There is too much to see in Barcelona. I mean there are over 55 museums at least 7 Gaudi projects, over 4.5 KM of beach and just the tapas bars I visited alone totalled one thousand and two. Where do you even start?
Barcelona has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and walking around you can feel in. Fresh air is replaced by people and crowds and the prices of drinks increase as you get closer to its core. With over 600 pickpocketing incidents reported each year, Barcelona is also named the pickpocketing capital of the world. Yet a city on a beach and the pull of autumnal sunshine was enough to tip the balance. I’ve always wanted to see Barcelona and figure out what all the fuss is about.
A perfect weekend in Barcelona.
I love a good city break but I’ve learnt you can try and squeeze too much in. From waking up at 6am in Rome to see the sights before the city warmed up, to planning a full walking tour of THE WHOLE of Paris and not leaving time to just ‘see’ any of it. To explore a new place and walk where the winds might take you, following the smell of fresh coffee and homemade bread. So this time, with Barcelona we thought we’d break some of the rules. Like that time we went to Hong Kong and spent our whole weekend searching for speakeasies down hidden alleyways and long lost shopping malls.
We decided to walk off the beaten trail and spend some time (most of our time) lunching and brunching in incredible cafes and bars, something we would rarely do at home. Eating on pavements and drinking in cobbled squares, filling our already full stomachs with more bread and more tapas. We timed it perfectly for the killer sunset view on the rooftop bar and the blisters on my feet, still show the scars of why you probably shouldn’t walk 20,000 steps in a pair of new converse trainers, but I came back from a city break and I didn’t feel like I needed another holiday.
I love Spain, Spanish culture and all of its varied and different regions. All I wanted to do was sit and soak it all up. Let the smell and sounds of a new city sink into my skin. With a good book, good food and a good view, Barcelona fitted the bill.
Do you know what you want?
I think we need to spend more time knowing ourselves and what we want out of a holiday or a city break rather than reading what we should or shouldn’t do. We should ask what memories do we want to make? What will the story of our weekend be? Do you want a holiday suitcase full of worn our shoes and sweat-filled clothes or a backpack filled with books and t-shirts that smell faintly of suncream and laughter? You can have both. But what really matters is what fills you up, what makes you feel like you’ve explored or rested?
We started with Billy Brunch on Saturday and we cued for over 30 minutes with locals and regulars and the tourists and holidaymakers. We made our way to the Instagram famous brunch and cake and then we headed to another – Panorama. Not all on the same day, I might add. But we slowed downtime by letting the demands of the city pull other people into bustling corners, whilst we let the day roll on as if it would last all night.
We saw some incredible historical sights and the passion and fortitude of Gaudi’s work left a real impression on me. The ability to see what you want, and rally an army to build it for you is incredible. But it wasn’t until we were on our way home when the other parts of Barcelona, that parts we didn’t see and didn’t really understand, started to bubble to the surface.
I’ve never seen so many protesters, so many people walking through a city. Barcelona was brought to a standstill as we made our way to the airport. Flags and banners. Shouts and tears. Anger and division.
We often think we know what’s going on, but we don’t. We often see the surface, but we don’t see the underneath. We see what’s reported but we don’t always know what the truth is. We see what’s in a guide book or on an Instagram post but we don’t see the background, behind the scenes. It’s the same with the smile we might show or the perfect picture you might see. Have you asked your friends how they are really doing? If they are really ok? Are you confident you know what’s going on behind the scenes?
Slowing down time
I believe we are all striving to live a life worth writing about, and it is in the striving towards it that counts and makes all the difference. You don’t need to be brunching in Barcelona to see how beautiful the day to day life of another city is. You just need to take notice of the life you are living now. Be motivated to cultivate movements, days, minutes in your life that feel good and make you take notice. Tell someone what is really going underneath the surface and make space to taste your life again. Whether it’s brunch on a street corner or your first cup of tea at 5am. Your life is what you decide it to be. You don’t need to follow anyone else rules. Just take notice of the things that matter you and know yourself, inside out. So you’re not pulled to follow the tracks of someone else’s path.
You can check out my Barcelona highlights on my Instragam. Have you been to Barcelona? How did you get on? I’d love to hear all about it. Drop me a comment below.