We arrived here after a long bus ride from Pau and we were exhausted, but we needed to explore because we arrived in the morning. The first sight that we saw when we arrived was the Spanish Arc de Triomf. After a series of pictures, we decided to have breakfast at pannus and the pastries were delicious. I had one filled with spinach and cheese and another one that had ham and cheese. It was very satisfying, and we met other friendly tourists. We decided to drop our luggage in a storage area where you can pay to keep your luggage and explore the city. We walked around and just absorbed everything with no destination in mind. Then we decided that we needed a plan so we joined a free walking tour.
With our average navigation skills, we finally found the meeting point which was Piazza del Popolo. We were using Runner Bean Tours for the walking tour and decided on their Gothic Quarter package because there were less people on that tour. The tour of Gaudi’s works had the most people but we did that part by ourselves much later. A leisurely stroll to unearth the secrets behind the stones of the medieval quarter. From Romans and saints to warriors and kings, this mix of imposing basilicas, charming squares and narrow streets.
We started at Plaça Reial which is certainly one of the most picturesque squares in Barcelona. We saw Plaça Del Pi next which is a beautiful square in the middle of the Gothic Quarter with the XIV century Santa María del Pi church and some of the most beautiful sgrafittos in the city. Then we saw the Jewish Quarter (“El Call”) where we walked through narrow passages and past ancient houses following the hidden clues to find out what happened to the thriving Jewish community.
The last places were the Plaça Sant Jaume which has been the centre of political life in the City for over 2,000 years and the Barcelona Cathedral. We had a lovely time hearing about the history and current state of the country. We were in a group of 4 so we had the opportunity to act out scenarios that happened in the eras of kings and learned about the Giants and Big head festivals. The tour guide weaved stories of love, war and thrill while taking us through the places. It really felt like I took a trip to the past and I loved every minute of it.
It was interesting to find that Roman heritage is all over Barcelona, its impressive city wall appeared in the strangest of places and its influence was all over Barcelona. We also learned about the giants parade and the stories behind that.
It was the middle of the tour and it had started to rain. It was that type of rain that caused a standstill too heavy for an umbrella, so we had to stop the tour and decided to have empanadas at La Fabrica instead. We had fun talking to the tour guide and she gave us a lot of tips on what to eat in Barcelona. When the rain stopped, we decided to go to our Airbnb which was in Badalona (a nearby city). We were lucky to see a bus that goes directly there, and we started to search for the place. It was already late so it was a little scary, but we called the host and finally found the place atop a small hill. She was an amazing host and you can use my code https://abnb.me/e/Zz1ZdeHTv6 for $55 off your first booking.
This was also the cleanest Airbnb that I’ve been in. She made us feel at home and even gave us breakfast. Based on her recommendation we were able to go to the beach in Badalona which is less crowded and enjoy Tapas and Sangrias. On the way to the beach I got a croissant which is strange because I just left France not too long ago but it was delicious, no regrets. We stayed and watched the sunset at the beach. It was all very serene and everyone seemed to be relaxed.
While we ordered Sangrias, we met a young girl that spoke fluent English and was going to China for school in September. She was so nice and even sang happy birthday to our friend in London who couldn’t make the trip. It was beautiful.
We also decided to visit Parc De La Ciutadella in Barcelona where there is a fountain that was beyond our imagination. It was erected by Josep Fontsére and to a small extent by Antoni Gaudí, who at that time was still an unknown student of architecture. Zee was able to get souvenirs at the top of the fountain.
We had our personal Gaudi tour and it was amazing. I love seeing architecture with unique designs, they are art. Many buildings there were designed by him and we saw the Sagradia Familia, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila. Afterwards we had dinner at Foro. There I had Gnocchi with arrabiata sauce and Zee had meat ravioli with marinara sauce. It was delicious and thinking water was free, I kept ordering a refill and the the waiter was smiling while bringing it. When I saw the final bill I understood why, it was £1.50 for each refill but now I know sometimes you just have to experience it. All in all it was an incredible experience and I’m grateful for it. This was before the pandemic and I hope everyone reading this and their families are safe are healthy.