Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Barcelona Snapshots

Hannah and I have just got back from a trip to Barcelona (BARCELONAAAAAA!). We went for the Primevera festival which takes place for three days just outside the city but due to the rather odd festival timings (Foals at 3am sounds like a fun idea but by 2.30am it isn't) we had plenty of time to see the city, too.

Primevera is a non-camping festival so we checked into the Chic&Basic hotel in the Born district (Barcelona's answer to Shoreditch, kind of) - having a shower and a bed to return to definitely made it a rather more luxurious festival experience than Glastonbury will be later this month. Even if the "Chic" hotel featured a shower in the middle of the bedroom (there is a curtain to protect your modesty, fyi). The hotel was a great find - the room was huge compared to other city hotels I've stayed in, the wifi worked most of the time (no hotels ever have good wifi so its forgiven) and there was a lounge area with free water, tea and a Nespresso machine. I proved to myself how cool I am by looking forward to my green tea at the end of each day of the festival.

The best thing about Barcelona is how varied the city is, you can be relaxing in the beach in the morning, visiting the amazing Sangrada Familia and a picking from a huge range of museums in the afternoon and spend your evening walking around tiny, winding streets filled with bars and restaurants. Oh, and there's a huge branch of Zara and its cheaper than here in the UK if you just want to shop. The city is small and a lot of things are in walking distance. The metro is pretty easy to figure out although whatever time of the day or night we used it it was jam-packed.

The famous gold fish on the beach.
After landing and dropping our bags at the hotel, a walk along the beach in the sunshine definitely made the 4am wake-up worthwhile.
The Port Vell is great for a stroll and you can forget you're in a city.
I visited Happy Pills on my last trip to Barcelona - good to see that a local brand is still going strong. The shop sells "prescriptions" of sweets in medicine jars - so cute!
The view from the balcony of our Barcelona home from home.
The courtyard of the hotel has bikes and microscooters to hire.
Our favourite little cafe on the same street as the hotel. I'm not sure if it was Primevera induced sleep deprivation but their soya cappuccino was amazing.
The Sangrafamilia, Gaudi's "unfinished cathedral", is one of Barcelona's most famous sites. Unfortunately it's also one of the busiest so book tickets in advance if you want to go inside!
Who needs to go to Zara?
MACBA houses permanent and temporary modern art exhibitions. There's not a lot of explanation of the art and a lot of the social critique of Spanish life went over my head a little but the space itself is bright and airy and lovely to walk around.
The Boquiera Market of of La Rambla is a must visit. Whether you want to pick up a picnic, grab a snack or just wander around looking at all the amazing food on display.
Not one for the claustrophobic but taking the tiny lift up the Columbus Column gives great views of the city.
I did the cable car on Mont Juic on my last visit and couldn't resist another trip up the montain.
More great views from the medieval castle at the top of the mountain.

La Paidra is a residential apartment block designed by Gaudi. The admission charge is a little steep but the swirling, undulating roof top is well worth it. The building is strangely beautiful and its shocking that its 100 years old given how modern it appears.

Another Gaudi building on the "block of discord" on Passeig de Gracia. Look up as you walk down the shop-lined street - every building is a totally different architectural style and Casa Batillo is the most breath-taking.
After all that festival going, brunch on Sunday seemed like a good idea. Milk Bar's "Recovery Brunch" was something I read about before the trip and it didn't disappoint.
French toast and a cappuccino - yum!
 Have you visited Barcelona?
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6 comments

  1. This looks like an AMAZING holiday AND also my kind of festival. I just can't do camping anymore haha. I want to visit Barcelona - your pics are great! I've heard the fish on the beach belongs to the most expensive hotel in Barcelona! My boss stayed there apparently - lucky for some hey? I need a holiday....

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  2. This looks so beautiful Lily! Barca is definitely on my 'to visit' list!
    x

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  3. Looks like you had a great time, I've been to Barcelona once but didn't have time to sightsee that much.
    x

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  4. I've visited once but would certainly like to go back, love the idea of the festival, it sounds a bit like the Great Escape in Brighton - I couldn't be having with the camping!

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  5. I've never been to Barcelona, but would love to visit one day soon. :-)

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  6. I love Barcelona - definitely one of my most favourite places in the world. The food...mmmm....

    www.hungryhealthyhappy.com

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