I was overwhelmed by the wonderful feedback received on the first instalment of my Barcelona posts and so before I continue to throw more bouquets of flowers at Barcelona, let me thank you all for your continued support - it really is heartwarming!
The first day spent in Barcelona was full of excitement and a healthy amount of uncertainty, for as much travelling as I have done over the years, Spain was new territory for me. The anxiety of what to expect was obliterated after wandering around in the evening and soaking up the infectious nonchalance that seems to counteract Barcelona's electrifying atmosphere. So, we returned to our hotel room at the H10 Casanova feeling assured, fortunate and excited for the new day to start..
We packed our first full day spent in the city with numerous activities to ensure we made the most of the trip. As part of the competition's prize, I was able to select the tour of my choice and considering there are very few people in the world who would actively opt out of being driven around with the wind in their hair, I chose the City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Tour. There was quite the queue for the tour, although we weren't deterred for when it comes to tourist activities, popularity is rarely a bad thing! Though something that can be a bad thing, is burning your shoulders - guess who forgot to use sunscreen?! A tip I could provide by drawing from my own experience of using the City Sightseeing Bus service, would be to accept the option of sitting downstairs on the tour at first as there is a consistently high turnover of sightseers on the open air section of the bus, meaning you can make your way upstairs for a better view within a stop or two! By exercising our 'little grey cells' (any Agatha Christie's Poirot enthusiasts out there?) and cunning, we were able to glide past two dozen people standing before us in the queue!
The first stop that interested us enough to excitably scuttle off the bus, maps in hand, was the La Sagrada Familia, an architectural masterpiece that is still in the process of being created. We killed two birds with one stone at this stop by enjoying a chance to sit down and enjoy some delicious churros dipped in a pool of dense warm chocolate.. although my mum dominated the churros scene, leaving me to enjoy my white chocolate ice cream after sampling a bite or two of said churros, that is.
I'm not sure that this will apply to many people, however as a general rule I feel much more comfortable when surrounded by crowds and especially so when it's been made apparent that the crowd has gathered to celebrate the same thing, put it down to a sense of comradery? Anyway, the La Sagrada Familia had a definite sense of warmth that connected the crowd, achieved both through the sheer beauty and size of Antoni Gaudi's vision, as well as the knowledge that positioned in front of the crowd was the incredible, laborious continuation of a masterpiece started two centuries ago, back in 1882.
Back onto the bus, six postcards heavier, we continued our City Sightseeing exploration until we reached our next desired destination, Park Guell. It seems that whatever Gaudi turned his hand to materialised as a shining example of the highest standard of design and architecture, making it not at all difficult to understand why so many architectural students flock to Barcelona. This destination had an unusual ambience that was close to suggesting opulence or at the very least, well-deserved patriotic pride. As soon as we laid eyes on a small cafe within the idyllic setting, we immediately ordered cheese-smothered 'Baguetinas' and found ourselves a table. Fate was on our side, as though many tray-bearing tourists were hovering around awaiting free seats, a view-facing table opened up just as I was standing beside it, allowing us to enjoy our lunch whilst admiring examples of Gaudi's work from afar with a backdrop of the ocean's horizon in the distance. Due to time constraints, we just scratched the surface, however I fully intend to revisit at some point in the future to discover all that Park Guell has to offer!
Our last adventure of the Friday spent in Barcelona, was to get dolled up and make our way to the Hard Rock Cafe! I Instagrammed my outfit for dinner out on this evening, however the main attraction was of course the venue. We chose to dine outdoors, for although the calendar insisted it was October, the weather suggested otherwise by providing us with 22ºC heat and a comfortable corner table surrounded by inviting bushes. After a long day of sightseeing, a meal three times the size of our stomachs was needed and the Hard Rock Cafe certainly never disappoints when it comes to challenging your limits!
I ordered a bacon cheeseburger with a side of chips that I most likely never even glanced at in fear of fainting after conquering the burger, but the real treat came when dessert was served; chocolate molten cake. The dessert is described by the Hard Rock on their website as a ''dense, chocolatey cake with a lava-like center of rich, oozing molten chocolate'' - can you see why I ordered this?!
Another post, another day covered and there's no point in denying that I'm thoroughly looking forward to sharing the next day of my Barcelona experience with you in part three.. coming soon!