First of all- what’s with this new layout?! Maybe I’ve just not seen it because I haven’t been on here for so long, but wow, this is snazzy isn’t it!
I haven’t really felt like blogging lately, although that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing loads of things that I would normally blog about; Glossybox for November arrived the other day, my 21st birthday, holiday from university etc. I’m going to try and be more frequent here despite how I might be feeling because actually it’s a nice little escape to take an hour and write about something, it’s quite therapeutic really!
Last week was my birthday (woo, 21!) but also my reading week at uni where we get given a week off to (supposedly) study and prepare for impending coursework deadlines etc. I didn’t have much to do which is nice, and then my new work took us all to Barcelona — !?!??!
I work for a coffee shop company called Taylor St Baristas which are based in several locations in London and are also opening a store on Madison Avenue in New York come January which is incredibly exciting. On Friday after closing, 48 of us flew from Gatwick to Barcelona for an absolutely incredible treat, I’m honestly so lucky and grateful!
We only had one full day in Spain as it was just a weekend trip to fit in with the company being closed over the weekend anyway, and Friday/Sunday were travel days. However, I think that I really crammed quite a lot in and made the most of the time there. So here’s a few little suggestions of things to do – and obviously next time I go there will be plenty more, I honestly wanted to do see so many things but time was very limited!
I got out to eat at midnight on the first night there so finding a cute little tapas bar was out of the question. Instead I went with a couple of the girls from work and we found a gorgeous restaurant near our hotel called ‘Vinoteca Torres‘, a lovely little wine bar with a gastronomic menu as well. The quality is so amazing, robust flavours brought to life by chef Manuel Jiménez and full bodied Bodega Torres wines. It’s quite pricey, my meal of tortilla for starter and then a creamy rice with prawns as the main plus a share in a bottle of Rioja cost me around 50 euros but honestly the quality and atmosphere in this place is so amazing, so this is my recommendation for a glamorous treat evening. However, just 5 minutes walk down the road are a couple of really cheap tapas bars that sell each dish for around 2/3 euros so you can get a little selection and share with friends for a cheap lunch or dinner out.
Of course, of all of the sights to see in Barcelona, the Sagrada Família is the top of my ‘Must See’ list so I made that a priority on Saturday. After a breakfast out at a cafe called Galeria Cosmo (sort of a hipster Ikea coffee bar that displays abstract contemporary art designs), I looked around the town and then headed over to the Sagrada.
I had heard that it was stunning, and even seeing photos I knew I was in for a real treat, but honestly nothing can prepare you for the absolute majesty of this place. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go inside because the queues were several hours long and I had to get back to the group and do some work activities, but next time I’m there I definitely will because it’s simply stunning.
This emblematic temple designed by Gaudí in 1883 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is still currently being renovated with aims for the main structure to be finished by 2026 and additional decorative pieces to be complete by around 2030/2032. You have to pay around 15-20 euros to enter the basilica (with an extra fee to climb the towers) but this money is what funds the conservation and construction of this breathtaking building so you’d definitely feel like you’ve contributed to something amazing.
This was my absolute favourite thing about the city. I’m a huge fan of a national park and was absolutely Knope-ing out (Parks and Rec reference there) in this place. The Parc Güell on Caramel Hill – god doesn’t that just sound like a magical fairytale location!? – is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and again designed by Gaudí. This is a recurring theme throughout the city by the way, so many museums and little cafes dedicated to him, it’s pretty much Gaudítown!
Anyway, I digress. This park is on top of Caramel Hill and so, if you climb up enough of the little hills and levels, you get the most amazing views of the entire city. I was genuinely taken aback by the front alone, with its amazing mosaics and the temple of Gaudí creating a stunning entranceway, but then as you ascend further and further it honestly just gets to you. I was on my own here, my phone was on 14% so I didn’t have time to text anyone or share these photos straight away anywhere, I could only take a few pictures and enjoy the scenery which I forget to do sometimes. Walking around with my thoughts and soaking it all in gave me such a sense of peace, it’s very hard to describe, but I couldn’t get enough of it.
There are a couple of buildings inside the park, including the main terrace (Seen in the first photos) and the Gaudí house museum (Seen below) which you can enter for a small fee which goes towards conservation efforts once more.
I honestly still cannot get over those views; photos don’t do it justice at all but in a way that’s how I think you can tell that something is truly and breathtakingly picturesque, it just can’t be captured by a camera, the image is captured by the mind and soul instead.
Sorry for sounding so soppy but god, it really is special. I love Barcelona even after just one full day there. I went to visit the university as next year I have a year abroad and will be spending 4 months studying in Spain so need to apply to unis- I’m definitely putting it as my first choice now, there’s so much more I want to get out of this city, the Catalan culture which is so individual of Castilian, everything. If you have a chance to travel here, grab it by the cuernos (sorry for the cheesy torro joke) and go!
I will be posting more frequently, I promise. I made a couple of resolutions on my birthday including reading more, connecting with family more, and committing to this blog more, so here’s to upholding those promises!
Have a lovely week,