I take my camera nearly everywhere with me.
Just not to Barcelona, apparently.
In a bizarre twist of fate, I somehow managed to remember my charger and a spare lens – which I usually forget to bring – just not the most important part of the equation. I realised halfway into my journey down to Prestwick Airport, by which stage it was waaaaay too late to turn back and right my wrongs.
I suppose it’s lucky that just a couple of weeks earlier I’d treated myself to an early upgrade and picked up a brand new iPhone, with a supposedly better camera than my last phone, that was just dying to be tested out. It’s also lucky that I’d taken the world’s smallest handbag away with me, which barely fit my camera in, to begin with, so would have been an absolute nightmare to deal with in a city that is notorious for its pickpockets.
And you know what? I think it stood up to the challenge pretty well. I was able to capture a few more spontaneous moments, whipping my phone out in a flash instead of lining up the shot meticulously with my camera, and I felt a lot more “free” as a result. Looking at the photos now that I’m home, I don’t feel like they’re really lacking at all. In fact, I think at times the iPhone captured colour much better than my camera would have – which is ideal in a vibrant city like Barcelona.
But you can be the judge of that, because here are lots of photos from my trip to Barcelona. I would have posted these weeks ago, but I’m in denial that my one holiday of the year is over already, and have not been emotionally stable enough to write this post.
We were pretty shattered after our hike up to the park, so after spending a few hours wandering in the sunshine we made our way back to the hotel for a nap before heading out for copious amounts of tapas, pintxos and sangria – a running theme of the trip.
Day two started once again with brunch, this time at Caravelle, where it was coconut french toast and elderflower sangria that caught my eye, but more on that in a future post. I wouldn’t want to spoil all the fun now, would I?! The only thing we’d really pre-planned for our trip was a free walking tour on Monday afternoon, so after brunch, we meandered towards our meeting point and explored some of the more picturesque alleys on the way.
On our way, we had to pass through Las Ramblas, which is cited as one of the most iconic streets in the city. I hated it. We had passed through the street on our first day, the second day, and most memorably on our second evening. Each time, we were quickly fed up with the harassment from street traders, shifty strangers trying to sell us drugs (no, thanks) and the general throng of tourists that we had to fight our way past. Honestly, I didn’t find the area to be that enjoyable at all, and I don’t think I would have missed out had we avoided it for the duration of our trip.
But then again, wandering about in my summer clothes whilst the locals were wrapped up in their winter gear was probably a dead giveaway that we were tourists. It was a good 15 or so degrees warmer in Barcelona than it was in Glasgow though, and if living in Scotland has taught me anything, it’s to take advantage of the sunshine while it lasts.
Moving swiftly on, we started our free walking tour with Sandemans in the Gothic Quarter, taking in sights like the Cathedral, King Martin’s Watchtower and the Consell de Cent whilst learning more about Barcelona’s colourful history. I didn’t know too much about Spanish history, as my education barely went beyond the World Wars, so I was quite surprised by just how much there was to talk about when it comes to Barcelona’s past.
Our tour took us through the Gothic Quarter and on to the Born district, teaching us all about the Catalan identity (a pertinent topic at the moment), Picasso’s influence in Barcelona, the Catalan Gothic style and the many wars that ravaged the city. The tour lasted a mere two and a half hours, in which time it felt like we barely scratched the surface of this vibrant city.
Before long, we were getting hungry again, which is no surprise, so we popped into a local bar for some refreshments – in the form of rather large G&Ts and some more tapas – before heading back to the hotel via Sephora to get ready for another evening of yet more tapas and cocktails. We ate a lot on this holiday, it was great.
We were a little worse for wear come Tuesday morning – I blame the rather excellent strawberry mojitos we had in a little bar with a secret passageway – and after a rubbish night’s sleep, we emerged bleary-eyed in search of brunch. No surprises there. Brunch and Cake comes very highly recommended by nearly everyone with an Instagram account, so off we trotted to try out this Barcelona institution on our last morning. I was way too hungover to make the most of my delicious chocolate pancakes, which is something I regret to this day.
From here, we made our way to another Barcelona institution – the Sagrada Familia. I remember learning about this in high school art classes and even surrounded by cranes and construction work it is nothing short of spectacular. It’ll be amazing to see the finished product, even if that is another eight years away.
By this point, we were ready to make our way back towards the hotel and begin the journey to the airport. We hopped on the subway again and alighted at Las Ramblas, grabbing an ice cream and stopping in some of the shops as we wandered towards our hotel for the final time.
Cue a big greasy Burger King to aid the hangovers, a sleepy flight home which saw me sobbing at Queer Eye and a long drive back home after waiting for an age to get through passport control at Prestwick. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but I had the best time, and I’m so gutted its over. High school holidays had marred my ideas of girls trips, but I just had to find the right people to go with. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, and have spent most days since I arrived home staring wistfully at Skyscanner hoping that my next trip materialises sooner rather than later.
Until next time, Barcelona.