Thursday, 2 June 2016

Where To Go | Barcelona

Let's set the scene. You've booked yourself a few days away in a new city, you start browsing the net for what you should see and do whilst you're out there, and all of a sudden you find yourself singing the theme tune to Mary-Kate and Ashley's sitcom. How on earth can you see all 244 sights and landmarks recommended by Trip Advisor in 72 hours and still have skin on your feet. The answer to that is you can't, unless you're some kickass human. But you can see some great sights and still have time to work on your tan or add to your wardrobe. We didn't get round to doing everything we wanted to, but that just gives us more a reason to go back again, and what we did do come highly recommended, I'm a reliable source. 

Spain's a big old country, made up of all sorts of different regions, and this quaint, open-air museum has mastered pulling them all into one place, so it's kinda like a one big road trip that can be achieved in a couple of hours.

My mum and dad raved about this place, so we combined it with our day of using the hop-on-hop-off bus, as it's a little way out of the city and they've conveniently placed a stop right outside the entrance. There is a small fee of 12€ each, but if you have your little bus booklet then you get a cheeky 1€ off!

Inside there's plenty to keep you occupied from sangria tasting, souvenir purchasing, photo posing to watching glass blowers create tiny little figures, there's something really satisfying about liquid glass being pulled into shapes. As you amble round there are also plenty of restaurants and cafes, so you don't need to worry about going hungry either!

Top tip: Wander round before choosing a spot to stop for lunch, there are lots of little gems dotted all around.

This destination is an absolute must, even if you don't want to pay to go inside at least admire the beauty of the outside. It started construction over 100 years ago, and isn't due to be finished till 2026, but that parts that are finished take your breath away.

We bought tickets for the inside that included a trip up one of the towers and an audio-guide for our way round, all we needed was a 'I heart Barcelona' top on and we would have practically been screaming I'm a tourist. If you choose not to pay then you're really missing out, just imagine the best stained glass window you've ever seen, then triple that. Not to mention, the columns and the ceilings, photos don't do it justice.

If you don't like heights then the towers aren't for you,  but the views from the Nativity tower (more people had mentioned this one, which is why we chose it) were incredible, although I also wouldn't recommend it if you don't like spiral staircases, as there's a 400 step descent, you do get a nice lift journey up though.

Top tip: pre-book before you go, and if you don't want to be swamped by other tourists then book between 8:30 and 9:30am. 

Throwback to my year six art classes and I was making a shoe inspired by the bench at Parc Guell. I can remember, quite vividly, that it didn't quite turn out as well as I imagined, I was never any good at art let alone using clay to mould it into a shoe. But I do remember how fun it was choosing the mosaic pattern, and researching into all the different colours and designs, so this place was a no brainer.

This is another one you want to pre-book, there was some angry guests who were turned away at 1pm and told to come back at 6pm. Once you're in the paid part you can stay there for as long as you like. Following the map your transported from the famous bench where everyone is attempting to get that Instagram photo {a bit like this} to some gorgeous tiles that make you want to cover your house with them. In between these there are some other cool parts, but I don't want to give the game away too much.

Top Tip: The parc is a little walk away from both metro stations. Vallcarca is the closer of the two stations, with a prettier walk, however the hop-on-hop-off bus also stops right outside too. 

Everybody loves a good park, and this one is no exception. Everywhere you look there is palm trees, and we ended up walking behind a cockapoo wearing a bandanna, how cute. At one end of the park is the zoo and the rest of the park is made up of grass, fountains and a lake.

If you're looking for something that's a little more relaxing then I can thoroughly recommend hiring a row boat on the lake, unless you can't row then it might be a little more traumatic than relaxing. For 6€ for 2/3 people you get half an hour to row to your hearts content, I ended up rowing us into more people then away, but that's all part of the fun. Plus, if you're lucky you might see some little turtles swimming around next to you.

Top Tip: Be careful how close you stand to the fountains, you may get soaked. {Would seem like an obvious statement but many made the same mistake as us}

Nothing screams a holiday without a trip to the beach. Who doesn't love lying in the sun with the sound of the waves crashing against the sand, if your putting your hand up then you're lying. There's not many cities that have both the bustling streets and relaxing beach, should so be a poet.

With only 10kg of hand luggage, I wasn't being bogged down with beach towels. Instead we brought a big, colourful blanket that has elephants on and can fit at least four bodies on it for 10€ from one of the sellers that patrol the sand. The upside, once we had one we weren't bothered to buy another. The downside, that doesn't stop those trying to sell water, beer, mojito, massages and hair braids.

Top Tip: Pretend to be asleep, you won't be bothered by the sellers that way. 



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