While on the bus, commuting from the airport to our Airbnb apartment in Barcelona, we realised we hadn`t been on a holiday since Berlin, last year in April.
Sure, we`ve been visiting families in both Romania and England, for Easter and Christmas respectively, but to actually travel for leisure – that`s something we`ve been neglecting ever since we moved into our new apartment.
So, being away from it all, even if only for a couple of days, felt pretty amazing!
Barcelona is a city I`ve been to several times before, yet never in the company of my boyfriend and never looking farther than its touristic areas. We were both eager to explore the neighbourhoods, to go for food and drinks to the best places in town – which we had bookmarked beforehand – and, of course, to allow us to be surprised at the same time.
This is what our first full day in Barcelona looked like!
We woke up in our apartment to discover there was no way we could make coffee and have it outside, on the balcony, as I had fancied. So we started the day at Satan`s Coffee Corner, just a few blocks away:
We continued our walk through the neighbourhood, Barrio Gótico, the Medieval centre of the city:
And then there was brunch! We went to Milk, apparently a very popular place in Barcelona. Needless to say, the food was great:
We burnt the calories walking down the famous and highly cosmopolitan Passeig de Gràcia, where we`ve been gazing at the amazing works of architecture (Gaudi`s houses included) displayed along the avenue:
And then we got lost, so to say… We took a turn from the avenue and magic happened! We were suddenly walking through a maze of narrow streets, lined with orange trees and beautiful residential buildings, leading to pleasant plazas made for conviviality and people watching. We were in Gràcia neighbourhood. Plaça de la Vila de Gràcia immediately became our favourite place in the whole city:
Blown away by the beauty of Gràcia – we were to find out that the area was originally a village that later on became part of the city of Barcelona – we found ourselves in need for a drink. We stood up from the bench facing the square, and, before we knew it, we were standing at the bar of what was to become our favourite cafè in the city – Cafè Godot – a very friendly and relaxing place:
Forces regained, we set off for the next destination of the day – Park Güell. I really wanted my boyfriend to see this place. We took a route I hadn`t been on before (entering the park from the top of the hill, in Vallcarca, rather than from the main entrance), so the surprises didn`t stop to appear. They included a climbing I was not exactly prepared for, and a view over the city that made it all worth it:
Fairly exhausted, we took the metro and headed back home to get some rest and freshen-up.
A couple of hours later (long live the late Mediterranean meals!), we were heading out for dinner in El Born, a very lively neighbourhood we`d be exploring the following day.
We had bookmarked a few (highly recommended) tapas bars, but, needless to say, they were all packed.
In one of them, however, we were able to spot a place at the bar and in we went! The place, called Euskal Etxea, was a pintxos taverna and we soon realised we were really lucky to be there. That`s because we fell in love with the pintxos (the Basque version of tapas, “spiked” with a toothpick, often to a piece of bread or pastry) and we enjoyed having drinks in a convivial atmosphere, surrounded by locals.
At the end of the meal, the waiter counted the toothpicks on our plates – each toothpick meaning one pintxo – and that`s how he calculated the amount we had to pay.
We really enjoyed our first day in Barcelona and were already looking forward to the next one.