I've been fortunate to visit Barcelona a few times previously but my boyfriend hadn't, so, for his 30th birthday I surprised him with a trip to this beautiful city.
We started our trip with a late afternoon visit to the infamous Sagrada Familia designed by Catalan architect Gaudi. The structure has been in making for over 130 years and it's still not completed. It's easy to see why this structure has taken so long, the intricate stonework is fantastic, we were blown away by the details. We took a tour up the Nativity Tower which faces out toward the sea. The cathedral feels quite modern, especially on the inside but is also clearly influenced by traditional architecture found in many churches.
We wandered the streets during the day, exploring the gothic quarter, making sure we took regular stops to enjoy some tapas and the odd cervesa. One evening we decided to venture down La Rambla and found a beautiful, vibrant square called Place Reial where we relaxed and had a few drinks.
Our trip to La Boqueria was high up list, especially after hearing about the infamous meat cones. Yes, a meat cone! La Boqueria is a large public market found just off La Rambla, here you can find a very diverse selection of food including fish, meat, cheese, spices and ice cream. We ate the most delicious chorizo and I found my favourite Kinder Bueno ice cream, so yum!
We sat and watched skaters outside the Musuem of Contemporary Art, also know as MACBA.
Possibly my favourite part of the trip was our visit to a botanical garden found near the coast, known as Jardins de Mossen Costa i Llobera. We were fortunate to stumble upon this amazing collection of cacti, there weren't many people around so it felt like we had the place to ourselves. The garden specialised in species found in the desert and other tropical areas, it felt quite unruly in places, the plants had taken over! The views from here were also great as it was situated on the Montjuic hillside, we could clearly see the cities Port Vell.
On our last day we wandered over to the Arc de Triomf, a triumphal arch originally built for the cities 1888 World Fair. As you walk to the end of the strip you enter one of the largest parks in the city, Parc de la Ciutadella. This is a lovely area to hangout and get away from the hustle and bustle. We sunbathed for a while but there's plenty to do, from statues and fountains, the city zoo, you can even row a little boat around a cute pond.
We ended our trip by heading to the notorious tourist hot spot Park Guell. We wandered Gaudi's park for an hour or so, soaking up the views and giggling at the cheesy tourist photo ops! As expected, it was very busy so I felt we didn't enjoy this as much as the botanical gardens but it was interesting to see more of the Catalan born architects work.
We spent a total of 5 days in Barcelona, a perfect amount of time to relax and soak up the sights. The food was frankly some of the best I've eaten in a long time, tapas style eating enables you to try so many different things, you can tell the city has an underlying proudness about the style of food they produce. The sun shined the whole time and made me smile so much, nothing better than a big injection of vitamin D to pick you up!