Barcelona! Before I arrived I knew I would love it. It’s the perfect city in my eyes: beautiful architecture, beaches, cool street art, great cafes and shops, really friendly people, and an overall chill vibe! I also loved the street style – easy and comfortable but with plenty of prints to keep things interesting. A lot like my own style, except Barcelona girls wear more colour (haha). It’s easily one of my favourite cities now and I’d go back in a second. I stayed for 4 days before going to Paris to see my sister and niece to get in a few beach days and explore a new city.
This was a special trip because it was my first completely solo one (for the most part). Usually when I travel it’s to visit someone – if you have relatives overseas you’ll understand. Even if your list of places to visit is endless, your first destination of choice is always where your family is. Initially my sister and I wanted to go together but our schedules conflicted. June is my vacation month as it’s really slow at work, but my sister is a teacher so she still had lessons/year end. I decided to go anyway because I’m used to spending my days in Paris alone while my sister is at work. I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to spend my nights alone as well. I chose Barcelona for its perfect combination of sun, sea, culture, and its proximity to Paris.
I really enjoyed solo travel! I consider myself more of an introvert and I value my alone time. While I was wandering around the streets I was happy to be alone with my thoughts, and when I sat down to eat I’d always be so busy responding to messages from family and friends that I almost forgot I was alone! The best part was being able to see everything that I wanted to at my own pace.
If you’ve ever been contemplating a solo trip somewhere I suggest you go for it, you might be surprised at how much you like it! I only chose 4 days because I knew I’d end up craving some personal contact eventually, but I think it was the perfect amount of time for some quality me-time.
As you may remember things got off to a rocky start because I didn’t receive my suitcase. I felt awful and helpless as all my things were in it, and I only had my regular handbag with me. This was the second time ever that my luggage was delayed, and on the first time it was on the way home so at least I could go back to the things I hadn’t brought with me.
I left the airport with a baggage tracking code and a promise that my suitcase would get to me as soon as possible. In the mean time I would have to buy myself new things. Unsurprisingly, I spent most of my first day shopping. Once I started walking around the city my stress slowly melted away as I took in all of the beautiful architecture. I also kept on reminding myself that I’ll be compensated for all of the shopping and began to enjoy it.
I started out in the Gracia neighbourhood as that’s where I was staying. Apart from shopping I also got my first taste of Gaudi’s architecture by seeing La Padrera. Later on I went to Place Catalunya/Las Ramblas for some more shopping. By the end of the evening I finally had a new outfit, so I finished off the day with dinner and seeing La Sagrada Familia, which was just incredible. My jaw literally dropped when I first saw it! I think it’s safe to say I’ve found myself a favourite architect, Gaudi’s works are so unique and eye-catching!
PS: Apologies that these are only phone pictures and the quality isn’t the best. Kirill lent me his camera but I obviously didn’t have it for a few days and then I never got around to getting batteries, oops!
My first stop was Park Guell, which I was very excited to visit after seeing tons of gorgeous photos. It definitely didn’t disappoint! The view is amazing and so are all of the structures, again designed by Gaudi. Afterwards I couldn’t resist going to the sea, even though I didn’t have my bathing suit. I walked around the port until I got to Barceloneta beach. When I saw there were chairs on the beach, I immediately found a swim store and bought myself a new bikini. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the greatest and it started raining an hour after I lay down, so I left to just wander the streets. My sister had given me the contact of a girl she knew who was living there (which is why my trip wasn’t 100% solo), and we met for a drink in the evening followed by tapas with some of her local friends. Everyone was lovely and the bar and restaurant we went to were both cool. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how affordable going out in Barcelona is! You can easily find drinks for only a couple of euros, which is way cheaper than at home. We were also lucky to find a fusion tapas bar – Spanish cuisine is quite meat/fish heavy and I’m a vegetarian – where they had plenty of veggie tapas!
Finally my suitcase arrived! Since I now had access to my beach towel, I headed straight back to the beach for a morning of tanning and a dip in the Mediterranean (also it was a lot sunnier than the first two days). Unfortunately the water wasn’t quite as warm as I had hoped, but it was still refreshing. I stayed at the beach until I got hungry and after lunch made my way to Montjuic park. I probably could have walked around there longer than I did as the park is enormous, but I was a bit tired of carrying around my beach things and I also had plans in the evening with my new found friends so I wanted to go home and change. In the evening we went to the most interesting bar I’ve ever been to, La Xampaneriya. They only serve sparkling wine and sandwiches, and there are no tables so everyone just stands. Nothing costs more than a couple of euros so it was absolutely packed, I felt like I was in a club!
For my last day I went on a little day trip to Sitges, which is about a half an hour train ride from Barcelona. I had already seen all of Barcelona’s main attractions and a few people recommended visiting this pretty seaside town. When I arrived I headed straight to the beach, where the sand was a bit finer and the water more turquoise than Barcelona’s. After lunch I did a bit more exploring before heading back to the city. The train dropped me off at Passeig de Gracia, where I wandered around for a bit more (also because I missed seeing Casa Batllo on my first day) until I reached home. I stayed in that evening because I had to get up early the next morning for my flight. And just like that, the first part of my trip was over!
All in all I had a great little trip and hope to be back soon! Stay tuned for my Paris travel diary! X