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Travel Diaries| Hola Barcelona

In September, I went off to Barcelona with the hubby. We had an early morning flight and 4 hours later we were in Spain. We napped for a few hours and then headed out. It so happened it was a public holiday and Barcelona was celebrating their Patron Saint in the La Merce Festival. While shops away from the city centre were closed, everything in the centre were open. Their public transport ran like clockwork.

We arrived in "La Rambla" and the parade was happening. It was so busy, and there were people everywhere.

This place is really alive and especially at night. Expect lots of tourists and lots of restaurants have seats on the road. Also found here; really creative and super talented street performers.

This guy really freaked me out but he was super popular with the crowd.

We walked the length, and got familiar with the place and then we popped over on the metro to go eat at a halal place (Lal Qila) we found online.

I asked if I could have chips and the waiter said, are you from England. We are so predictable.

We also went to Mount Tibidaboo; had to take a train, a bus (you can take a tram in the summer months), and a funicular train to get to the top. There's a church plus an amusement park. I being the stubborn person I am insisted we buy tickets to get on a couple of rides (you can buy it with your funicular train) and the amusement park turn out to be a waste. We were struggling to find 2 rides to go on to use up the tickets. Don't bother. The views were spectacular though. How to get there: Take the train from Plaza Catalunya Metro (L7, brown line), get off at Avenida Tibidabo. Leave the station and you can take the tram/bus (from opposite the station) up to halfway to the mountain. There you catch the funicular to the top. Funicular fare is seperate. 

Funicular train; there's 2 of these, as one goes up, one comes down.

The train ride up

The views were pretty great. 

While Tibidabo is a nice concept it doesn't really deliver, the theme park is pants. There are better rides at the pop up fun fares.

Some cats we ran into, there was 26 of them behind that wall. I counted....

We used one of our tickets on this plane, it goes around in a circle so half of the journey is over the mountain but you can't see it so it kinda defies the point...

I really like churces, there's something very "haunting" about them that I like

The ride down 


I packed really well (a first for me), I had taken  4 tops, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of shoes. I need to do a short trip packing post.

I'm missing my red hair now :'( It's a bit darker at the moment , and 6 inches shorter.

My manicure lasted really well and oh this is probably my favourite nails ever; splatter nails! 

Pumps from Primark, I mean really, £6 for a pair. Can you go wrong? The answer is no
 We visited the Sagrada Familia, but it's under construction (still open) but I didn't feel like paying to go in. The new part does not blend in with the old parts which makes me angry. It's not even in the original style which is near sacrilege. 

There are many Antonio Gaudi "works" all over Barcelona, and there are specific guided tours. We're not the tours kinda people. We're more of grab a map and run around till our legs can't hold our weight kinda people. We managed to find a fair few Gaudi works. 
 It's a very nice city to explore, especially the Gothic Quarter. Lots of little gems to find. 

We saw lots of ice cream parlours (even offering sugar free ice-cream, but I don't believe in that) and I chose hazelnut gelato which is the best flavour ever and this was one of the best gelatos I had ever tried.

 You could easily spend a whole day exploring the Gothic Quarter, with its narrow alleys and turns. There are many independent stores in this are which sold all kind of one of a kind items. 

Had lunch in this pizzeria; Man my eyes water at food prices in Europe (In England food is ridiculously cheap, for the price of a vegetarian pizza in Barca, I could have bought one TRIPLE the size in England). It was a quaint little food place and the pizza tasted good. 

General Tips:

It's a compact city and great for short 2-3 day trips.

Public transport is really great! And everything is well connected to either a metro (underground), tram or buses.

Get the unlimited travel pass (you can buy 1/2/3 day passes). You can get T10 tickets which is 10 trips and this ticket can be shared with people, valid for 30 days. I didn't think it was worth it as the number of trips taken off the ticket when travelling depends on how many 'zones' you cross. So while you might be on a tube from one area of Barcelona to another, you might have crossed 4 zones and that's 4 trips taken off.

Carry change; At the tram stations you can buy tickets but only with cash or  card. No notes accepted. The local shops don't give change unless you buy something. At metro stations this isn't an issue.

Currency exchange places; I only saw 1 on the whole trip and that was in La Rambla (wasn't particularly looking for them as we had enough Euros but it did strike me as odd that I didn't see more of them.

Don't buy souvenirs off La Rambla as they can be found for much cheaper in the side streets off it e.g. the Gothic Quarter.

Stay in the many hotels in La Rambla as it's central and easy to get to. We stayed further out (in a very nice hotel, but if I knew how great the atmosphere in La Rambla was I'd have stayed here at a budget hotel instead).

As with most European cities, Barcelona is expensive but not as much as Paris. 
Food is expensive even in "smaller" takeaways; Buy snacks from the supermarkets or do what I did and bring it in your luggage :D Genius idea. 

You're only going to be in this place at this time once so do things! The hubby wanted to start dancing when we found some musicians playing on the streets and I said no. Looking back I wish I said yes. That moment in time is now lost and what a waste, so grab it while you can. So do things that you want to and don't hold back. 

Have a great time if you're going there :) 

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