The first stop on my whirlwind three-cities-in-three-countries-in-ten-days adventure that was spring break was Barcelona. I've wanted to go there for years and years, since I first read The Shadow of the Wind. Almost a decade after devouring the novel for the first time the opportunity arose. At the end of April I packed my carry-on bag and bid farewell to the chilly weather of France to welcome the warmth of Spain.
I stayed in the Generator hostel in an all-female dorm and I can honestly say that was one of the best decisions I made when planning my trip. The hostel was in a really nice part of the city, right off of Catalunya and less than five minutes away from the nearest metro station. I was surprised at how well I got along with the girls that were in my dorm when I arrived -- we got on so well that four of us ended up wandering the city in search of dinner together that night.
We ended up at Barravas for tapas at the recommendation of a local. If you are ever in Barcelona, it is a must-do in my book. Every plate was very reasonably priced (the most expensive plates were 8€!) and every bite of food was to-die-for amazing. The four of us ended up splitting every tapas selected and it's probably easier to list the few items we didn't order off of the menu instead of listing everything we did. My favorites included the mushroom croquettes which are pictured above, the sweet tuna, and a single piece of beef that was cooked perfectly. Mind you, I usually don't like beef at all but I am so glad I tried it here.
You can see the destruction we wreaked on the plates.
The next morning I got breakfast with two of the girls I had gone to dinner with the night before at Prasoa, where I had a café con leche (I'm pretty sure it was a cappuccino, but either way it was delicious.)
After breakfast I broke off from the two girls at the Sagrada Familia -- they went to tour the inside and I attempted to not be trampled by tourists and take a photo of the outside before wandering the city. Part of me does wish that I had paid to go inside but I'm also happy that I didn't have to experience the 2+ hour queue.
I'm a store in Barcelona as well!
I was extremely taken with the architecture of Barcelona, how statues were everywhere and sometimes on top of buildings like this one.
One of my favorite places in Barcelona was Plaça de Catalunya. It was filled with people enjoying the warm weather, buying ice cream and balloons from vendors, going to work or to eat lunch.
For lunch I picked up a sandwich that consisted solely of a brioche roll filled with prosciutto. The brioche tasted different from anything I've had while in France, but the sandwich was delicious. I sat in the Plaça while eating and did a fair bit of people-watching.
While wandering I saw a few different alcoves like this around the city. People would fill up water bottles from the spouts, or wash their hands. In one instance I saw someone put their face under the spout to drink the water directly!
There were a few street performers as well as I got lost in the side-streets of Barcelona, each with their own crowd of dedicated observers. In the afternoon I went back to the hostel for a café, which came with the small pastry to my surprise, and to give my feet a little rest.
After my mini-siesta (that wasn't really a siesta at all) I took the metro a few stops to tackle La Boqueria. It was insane. The market was so crowded I could hardly take a step without accidentally running into someone, vendors were yelling out their wares and specials, and if you saw something you liked or wanted to try you had to buy it on the spot because who knew if you would be able to find your way back to that specific booth!
It was so bizarre to see dragon fruit halved and ready to eat when in America grocery stores hardly stock it and if you're eating one it's a novel sight.
I wasn't brave enough to try the fruit, so I had some dragon fruit and coconut juice instead. It was delicious and has made me more ready to try the actual fruit next time.
I am not sure how this was a burrito, but I did buy one (because why not?!) and I can say that it was quite delicious.
There was also quite a bit of street art in Barcelona, but mostly on the metal doors to shops as opposed to on the buildings themselves.
For dinner I ended up at Maitea Taberna with one of the girls from my hostel. It was a tapas restaurant where instead of ordering plates, you take a plate from the giant stack and put whatever tapas you want from the cases on it and eat that. Then, to determine your bill, the waiters count up how many toothpicks you have. It's another place that I would highly recommend if you are ever in the city!
While I didn't experience many, if any, of the "things you're supposed to do" when in Barcelona I am extremely satisfied with my day and a half there. My goal is to go back for a week or so, to experience the Spanish culture again and just have some more time to get to know the city instead of just dropping in.