I am 100% one of those annoying people that celebrate their birthdays for days, weeks and even months and 2017 was no different. For my 28th Birthday I managed to squeeze in a bottomless brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, a family dinner at The Anchor in Aspley Guise, an after work soirée with friends, a day trip to the Birmingham Christmas Markets and last but not least a little trip to Barcelona with Joss and my parents.
So why Barcelona? I love Spain and everything about the culture, I feel so at home there. My grandparents were Spanish so hearing the language, eating the food and being around so many people that remind me of my beloved grandparents and the childhood memories I cherish, always makes me happy. This trip was no exception.
We didn't actually cram a whole lot in to be perfectly honest, so my best bit of advice for visiting Barcelona would actually be to chill, take in the atmosphere, spend hours wandering and just enjoy the culture. It's much like Paris in that you can walk for hours, see so many beautiful places and just relax in completely different surroundings.
So grab yourself a Cuppa - or a Sangria if you really want to get in the mood - and have a read of my best bits.
Location, location, location
I always think location on a city break is super important and I always try to stay as close to the centre of town as possible. We stayed at a hotel called Acta Atrium Palace about a ten minute walk from Las Ramblas, so a prime location and I would definitely recommend it. Good price, easy location and lovely rooms with a balcony overlooking the city.
Barcelona is full of picturesque little side streets and unexpected little gems, but of course the main ones to note are the Gaudi buildings and the Sagrada Familia. We visited Casa Batlló and Parc Güell whilst we were there and both were pretty incredible, although my Mum was very upset that you now have to pay to walk up the steps and visit the main area. We didn’t hear the end of that!
Unfortunately for us we didn’t make the best unplanned food choices when it came to lunch and dinner. We ended up with a microwaved Paella in one restaurant by the harbour…
However, we did find a very quaint location called Plaça Reial which was not only full of choice when it came to traditional spanish food, but is also super picturesque. A perfect spot to grab that instagram shot against the backdrop of the bustling square, stunning fountain, palm trees and fairy lights.
But the pièce de résistance was the meal we ate at Barcelona’s 9nine - we opted for the set menu which was just delicious. Consisting of scallops, foie gras and eggs, steak and even squid ink pasta. I would highly recommend this restaurant for a feel good vibe, delicious food and fantastic wine. Thank you very much to my step-mother in law for the recommendation.
So, if you are planning a little weekend away in Europe you should absolutely think about Barcelona as a destination. Walk the narrow windy roads, listen to a lady sing Nessun Dorma outside one of the churches, eat olives in a local cafe, drink a cortado whilst the church bells ring and just enjoy the wonderful, beautiful sights.