HOLA BARCELONA Things I Did and Things I Wish I Had Done Differently (Part 1)

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I feel so bad that I have been inactive for a month as I settled into my new life here in Spain. Settling in seems to be a never-ending process and I easily get overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here. The weather’s perfect, public transportation’s really efficient and the people are friendly but slipping into periods of self-doubt is inevitable.

I decided to take a 5-day vacation in Barcelona before I got to the hard part of getting acclimated to my new city in Andalucía. This was a smart move for me since I didn’t want to overthink about moving to another country. When I got on the plane, I was thinking to myself, it would be just another short travel adventure. 9 hours of plane travel, one layover and another 6 hours of plane travel later… I finally got to the land of siestas, bullfighting and 10 PM dinners.

I wanted a cliché first breakfast so my Spaniard lover, David and I looked for a churrería around Plaça de Catalunya but settled for a café nearby that sold churros con chocolate because I was exhausted lugging around a suitcase and carrying a heavy backpack after a long-haul flight. It was a nice and surprisingly calm start to a new adventure then we had to go back to the metro station and find our way to the AirBnB flat that we rented.

THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY:

I wish we had taken the Aerobus shuttle from the airport. Sure, we saved some euros but if you’re travelling with more than one suitcase and you don’t want to sweat like a pig carrying them up the stairs from one metro line to another, don’t cheap out and just take the Aerobus.

I wish we had more energy to find a legit churrería. Barcelona is loaded with them but take time to research which ones are the best and worth your money. I usually check TripAdvisor for the best restaurants and tips from travellers.

We booked this AirBnB flat near Parc Güell for 4 nights for 67 € per night. It’s a clean and modern flat with 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, living room and a terrace. It was also convenient getting around by bus because just outside the apartment is a stop for V17 and 92 buses.

THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY:

I wish we had booked a flat near the centre. This flat was nearly perfect except that it wasn’t convenient getting around by walking. We didn’t know that this area stands on the top of the hill and was made of steep streets.

After an obligatory afternoon siesta, we headed to Las Ramblas, a very touristy calle in Barcelona. Lots of things going on- you have your al fresco cafés and restaurants, street painters, street musicians and living statues.

THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY:

We should have visited the Erotica Museum since it was just near Las Ramblas but it was already late and seeing plaster casts of butts and genitalia wasn’t our priority for that day.

We were supposed to go to La Boquería, a famous food market in Barcelona but jetlag and 2 hours of sleep is not a good combination so we went to Barcelona port and a nearby centro comercial and ordered familiar food in Cervecería La Sureña, famous for its cheap beer buckets and tapas.

THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY:

I wish we had gone to the La Boquería to discover more of Barcelona’s gastronomic culture.

Barcelona undoubtedly has some of the most beautiful parks and gardens so Day 2 was reserved for park-hopping. Our first destination was Tibidabo Amusement Park. It’s quite far from the city center but still accessible by public transportation. We had to take a bus, the metro, a cable car and then another bus. It’s up the Tibidabo Mountain so you can see almost quite the whole city from here. We went early in the morning so the rides weren’t opened yet. However, you may roam around the park or visit this beautiful church that can be seen from all over the city.

THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY:

I wish we had visited the park at sunset or at night. The sun was too bright and I wasn’t able to get a decent photo. Also, we should have gone to Bunkers del Carmel for a better view of the city as some people suggested.

Next stop was Parc del Laberint d’Horta, just the most amazingly beautiful park I’ve ever seen. This luscious green space is the perfect spot for a chill afternoon. We bought some bocadillos from the train station and had a picnic inside the park. There were not a lot of tourists so we enjoyed a very tranquil stroll along the mazes and gardens.

THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY:

Nothing. It was perfect.

We headed to the last park in our list: Parc Güell. Good thing we put it on the last part of the day because it was so pretty exhausting to get there. We didn’t know that there was a really steep hill to ascend. Sure there were outdoor escalators but not all the way. David was actually pushing me up so I could go on but still, I wish there was a more convenient way for lazy farts like me.

Surprisingly, I didn’t give up and got to the top. The view from up here was actually better than the one from Tibidabo.

It’s free to get to the main park but there was a section which wasn’t. We didn’t check the prices because we’re cheapskates and just explored the other parts of the park.

We got lured in by the music of street musicians and came across these stone pillars. Their music was pretty good, a bit twee, and they played songs of different languages.

THINGS I WISH I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY:

The Greek Square or the mosaic terraces was something I wanted to see up close (for the love of Meteor Garden 2). I wish I at least asked how much was the entrance fee.

By Day 2, my feet were already sore due to massive amounts of walking, sightseeing and covering a lot of ground but so I was so happy that I was finally on the trip that once was only a dream.

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