suspicous looking people .. we had a really good time!


The shops
Oh, the (range of) shops were just as great as the rest of the city - think Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear, Bershka, Blanco, Mango, Springfield, etc. I kept myself in order, as Barcelona wasn't the last destination of our trip and I didn't feel like dragging new purchases into trains and all, ánd I planned to go shopping in Valencia after... but two shops weren't to be missed. First, & Other Stories: oh my. That store itself is as beautiful as the items in there - and their AW2013 collection is amazing. I took some items home, and even got a spontaneous gift from the boyfriend in addition - a beautiful and lovely surprise. Next I went to Topshop, which was the shop disappointment of the month: none of the items I found online were available in the shop, which itself was quite chaotic and messy .. too bad. Nevertheless, this will contribute to the motivation for a trip to London later this year (which I'm planning on talking the boyfriend into..). All purchases will be shown in a later post, so stay tuned! 

The hotel
We stayed in the SOHO hotel, located at the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes - a great pick! Located 5 min from the Ramblas and Placa de Catalunya, we were at the heart of the city while also enjoying some quiet time in our room or on the rooftop terrace (which includes a little swimmingpool/ jacuzzi thing as well!). And also important (particularly when travelling with a male person) - the breakfast was to great satisfaction of the boyfriend. Pictures of our room are found below - including a little sneak peek of one of my (many) purchases!



The city
It goes beyond say that this is one of my favourite cities in the world - because it has everything. That being said, cities like these indeed have everything, including their rough edges - whether it are marihuana dealing or pickpocket issues or who knows what else, not every corner of this city is equally safe and beautiful. If you keep that in mind, and keep an eye on your stuff (not just when you're strolling around the Ramblas though!), you won't be bothered and will have all the opportunities to enjoy this beauty of a city!



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