Sooo... I decided that before I wack up a load of holiday snaps from Mexico I should probably post the ones from Barcelona which I have been sitting on for oh, only about five months now!!! Jeez, I had no idea that it had been that long. Anyway, I finally pulled my finger out so here you go - a little lookey-loo at what I got up to in the sunny Spanish city (lots more pictures after the jump!).
After doing some digging on TripAdvisor, aka the travel bible, we decided to stay at the Princess hotel in the Diagonal Mar district - a decision we were ultimately very happy with. This is definitely amongst the nicest hotels I've ever stayed in and they greeted us with cava and fresh fruit five minutes after we arrived - score!
The view we had wasn't too bad either. In front of us was Avinguda Diagonal, lined with so many plush trees that, from our view, it looked as if they grew down the centre of the street. We could also see the magnificent Segrada Familia towering over the skyline and to the right we had the pleasure of being able to watch the sun set behind the hills. The multitude of high rise buildings may not be for everyone but my dad brought us up with a great appreciation for impressive architecture so I really liked this aspect of the view, especially at sunset when everything gleamed in the low light.
Our hotel was also right next to the Diagonal Mar shopping mall (woop woop!) which has a rather quaint little courtyard outside with a few good restaurants to choose from so this is where we ended up for dinner most nights.
On the first night we went for tapas as we wanted to dive right into the Spanish cuisine, although it doesn't really look all that Spanish does it? Haha, I think I was too
greedy hungry to notice/care at the time!
Not sure crepes qualify as traditional Spanish food (they definitely don't) but they were delicious anyway.
When I'm going out on a date night dinner I tend to gravitate towards a similar outfit style... Dark skinny jeans (not all that fiest-friendly admittedly but hey - we can always unbutton!), a dressy top (loose-fitting - gotta have some give somewhere), heels (yay for sitting down!) and a clutch bag (yay for letting him carry the keys!).
I'd give the breakfast at the Princess Hotel an A-. Despite the odd anomaly that is to be expected when eating abroad (hot parma ham instead of bacon and er - asparagus, anyone?), the selection was really good and everything tasted great (trust me, I tried it all). My favourite aspect though was of course the fact that they had - wait for it - pancakes and waffles. Yup, I said it! Both. Compared to my last hotel breakfast selection in Paris which consisted of cold boiled eggs and boxed cereal, we hit the hotel breakfast jackpot. Like I literally, literally still have dreams about that breakfast. What can I say? I'm a foodie.
The one drawback to this hotel are the pools which are a little, shall we say, artistically photographed on the website... Okay, I'll say it, they were small. Unfortunately I couldn't get a good photo of them to show you as there was always people in them and I didn't want to look like a big perv. Also the one day we decided to lie out by the pool it wasn't that sunny at all so that was a bit of a pooper but I guess that one's more on Mother Nature than the people at the Princess Hotel. We'll let them off.
George (boyfriend) and I both managed to fall ill on different days while we were there (what are the chances?) but on the day he was ill I managed to entertain myself in the Diagonal Mar shopping mall next to our hotel. The mall housed a lot of my favourite recognisable brands such as Ingot, Sephora, Victoria's Secret and H&M so, needless to say, I did a little shopping!
Not at Chanel, haha - I wish! We just walked past this one on Passeig de Gràcia and I had to take a picture! What I wouldn't do for a mini flap bag... Or a large flap bag.... Or any Chanel bag ever made. Ever.
We became regulars at this American BBQ joint, Ribs, inside the Diagonal Mar mall. I really like the food here, it's great for when you just want some filling stodge!
The Princess Hotel is only a five minute walk from a great beach - score!
Inside the mall is also a great Japanese restaurant where we shared a delicious sushi platter followed by some really good noodles. I'd definitely go there again, the staff are also really friendly which is always a plus.
Onto the sighseeing! This magnificent structure is one tiny portion of the incredible La Sagrada Familiar, an awe-inspiring Roman Catholic church which was designed by the late architect Antoni Gaudi. Construction of the church began in 1882 and is not proposed to be finished until 2028 so by the time it's done it will have taken over 140 years to build - astonishing!
Next we went to visit another of Gaudi's beautiful building's, La Pedrera. Despite my less than love of heights, I absolutely fell in love with the rooftop on this building. It features lots of steps and little arches so it kind of feels like a peaceful playground where you just happen to also have a spectacular view of the city.
We also visited Casa Batllo but it was really difficult to get good pictures in there because we went at peak time when hundreds of other tourists were also milling around inside gawking at the curved walls and stained glass windows along with us. I definitely, definitely recommend that you pay it a visit though, it's like nothing you'll have seen before.
This seemingly innocent paella is the dreaded dish that gave me my aforementioned day of illness. I woke up later this night with crippling stomach pains. I thought I had gesture-enteritis again (worst day of my life ever) but it lasted less than 24 hours in the end so I don't know what was up but I definitely blame the food! To be honest I should have known shouldn't I, I mean, it doesn't really look all that apetising... It didn't taste all that good either to be honest so I can't even say it was worth it :( . I was just so hungry at the time! Ugh. Just looking at this makes my stomach hurt. I want to jump into the picture and shake my own shoulders like - "Don't do it! Don't do it!!!"
Oh, she did it.
On one of our more active sight-seeing days we stumbled across the Marcado de La Boqueria, a welcome escape from the throngs of people bustling along La Rambla at midday. This rather quaint little food market features about fifty-zillion fresh squeezed juice stalls as well as other treats like sweet, nuts and even meat. Definitely worth a visit, if only to marvel at the vast displays.
Barceloneta beach is a great place to spend an afternoon. It's a large beach that's relatively busy but not bustling so it's a great place to set up for the day and people-watch. Set up a towel and soak up the sun and, when it gets to lunch time, explore the many restaurants along the boardwalk.
A more succesful meal!
My favourite entertainment spot we visited by far was Opium beachfront restaurant/lounge/nightclub on the Barceloneta beach boardwalk. With large, white leather sofa beds, candles and soft pink lighting it's the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of sightseeing (or sunbathing!). It's also next door to Pacha nightclub amongst others so, once you've had a little R+R at the Opium lounge, you can get back on it straight away!
I hope you enjoyed having a nosey of our summer holiday and I really hope that, if you're planning a trip to Barcelona soon, some of my little pockets of information have been helpful to you and if you're not planning a trip to Barcelona - what's wrong with you?! Do it!!!
x Jade Mercedes Fraser x