Barcelona, I love you
The last time I went there was in March and my husband and I only had two days. It was still a bit chilly and it rained one of the two days. Not that I didn't like our time in Barcelona then, it was just a bit more difficult to enjoy the city when you are looking for the next place to sit down and warm up ALL THE TIME. There was a certain amount of alcohol necessary to get in a relaxed Barcelona mood, most of the time, the city felt a bit overwhelming and stressful.
This time, in June, I went to Barcelona with my best friend and it was long awaited. We had planned this trip a year before already, but then I had an accident and we couldn't go. So this time, we tried everything to make it happen, to not get sick, not to miss our flights and to avoid anything else, that could get in the way of our four day long stay. Just in the last moment, about 10 days before the date, our room got canceled via AirBnB, but we were lucky enough to find something else, still in our budget and in an OK location. In fact, it wasn't the worst staying not in the very center but in a residential area. We had two metro stations just around the corner and the area was pretty quiet at night.
Next tip, when being on a budget: use the local supermarkets and markets to buy breakfast and snacks throughout the day. We had breakfast everyday at our apartment and later on bought some olives, bocadillos (sandwiches), fruit or pasteles (pastries) on the way. This saved us a lot of money and was the best way to do it for us. Whenever we found a nice spot, be it a park bench, the stairs of the Catedral de Barcelona or some shadowy spot on the promenade of the Port de Barcelona, we sat down, had a snack and had a nice little break.
Next thing that really took us places: walking! Walk as much as you can. Next thing, equally as important: pack comfortable shoes. We didn't. Or better, we thought, we had packed comfy shoes, shoes we had already worn a million times, but we both ended up with foot pain and blisters. So pack trekking sandals or something like that. And then, go :) We saw the nicest places when walking the streets of the city and we wouldn't have, if we had taken a taxi, a tourist bus or something else.
One time, when exploring the Montjuïc mountain, we found a hidden outdoor café in the middle of a pine forest, where you could overlook the ocean and enjoy a nice café con hielo (espresso with ice) and something to eat. There was Jazz playing and it seemed like there were only Spaniards coming to the place.
One day, while visiting the Tibidabo mountain, we entered the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and stumled into a gospel concert. We sat down and listened to the choir singing in Catalá and English and it was so good! We felt so lucky to experience this, the audience was clapping and dancing and everybody was invited to sing along. Definitely something I won't forget!
Alltogether, it was a very musical trip. We also attended a classical concert of the orchestra and the choir of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where we met an old friend of mine, who is living in Barcelona now. We watched a flamenco band and two Flamenco dancers in the Park Güell, in front of the cathedral on the Tibidabo mountain there was a little Country music event and everywhere else, there was some street musician or concert. At some point, it almost felt staged, because everywhere we saw people dancing or making music, as if all the Spaniards wanted to prove that they are as passionate as you always hear about. We enjoyed it a lot!
Last but not least: don't miss out on the ocean! You have to go, it is the best after long days of walking, climbing up stairs and walking down hills. Maybe you don't have to go to the Barceloneta, it's the nearest beach to the city center, but it's also pretty touristy. We went to two different beaches, once to the Platja de Llevant and once to Badalona. Both beaches were very nice and not overcrowded.
And now I let some more pictures speak for themselves...