Ty's been in London for the past three weeks and it's been so nice having my husband around. He wasn't here for my birthday this year (a first for us) and as I didn't know what I wanted as a present, he decided to surprise me with a holiday while he was here.
Much to my delight he chose Barcelona as the destination. I'd been wanting to go for ages but had written it off because he'd already been before we met. Although it's always fun to discover a new place together, sometimes revisiting an old favourite can be just as sweet. (Clearly he thought so anyway!)
Ty found a this cool loft apartment on AirBnB for us to stay in. It was modern, yet rustic with it's original shutters and exposed brick wall and was right in the centre of the Gothic Quarter. I love staying in places like this rather than hotels, especially when you're visiting a city that has a lot of culture and history. There's nothing quite like experiencing it all like a local.
As BCN is such a popular destination we weren't short of recommendations on where to go while we were there. As Ty had already been too, he knew where all of the hot spots were and on our first night we headed straight to Port Olímpic. As I'm not a huge fan of the clubs we avoided those in favour of the tented hookah bars. We both loved the chilled vibe there so we returned most nights to smoke and have a few drinks.
I'm such a water baby so I was looking forward to getting in the sea and sunbathing for a while but it turned out that the beaches were very packed as it was the weekend and the weather was so great. The water was actually pretty cold too so we sand surfed for a few hours on our second afternoon then spent the rest of the trip wandering the city, catching the sun as we walked.
We did all of our sightseeing on one day, getting passes for the red tourist bus and travelling around to all of the places we wanted to see. As they're hop-on hop-off, the buses are so convenient and probably the most cost effective way to get around. We'd been taking taxis up until that point and although they're not that expensive, the bus was a better option.
The cathedrals there are beautiful and of course, Gaudi's work is amazing to see in real life. We didn't go inside the Sagrada Familia but it's amazing to look at just from the outside, even with the scaffolding from the ongoing construction. Gaudi's style really transcends time because still it looks so modern in how strikingly different it is. Such talent.
Other than sightseeing, one of the most important things for us was the food. We tried out a lot of different restaurants and although we enjoyed them all, our favourite by far was a little place called Can Dendê. It's a little bit away from the centre of Barcelona and although it's accessible on the underground we took a cab there on our last day for some brunch. It was well worth it and was nice to have something a bit different after all of the tapas and seafood.
A place I really enjoyed visiting was the Boqueria Market. I love food markets anyway and this one was so vibrant with it's vivid colours and smells. I had a strawberry and coconut smoothie (that I'm still thinking about now) and if I come back to Barcelona I've made a note to sample some of the cured meats and fresh fruit they had on offer. It all looked very tasty.
We managed to take a trip on the underground on our last day and got the train back to the airport as we had some time to kill. It's probably one of the better ways to get around the city but I do like to be above ground when I'm abroad otherwise you miss all of the sights and the feel of the place. For that reason I'm glad we got taxis and walked around as we got to know our surroundings. The tourist bus really is cost effective though and I'd recommend getting a 2-day pass and using it as your main mode of transport.
It was so great to get away from the reality of life for a few days and to spend some alone time with Ty as we haven't had that for a long while. The only thing I really missed was my little fur baby who was on a holiday of her own, by the sea with my godparents. I think she missed us but she was being spoiled rotten so it was hard to tell!