Can you believe 2018 is almost over?! I don’t know about you, but due to my other line of work, it’s currently my Christmas! And I’ll be glad when it’s all over next week!!! (and for those inquisitive minds who are wondering what I’m talking about, it’s the annual, classic Christmas light switch on!). So when you’re all getting ready to start celebrating Christmas, I’m silently glad it’s “officially” over!!
Moving on! Thanks as always for your votes. It was a close one between Venice and Barcelona but Barcelona won. And I’m pretty glad about that one as there’s a story to tell!
So, February earlier this year we visited Barcelona. Why? Because we thought it’s about time to visit a relatively big and local destination (Spain) that we hadn’t done together before. Hubby chose the location, so; not being the one to have chosen it, I didn’t have any expectations. However, I soon learned this was a good thing, as it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
The start of the journey was slightly tricky. Have you ever missed a flight before? I never have (until Barcelona). Tina never misses flights. I was mortified! We got to the airport on time but being so busy at work, I had it in my head we had more time, so here we were, shopping for Kurt Keiger shoes! After getting to the gate with no one there, we quickly sucked it up, laughed it off, bought another flight out (thankfully it was a popular location so didn’t have to wait too long), got some champagne going, and plonked a smile on my face for the pretty shoes I’d bought anyway! Safe to say, when we arrived in Barcelona, having missed our transfer also, so having to sort another lot out, arriving at the hotel later than expected, we crashed for a nap on arrival, and boy was that refreshing. 3 hours later (can you call that a nap?!), we were rested and ready to get strolling the streets and find a nice dinner spot.
I hate delving straight in to what you can do, but needs must (but I’m sure you can see my passion when I talk about Barcelona):
1. Catch the hop on hop off. I’m sure you’ve realised by now this is my most favourite way of getting around a city. You can see all the key spots and stay as long or as little as you want in any of the locations. And there is lots to see in Barcelona. Including the toilet at their mall. Hubby was highly impressed!
2. Visit Sagrada Familia. An absolute must. A Roman Catholic Church designed by the famous architect, Gaudi. The detail and contrast (one side quite beautiful and the other more gothic) was absolutely breathtaking. The church is due for completion in 2026. Hubby & I have it in our diaries to go back then to visit the inside!
3. Stroll through Placa Catalunya, a large square considered to be the city centre. Lots of activity going on, and you can also catch the hop on hop off from here
4. Visit the beach. Yep, you heard right. This city also has a beach. You can chill and relax even though the rest of the city is hustling and bustling
5. Get a tour to Montserrat. Highly recommended. “Montesserat”, meaning “the sated mountain”. It is the spiritual heart of Catalonia as here is where the Black Madonna was found, in 880 (found in a rock by shepherds, that a bright light led them to. For any Christians, does that sound familiar?!)
Montserrat became a mini pilgrimage to see the black lady of Montserrat (Black Madonna). However, legend holds that the statue at Montserrat is only 800 yrs old. Needless to say, in other churches, you may find a replica of Black Madonna in honour.
If you’re lucky, you might hear the sweet sounds of the famous choir boys of Montserrat whilst there.
If we’re getting you excited yet about Barcelona, another date for your diaries is
2025, which celebrates 1000 years of Montserrat. Now that will be awesome!
Fun fact: Gaudi liked to hike at Montserrat
6. The ladder of knowledge (or stairway to heaven) can also be found at Montserrat. I’m guessing some dare devils used to climb it, so had barriers when we were there (probably a good thing as I can imagine hubby would have tried to be one of those daredevils too!)
7. For the shopaholics, visit Diagonal street -the second longest street in Barcelona known for shopping (approximately 10 – 12km)
8. Visit Tibidabo – beautiful views, with an amusement park and the stunning temple of the Sacred Heart
10. For anyone visiting for a special occasion, I highly recommend dining at Indochine Ly Leap. Fantastic food, comfortable atmosphere, and even more beautiful as you are sat surrounded by fishes (I so want to go back just for this! Foodie problems!). For more local cuisines, be sure to try Paella. It’s an acquired taste (and not one that hubby & I like, but when in Rome….)
After learning the history to Barcelona, it was then no surprise why we loved it so much, as Barcelona is the industrial backbone of Spain. There was so much more here to see and do, for families, singles and couples. It had everything for everyone. Hubby and I will definitely be back here once children come so we can take them back to the top of Tibidabo for the amusement park, visit the museums, aquariums, etc.
I honestly want to continue this blog but I think that’s more than enough to raise your interest in this architecturally beautiful city. For the fun vido (you’ll see the beautiful restaurant of Indochine Ly Leap, Montserrat, trying Paella, and more), visit: https://youtu.be/rgNKPr6oVRY
Keep an eye on @justAsktina_travels as we visit Taipei, Macau and Hong Kong later this month
Bye for now travellers! 🙂