The trip that started the blog.
In late summer 2015, I flew to Spain, met up my parents (who are retired and sailing the world), and we explored Spain, Morocco, and Portugal for two weeks. I felt it appropriate to start my blog off with the trip that truly inspired me to start this new venture; and at the location where the inspiration happened.
So first…. onward to Barcelona! aka, my favorite city ever
In Barcelona we visited Sagrada Familia, watched FC Barcelona play at Camp Nou, marveled at the eccentric architecture, enjoyed paella on the cobblestone streets, journeyed up to Tibidabo, and I even joined a cannabis club. It was incredible!
Just try to take in the absolute beauty of Sagrada Familia below
Sagrada Família is a must see, from the intricate architecture to the immaculate stained glass, every part of this building is amazing. The building’s construction began in 1882 and is still under way today, with an estimated completion date of 2032, and although it is unfinished, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
and it goes without saying, pictures do not do this place justice. you have to go for yourself!
Travel tip #1: Buy your ticket before hand.
If you want to go inside the church, you need to buy your ticket beforehand! And you want to go inside the church.
DO NOT wait until the day of, you will unlikely be able to go in, and if you do, it will be after having waited in a long line out in the sun for hours, and that’s not what you want to do with your time in my favorite city in the world. Trust me on that one.
Location, location, location!
Here are some of my traveling requirements that make a destination one of my favorites: a beautiful beach town with delicious food and sunny weather where you pass friendly locals. I don’t really ask for much.
Barcelona has all of these, thus it quickly became a favorite.
We stayed at MH Apartments, right by Sagrada Familia. which were ideally located, well furnished, and honestly, it was perfect for us three.
The area where this apartment is located is also surrounded by food, markets, little shops and plenty of tourists. It had two bedrooms, two baths, could easily sleep 5 and offers a full kitchen with washer and dryer. There are two metros that are each about a block away. and with metros and walking being the best modes of transportation in this city, it was absolutely perfect. Kudos to my mom for finding this gem!
This apartment was perfect if you want to be near everything.
The full experience of a FC Barcelona match
I actually purchased our three match tickets before I had any airline reservations made. Do you see my priorities?
Soccer Futból is a huge passion of mine. and seeing Messi play has been on my bucket list for years. I had a freaking blast.
we saw FC Barcelona play against Malaga and win 1-0! I sat in between two Catalan season ticket holders, and when Barcelona scored, I received hugs and celebration kisses from strangers and felt the full effect of how amazing the European futból culture truly is. Another epic item to cross off my bucket list.
Some FC Barcelona facts:
Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe
and the second largest stadium in the world.
this ginormous stadium houses over 99,000 people!
This is the day I officially decided that I will be a season ticket holder for FC Barcá!
Barcelona museums and architecture
this is entrance to Museu Nacional D’Art de Cataluny.
How cute are my parents? ↓
handstand on stop of an old bull fighting ring, now turned shopping mall:
those calves though….amiright?
I made some friends and we went to Park Güell
I met up with three guys on a epic whirlwind trip across Europe when they were about halfway through. and we went and explored another architectural masterpiece, Park Güell.
This park was made possible by Eusebio Güell and designed by Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect. The park was built between 1900 and 1914 and was officially opened as a public park in 1926. In 1984, it was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Upward to Tibidabo
On one of our day trips, we took a trolley, walked a little and then took another trolley up to see Tibidabo, which is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola. We saw the Sagrat Cor Church, the Tibidabo Amusement Park and some pretty awesome, albeit cloudy, views of Barcelona.
I want to come back here over and over to hike and camp around this mountain, see sunsets and sunrises from this view and I want to do ride the rides at the amusement park.
I joined a cannabis club in Barcelona!
While talking to one of my best friends back home, she sent me a link to a guys website in Barcelona who will sponsor visitors and locals to join cannabis clubs around the city. I figured I had nothing to lose so I sent him an email asking, if “he could help a girl out” and by the time I woke up the next morning, I had an email with instructions to find the club and an appointment to join the club.
There are multiple clubs in the city, and I chose La Mesa and I was incredibly impressed. grams were about 8 euros. you could buy pre rolled joints, bud, wax, lotion and other goodies. they also have a bar, a raw bar, live music on certain days, free wifi and great people. It was awesome.
It was like a multicultural living room where everyone was friendly and interesting. I met a guy from Kuwait, a couple from Canada and there was even a pointer dog there who I admired at from afar, and then promptly texted my friend asking for pictures of my own dog, Brandy. but YES, La Mesa is dog friendly, as is the entire city of Barcelona is dog friendly. aka, another reason I need to move here, STAT.
Special shout to my sponsor, Russ Hudson. You da man, Russ.
When in Barcelona, sangria and tapas are a must. Every day. What are tapas?? Tapas are small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar. And they can be anything. From fried quail legs to tuna tutaki to sandwiches. Try it all!
Here are some of my restaurant recommendations:
Tapas, 24: they have some of the best and most interesting dishes that change often here, try anything and everything! the quail legs are great!
Lonja de Tapas: this is located near the cannabis club, and you eat outside on the cobblestone sidewalks, under umbrellas and cushioned chairs; get the Tuna Tutaki!
Paella: the best paella will be found at hole-in-the-wall places, where you sit on uncomfortable chairs on cobblestone streets and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Turkish food: I had Turkish food for the first time here, and it was awesome! Turkey is now on the bucket list! We had a ton of delicious baba ghanoush and kabobs.
Pork is a huge deal in Spain. They had whole stores of these cured pork legs, called jamón ibérico. The pictures below show that is has been cured for 4 years and is 200EU per Kilogram.
I ordered some when I was out enjoying tapas with my parents, and I woke up sick in the middle of the night… so, lesson learned; expensive, cured, pork legs and my stomach do not get along, and I am totally okay with that. It honestly tasted like dog treats to me… and that’s too expensive of a souvenir to bring back for Brandy dog. So I will let the Catalans enjoy their jamón ibérico and instead I’ll enjoy the fresh markets of fruits and vegetables.
When traveling, and basically in life, I will try anything once. I always make sure to try the local cuisine while traveling, and I always make it to a fresh market to see what they offer and what fruits they go there. Its nice to get the local feel at a local food market.
This trip really fueled my desire for solo travel
I felt totally safe in Barcelona, even when one night it was dark, rainy and about 9:30 PM. I walked about a mile by myself from the cannabis club I joined to a restaurant I was meeting some new friends at, and not once was I bothered or felt unsafe. In fact, it felt liberating and free. I was walking on freshly rained on sidewalks, guided by the moon and my GoogleMaps.
Later, we walked down to the beach and sat by the water and talked and smoked.
I love meeting new people in my travels.
Spain was hands down my favorite stop on this adventure, and I will someday do an extended stay here and hopefully even live here for a few years. after going through some of the toughest days of my life this summer, breathing in the fresh air of Spain, hearing the beautiful dialect of the Catalan’s and feasting my eyes on some of the prettiest sites I’ve seen, “Spain was exactly what my heart needed.”
onward and upward,
traveled during August of 2015