May 07, 2013

A New Favourite City

Me and my two best pals were sat around one night a few weeks ago and were just itching to book some flights. Whoever says retail therapy is not the answer has surely not experienced the buzz of booking a cheap flight – it’s the ultimate quick-fix and so much better than a rash sale purchase from a fleecey fashion store.

So, in a flash, we’d book ourselves onto a dodgy airline and headed straight to Barcelona. We tried out Air B’n’B and I definitely recommend it as a way to “muck in” rather than being a bum-bag-bearing tourist in a flashy hotel. Our apartment had one of those old-school lifts in which you have to barricade yourself in using a creaky gate. It also had an amazing view of all the other tumbledown flats with colourful balconies that make you feel like you are right in the heart of the city.

I’d heard so many friends rave about it in the past, about how fantastic it is as a city. Having been fortunate enough to visit quite a few European cities over the last few years I wondered what made it so special. Now, I completely get it. It literally is the best parts of every city I’ve ever been to all rolled into one. Here’s 5 of the top reasons explaining why I am completely and utterly in love with Barcelona.

1. The beach: It’s a no brainer. Any city with a beach is clearly a winner. The sea side restaurants are big open spaces with a social atmosphere, inviting you drink wine and gossip by the sea. Volley ball nets a-plenty and deck chairs perfect for reclining even if it’s not crazily hot.

2. The W hotel: It’s one of the most statement buildings, being unmissable by the harbour as you walk towards the beach. The view is awesome, and at night, the very top floor of the hotel turns into a Grey Goose splashing dance-floor with live drums, strobe lights, and rich men in blazers.

3. Park Guell (Gaudi’s): The park is beautiful. The varying heights of the park create a view to die for plus the tranquil atmosphere of people picnic-ing and frollicking amongst the iconic buildings. It kind of reminded me of something out of a Shakespearian stroll, with the rolling hills and harpists playing gorgeous music.

4. The nightclubs: My love for clubbing has been rekindled! I stayed out until 7am! This is not like me! Yes. The clubs were fantastic. The atmosphere was friendly (a girl even shared a piece of chewing gum, now that’s sisterhood) and the music was good in a Euro-chic kind of way. The dancefloors weren’t too busy, there was different bars serving different concoctions. Wine/cava is cheaper than water. The VIP areas let you gatecrash. Cigarettes are cheap. They let you hog the big outdoor sofas. There are MALE and female dancers. I’m all up for dancers in nightclubs, but if you’re going to objectify the women, then get the men up there too!  Club Opium, I give you a solid 10/10 for eye candy.

5. The food: Normally, I don’t really enjoy sharing meals. You know those eager people are always suggesting ‘”let’s get a bit of everything and SHARE”. Normally I back out and hog my own meal. But tapas is different, I love a bit of tapas. We went to an amazing little restaurant down a back alley (I forget it’s name) and ordered what was recommended by a kooky waitress with a head scarf and big glasses. Patatas bravas, calamari, salmon bruschetta, warm goats cheese with salad, a potato salad with aioli, las gambas,oh the list could go on.

Next time, I have told myself I must bring a little travel journal so I can remember all the little places we went into. But then again, I wonder if that’s the beauty of getting lost in a city, not really remembering where you went. That way you have to find it all over again….

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