Will and I visited Barcelona years ago after a brief study abroad program in college. We were young, inexperienced travelers, yet somehow survived a 1.5 month trip through Europe without the likes of internet and smart phones.
This still amazes us in so many ways.
That visit to Barcelona also involved me getting a massive case of food poisoning the very first night after drinking a liter of sangria and trying out the seafood paella specialty (Will had the chicken paella and was just fine). I was stuck in the room for the rest of the time minus a very short excursion to see the Sagrada Familia before moving on to Germany.
We never felt like we got to really see the city, so we decided to go back and try again.
We stayed in a nice Airbnb apartment located just a block or so off of La Rambla, and managed to avoid sickness the entire time allowing us to see all the ins and outs of the city.
I loved the beautiful little alleyways, with their perfectly romantic balconies.
And I loved that each corner we turned opened up to another part of town that felt like our own little secret.
And of course there was the market.
While I was sick during our previous trip, Will ventured out one day and came back gushing about this amazing open air market he had found. I was glad to finally see it with my own eyes this time.
We loved the beautiful beaches, and spent an afternoon relaxing by the ocean. Although it turned out the beach we had chosen was actually a nude beach. This shot was a little tough to get in trying to leave out anything that would require me to slap an R rating on this blog 🙂
We loved following along with one of Rick Steve’s (our now hero) walking tours and learning a bit more about Gaudi and his seemingly never-ending vision for the Sagrada Familia.
And we loved visiting Gaudi’s Park Guell, climbing to the top to overlook the city…
and marveling at his oddly fantastic buildings and creations.
Including his famous dragon.
What we didn’t love…was tapas. We know it’s the specialty of Spain, and the love of visitors near and far, but for us it was nothing but a source of frustration. We knew we weren’t big fans of tapas before arriving, but “when in Spain” we decided to give it another go and tried out one of the top recommended restaurants. Four dishes, a couple of glasses of wine, and nearly $100 later our stomachs were still growling and we weren’t the least bit satisfied. This is almost always the case for us when eating tapas. Little plates basically still priced the same as big plates, with only about 2-3 bites a piece just means less food and more money in our eyes.
The bad news is, Barcelona has almost exclusively tapas restaurants as we learned. We spent literal hours trying to find non-tapas restaurants the next few nights to no avail. One night we got so aggravated after having walked and fought over where to eat for nearly 2 hours, we ended up stopping at a chinese street food place.
In many ways food makes or breaks a place for us. We remember places often by the remarkable meals we had there, or vice versa the awful dining experiences we had. Barcelona definitely fell into the latter for us. I’m glad we got to go back and really see this city this time, but I think it’s safe to say it is now checked off our list, and I don’t anticipate going back again…unless of course the Sagrada Familia is finally completed, because that will be a sight to see!