Barcelona 2019 – Day 2 – Gothic Quarter, walkabout, Castle, Magic Fountain

posted in: Barcelona 2019, holiday | 0

Day 2 turned out to be absolutely mental, especially compared to the rest of our group. Once again we were among the first to awake, even though we woke up around 9am, nobody else was really stirring. Cath declined to go out with us for morning exploration so off we went to find breakfast. The first place we had on list turned out to be closed or out of business so we ended up at a place nearby called Cremat 11 for some amazing breakfast, I had a fluffy batch of pancakes with crispy bacon on the side, served with caramelized banana and berries, so lush.

Pancakes with caramelised banana, berries and crispy bacon @ Cremat 11

We’d walk over to Ciutadella Park and barcelona’s version of the Arc de Triomf to meet the others, and had a nice walkaround in the sun with everyone. The fountain in the park was particularly impressive, especially with the pure blue skies as a backdrop.
The Gothic quarter was right next door and so seemed like an obvious next destination, a few of the group wanted to go to the Chocolate museum so we went inside there to have a look around. My expectations for the chocolate museum were super low, so i guess I was impressed by it all? there were lots of chocolate models and scenes, including drogon from GoT and some scenes from the smurfs, asterix, etc, it was almost like one of the comic book museums we went to in Brussels. We had a little snack/smoothie afterwards and saw the outside of the cathedral (couldn’t go in because of my slutty shoulders on show).

At this point (1:30pm ish) the others wanted to go back to the apartment and then go to the beach (again), this being our last full day we decided to split off and do some more sightseeing, each trip to and from the apartment was half an hour we didn’t feel like losing.
And so off we continued, on our own, we’d hit up the ‘Palau de la Música Catalana’, ‘Plaça de Catalunya’ and do some window shopping in some of the nearby shops to cool off (we came across some crazy hippie shop, pics below)

A few stops on the metro and a ride on Barcelona’s funicular later, we were riding up the cable car to Montjuic castle. The castle gardens and structure were interesting, with flower arrangements and old cannons still in place, but the views were really what you were paying for with that castle entrance fee – that and the breeze, being on top of the mountain the wind was super strong and actually just what you want after a hot day, we’d walk about and take in the views for an hour and a half or so before getting a cable car all to ourselves for the return journey back to the city.

Given that we arrived late on day 0 compared to everyone else (they already went to the beach on Day 0) we felt like we hadn’t seen much of it yet, so we took a bus down to check out the beachfront shops and walked out down the pier to chill on the marina, before eventually heading to the beach to meet up with the others, hoping to get dinner or similar.
We found them (or rather, Cath found us) still sunning away and playing in the water at 8pm or so, their plans were to go back to the apartment again to shower and freshen up before dinner, considering there are 7 of them – travelling for half an hour and then waiting for 7 people to get ready when there are only 2 showers? – Didn’t really feel like waiting around for 2 hours and so even though we just reunited, we split off again to continue our adventure.

Final location for the day and one of the highlights of our trip, the magic fountain situated around plaza espanya and near the museum. The fountain runs shows from 9:30 to 10:30 – we were surprised to see massive crowds already forming at 8:40 when we arrived, how big was this show going to be exactly?
Given that we hadn’t properly eaten since 10am or so, we were pretty hungry now and so went off to find dinner in the nearby converted bullring – now a shopping center, the inside was surprisingly modern and really nice looking, i wish we had more time to look around, but in a rush we just ended up grabbing some tapas in a restaurant on basement level (which was very average to be honest).
By the time dinner was finished and we got out, it was 9:50 or so and the sun had finally set, the main road towards the magic fountain had exploded into life, with lit fountains on both sides of the street, security staff and loads of people, with the big fountain at the back lit up in rotating colours in front of the museum. It was really impressive and felt surprisingly intimate and romantic despite how busy it was. We’d stick around for a while to watch before heading home, grabbing some churros and packing for our departure early next morning. Fully exhausted.

Barcelona 2019 – Day 0 + 1 – Sagrada, Monumental, Park Guell, Beach

Day 0 – Arrival

My latest travel would take me to Barcelona for 2 and a bit days, departing from gatwick on the Thursday and leaving on the sunday morning.
Our outbound flight was delayed unfortunately – I have no kind words for Vueling airlines and would honestly advise others to avoid at all costs.

Despite leaving the house around 10am, we would only arrive at our Airbnb in Barcelona at around 6pm local time, this trip has been dubbed ‘Book Club on Tour’, there are approx 9 of us in this bookclub and we meet up maybe once a month or so to mostly eat and drink, on occasion we discuss a book though this is usually something we can actually read on the day – so it’s a very serious book club as you can tell.
The first night everyone was so tired from travelling that we decided to order in – which turned out to be a disaster on multiple levels as the deliveroo guy was given the wrong phone number, and then when it eventually did turn up, it was painfully overpriced and plain awful, a selection of tapas which – I think it could probably make better myself to be honest.
We got the short straw when it came to the airbnb as well, having arrived last we effectively got the bitch room, a small windowless room with no air-conditioning and some awful single beds, sleeping over the next 3 nights would be rough, and unsurprisingly, we would turn down multiple group plans of “lets go back to the apartment and rest in our rooms”.

Day 1 – Sagrada, Monumental, Park Guell and Beach

Cordelia and I were among the first to wake up on the Friday, Cath was also awake. Eager to get out and actually see some of Barcelona aside from the apartment, we set out to find some breakfast and do some early sightseeing, the other 6 could catch up later. Tripadvisor directed us to a nice little brunch spot not too far from our apartment, called Billy Brunch, small and cosy with friendly staff, we had some amazing eggs benedict, I thought i’d order some sausages as well to get some protein in and they gave us 5 for 2.5eur which was a nice surprise.

We’d hit up the famed Sagrada Familia cathedral next as it was nearby, still not set to be completed until 2032, the Sagrada is truly a baffling architectural piece – being under construction so long that it already has an old and new side despite the whole thing itself not being finished, you can really see the differences in construction and weathering, to the point where I wonder if it’ll have 3 distinct sides/ages by the time it’s done.
I think the most exciting bit of construction finally finishing is that people will be able to photograph it without the ugly cranes

The other 6 members of book club I believe were still in the apartment at this point I believe, so rather than going back we headed to the next nearby flag on our google maps which was ‘Monumental’
I wasn’t actually sure what Monumental even was when we approached, its name isn’t particularly descriptive and from the decor outside I actually thought it was a synagogue – upon further inspection though it was an old bull ring – still holds some shows apparently, but for the most part it is now a bullfighting museum and landmark. Tickets were fairly cheap and I’m really glad Cath initiated us actually going inside because it was pretty interesting and relatively empty inside, Cath gave us a little history on bullfights (unexpected bullfighting expert?) and we walked about and took some nice pictures, the sky was so very blue in contrast with the arena, i think it made for some nice shots.

We had tickets booked for Park Guell in the afternoon, so we headed there next, I had been before and as far as my memory serves nothing much had changed, unfortunately there was a fair bit of renovation work being done to patch up mosaics, but it was still nice.

We headed back to the abnb to freshen up a little before heading out to the beach for the remainder of the afternoon and stayed until early evening, had a nice walk around the beach and watched George dig his big hole.
Eventually we headed off down the beachfront to find some Paella – and find it we did! Tasty stuff! We had some churros afterwards at a place a few doors down from our apartment – open 24hours (thank god I don’t live nearby or I would be obese)