That Time I Fell In Love With a Little City Named Barcelona!

So yet another person whose fallen in love with the Gaudi infused gem of the Med…

It’s not a huge shock is it? I mean most travel bloggers that seem to visit BCN seem to fall under the same spell. Posts in particular about Gaudi’s wonderful works can be found all over, and with good reason. But it’s the pool of creativity that the whole city seems to float in that’s probably captured my heart, and I’m determined to make it my home in the future.

So how did this come about? My first – brief – taste of BCN came during me and my friend Tiny’s eventful Euro Road Trip in late 2008 (I’ll post about this in future). After 6 days on the road – and skimming past Barcelona during rush hour – Tiny’s trusty Transporter decided to give up the ghost in Mataro, about 30km along the coast. After A LOT of phonecalls to our insurance company, we were set with a pretty lush NH Hotel in Mataro to await the repair of the van. And with Barcelona being a short RENFE Rodalies regional train journey, it was time to get exploring!

A festive first sighting…

Christmas in Catalunya! Well it was the beginning of December anyhow, and as somewhere I’d always wanted to visit, I really was in a winter wonderland. Arriving at Plaça Catalunya we took the chance to explore the plaça and it’s surroundings. It was good to see El Corte Inglés making a particular effort at Christmas time.

El Corte Inglés getting in the festive spirit

We took the time to explore and shop, and of course wander Las Ramblas several times. Despite this being my first experience of the tourist trap that Las Ramblas can be, I already knew to avoid the “three cup” game and other similar scams. But of course I still couldn’t help myself by looking at some of the more bizarre “statues” that happened to be about.

I also discovered how much I loved the Rambla de Mar, crossing over to the MareMagnum shopping mall. Sitting there by the water, with the view of Montjuïc turned out to just be bliss for me. And even despite the fact it’s always packed with people – and in my experiences, people asking you to take a photo of them – it turned into one of my favourite places in the world right from that very first visit.

Oh and we also happened to stumble across the new Nike store opening on Passeig de Gracia. Always nice to see these guys make an appearance…

Fancy seeing you guys here…

However… We only got to spend two day trips in BCN in that week we were stranded in Catalunya. And only really skimmed the surface, as we didn’t really make it out of the area from Passeig de Gracia down to Port Vell. And this would eat away at me for the next 12 months…

Flying solo…

So in February 2010 I had a bit of time off, and the idea in my head was hatched. Despite obvious hesitations due to never travelling alone before, it wasn’t long before flights were booked with Easyjet, and soon I was landing back in the Catalan capital alone! And what a decision it turned out to be.

Hello again heaven!

Basing myself at Hello BCN Hostel just off Avinguda Paral·lel, I had 5 incredible days of exploring and partying. I was lucky enough to meet Sam and Kenny from Australia on my first night, and thanks to these guys we had an awesome crowd with which to wile away each night. Represented by England, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Namibia and elsewhere, those nights ruled. Now I’m not a clubber by any means, but when in Rome BCN and with free entry offered by your hostel, it’s safe to say I was gonna make the most of it. Culminating in a memorable (well, mostly…) Saturday in L’Ovella Negra and Razzmatazz, it was 5 days of heavy drinking, partying and trying not to wake up my Polish roommates at 4/5/6am!

Of course, you’ll think “well of course you loved Barcelona if you went out and partied every night”. But away from the party side I spent each day wandering alone, and taking the opportunity to snap away at everything I could possibly find. From walking all the way up Montjuïc (yep, all the way), strolling down the backstreets of la Ribera and el Born, exploring museums such as the CaixaForum and snacking in la Boqueria, I covered every inch of the city I could. I walked. I strolled. I took the Metro to random stops. I snapped everything. I ate. I watched a game at the Camp Nou (even though I’m a Valencia fan). And fell in love with it.

And I’m just the greatest dancer…

Addicted…

You might think that it was just the adrenaline rush of my first solo trip and great group of people I stumbled across that made this so special. But I’ve been back both years since to BCN, firstly just taking a couple of nights there after Las Fallas in March 2011, and then a proper stay of 5 nights again in August this year. Everytime I find something new, and everytime I’m happy to admit I’ve almost got emotional when it’s been time to leave. And those two trips were done without the excessive partying of my first trip. I plan to make BCN home at some time in the future, and although the state of Spain in general makes that a long way off for now, I’m determined to make it a reality…

I’ll do a photo essay soon to put across more of the reasons I’m captivated by this gem of a city. As usual, I can’t wait to get back there!

Have you ever fallen in love with a place like I have Barcelona? Have you even managed to settle in your dream place?

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2 responses to “That Time I Fell In Love With a Little City Named Barcelona!

  1. Pingback: 2012 Top Awesome Travel Destinations by Travel Bloggers « Journeys and Travels·

  2. Pingback: That Time I Took a Bow – The Liebster Blogging Award | That Time In·

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