19 May Travel diary – Barcelona
(It took me 3 days to collect all the information and write a blog about my Barcelona experience. “Luckily”, Blogger crashed the day after I posted it!!!!! So I have to rewrite the post… hence it won’t contain all the information I wanted to include before but should still give you a comprehensive “guide to Barcelona” by us :D)
As a way of recording, I will start blogging about my travel experience, the countries I’ve been, the food I’ve tried, the hotels I’ve stayed in… before I forget about them all!!!!
Summer is coming… Barcelona should be a good start?
Viet and I always have good division of labour… I’m in charge of researching/planning about the places to visit, where to go first/second etc… and he’s in charge of where we should stay + eat. I’m a control freak! so I always think about the trip 3 months ahead. I would start reading up about Barcelona and …. buying various outfits… and coordinate outfits between me and Viet … 2-3 months in advance!
So… below is our “guide” to Barcelona…. Please scroll down till the end to see the VIDEO from our trip!
1. Guide Book:
One thing, I hate LONELY PLANET!!! Seriously, do you find it useful? It’s like tons and tons of words that would bore you easily. I admit that it contains all the information you want to know about the city/country… But that’s EXACTLY the POINT! Too much information that you don’t know which one to go for! My best friend introduced me to this Book: Everyman Mapguides and I loved IT!!! It’s a tiny guide (unlike the lonely planet BOOK) with lovely pictures and the right amount of information. For Barcelona, the guide divides the city into 6 areas. For each area you will find a foldable map, and descriptions of the top 10 eating places, top 10 shopping places, museums, internet, tourist info … All the information you need … just in the size of an A4 paper! PERFECTO!
Location, location, location
We stayed at this lovely hotel Europark, small boutique hotel, minutes (literally) from Passeig de Gràcia, which also means it is just simply sooooooo convenient. On the same street with Madrid-Barcelona restaurant (from the guidebook) and L’Hostal de la Rita (from the guidebook), try these two gorgeous local restaurants (very local indeed) and you will see why we have no complain at all about the hotel’s location. On top of that, the room was pretty, decent space for a central boutique hotel’s standard, very clean and carries a subtle and sleek modern look. It remains no. 12 out of 552 rated hotels in Barcelona on TripAdvisor for a reason I suppose.
Food, food, food, food, makes up a huge part of our love for the city. Food is great, in all places we went to. Either we are both very easy eaters (which I highly doubt), or we were just simply lucky to get such a high hit rate on restaurants. A highlight is La Cervecería Catalana, a tapas place that normally boasts a 90-minute waiting line, we went there after a long day of walking, feeling tired, so you can imagine the feeling of running away from that sort of queues, but fortunately we decided to wait, and it turned out to be SO WORTH IT. You should try this place if you went to Barcelona, they don’t take booking, so make sure to turn up early, and enjoy the food (taking into account that the normal dinner time is 9.30pm – 10.00pm, 8.00 is plenty early so don’t turn up at 6.00pm to find the restaurant closed).
Also on tapas, La Txapela on Passeig de Gràcia is worth a visit if you find yourself on that busy street. Quite different to the tourist traps you would expect to find there, it is reasonably priced and the food is of good quality, no fine dining but very good value for money if you need a quick bite. We ended up going there twice…and would not mind going there again the next time we visit.
Apart from the 4 restaurants I mentioned above, we also went to El Japones del Tragaluz (from the guidebook) – interesting modern fusion Japanese concept, great food… I remember we went there at 1am as we were too busy discovering various sightseeing places, by the time we got back to the hotel, it was so late. The great thing about Barcelona is that at 1am, you still can enjoy great food!! Definitely try the grilled meat balls in Japanese style, heaven on earth!!!
We also tried one restaurant by the beach, Salamanca, I knew about this restaurant through an intern at my company. I don’t particularly like it to be honest… and it’s kind pricy as well. But there, we tried the Paella – that must-have dish when you’re in Barcelona 😀
Food at Madrid-Barcelona and L’Hostal de la Rita
4. Places to visit:
Below are our itinerary… I reached most of the places I wanted to visit. Things don’t normally go according to plan, we actually had to miss out some places. I guess I need to learn how to relax sometimes… For example, on our second day, I was so determined to visit Parc Guell even though I was dead tired from walking the whole day. Viet was worried about me not having any energy but I wanted to go so much!!! When we reached Parc Guell, listening to the angelic music partly cleared my fatigue… However, I couldn’t enjoy being there for more than 20 minutes…. and Viet had to literally “carried” me back to the hotel…. I guess Parc Guell will always be there, I will just have to visit Barcelona again to enjoy it on another level! (But at least, I got to listen the angelic melody of the harp bouncing of the rock arch atop the back of an open pavillon in Parc Guell – an out of this world ambience)
– La Pedrera
– Casa Amatller
– Font Magica
– Casa Battlo
– Sagrada Familia
– Parc Guell
– RELAXING DAY by the beach… Oh we also went to Camp Nou 😀
Plan is good…. but it’s even better if you could discover the city by just wandering around… discovering various interesting corners of the city, walking in no specific direction… I started the day strolling up and down La Ramblas and then…. follow where my feet took me….
– that was how we discovered Amorino!!! the rose-shaped ice-cream…
– that was how we found a little antique shop with all the interesting stuffs
Let’s me end this lengthy, photo-heavy blog with a video from our trip: