So, for any of you who read my last post, you know that I spent some time in the Canary Islands. A beautiful, warm, tropical, escape for anyone who needs some time to unwind.
My plan was to be there for a month, and then head to Nebraska for the holidays.
On my way out of Europe, back to the states, I made a stop in Barcelona. This city is the third most visited city in Europe, behind London and Paris. I managed to come at a time when the tourist count was lower and the streets were less riddled with English accents.
In the five days I spent in this city, I fell in love with Barcelona in the Fall.
Let me back up and establish that the best time to visit any place anywhere in the world, in my opinion, is in the SUMMER! I will always say Summer is the prime time to experience whatever location is the topic of conversation. I find that the cold = sadness and confusion (not necessarily in that order). Summer, on the other hand = sunshine, warmth, and joy.
BUT, and I don’t believe I have ever thought this about any place I’ve been to, this big, tourist filled, city is a must-visit in the Holiday season.
You know, when you watch a Hallmark movie and the little town the film takes place in, looks like the coziest, most romantic place in the world? That is what you experience in this Spanish city, this time of year.
It’s similar to NYC, in that it is so large and there is so much commotion and activity, yet every street, shop, bar, and restaurant has immense personality that makes you feel like every nook is special and inviting. There is life, abundance of colors, and energy in every corner. When it is chilled and crisp outside, these qualities are heightened. The inanimate objects reach out to you to capture your attention. And this somehow, makes Barca so small and intimate.
Something special about many European countries, that differs from Western culture, is the way people value meals. I have found that in Europe, especially in Spain, people treat meals as a social event and will spend hours enjoying this time of day. You can step into a restaurant and order tapas after tapas, sip bottles of vin rouge (red wine), and laugh til your cheeks hurt, losing all track of time. You sit, relish the Spanish cuisine, delight in the company that has joined you, share your day, your life, your memories. This is tradition here. For me, this experience simply enhanced my love for the city and the culture.
In my latest visit to the city, I felt encouraged to walk or hop on any available bus, not know of the direction it was headed, so that I could see every part of the city. I ended up ditching the subway for the above ground transport, just so I could take it all in. Bundled up in my teddy coat, I felt so comfortable and sound in this vibrant metropolis.
Some tips/recommendations for when you are in town:
- La Sagrada Familia is worth the entrance ticket
- Park Guell- you can see most of it without buying a ticket
- Walk!… or bike!
- Shopping (truly an ideal city to visit on a girl’s trip)
- Experience all of the tapas
- I’d love to recommend restaurants, but I believe the best way to do Barca, is to discover your own favorite restaurants
- Free Walking Tours >>>
- Drink all of the Sangria
- (If it’s summer) chill out at the beach
- Take a salsa class
- Eat Paella
- Go to a football match at the famous Camp Nou
- Check out La Rambla (specifically Mercado de La Boqueria)