Arriving in Barcelona from Madrid, it was straight to the hostel to drop my bags off before heading straight out again to grab a coffee. Although I’d intended to have some down time in Madrid, I ended up still trekking around the city to see new things. Instead, my time in Barcelona would be the down time I so sorely needed. So, after the coffee I hung out in the hostel bar with a plate of delicious patatas bravas and got to hunting for a job. Fun times.
The next day was a very slow day. After heading out for a coffee late morning, I hung out in the coffee shop for a while before heading to the shops for a bit of window shopping. It’s hard to have a super chilled day when staying in a hostel because you often don’t want to spend the day laying on your bed as other people come and go, and usually the chill out area of a hostel isn’t the same as lounging on your sofa for a day to watch tv. Come evening, I ventured out to the Gracia neighbourhood to check out their neighbourhood festival. Different sections of streets are decorated across the whole neighbourhood, each with a different theme, and I saw a few before deciding to come back again tomorrow to enjoy an evening there. I’d had the day I needed to recharge a little, and went to bed happier and ready to make the most of the next day.
Another lazy start to the day, but stepping out in to the sunshine always makes me feel re-energised. Heading straight for the harbour, I had a spot of shopping to do in Maremagnum, the shopping centre there. A quick refreshment stop and then off to the beach! I found a good bit of sand – well, sand is sand, isn’t it? – settled in with my headphones in, finished my book and caught up on some podcasts. The perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Wandering back to the hostel through the Gothic Quarter, I was starting to get a real lay of the land and didn’t need google maps to help me around. A quick freshen up and I took the 45-minute walk back to Gracia in the evening. I wandered around the rest of the neighbourhood to see the decorated streets I hadn’t managed to check out yesterday, stopped for a drink and to listen to some music. There was a correfoc which I hadn’t expected and so was a very pleasant surprise, and I really enjoyed the whole evening. I always think it’s a shame we don’t do parties like that in England, and I absolutely loved the community vibe of the whole fiesta.
Waking the next morning, I quickly realised I’d caught the sun a bit too much yesterday. Feeling a little like Ross from Friends when he tans too much on one side, I decided that I’d still go to the beach but just lay on my front to try and even the tan out. Limiting myself to just a few hours there, podcasts were again the main entertainment before heading back to the hostel to freshen up and head back out.
I’d read online that there was live music in Parc de la Ciutadella, a huge park just a short walk from the hostel. It was already starting to get dark as I arrived in the park, and it didn’t seem an entirely wise idea to wander around in a park in the dark on my own. As it turns out, there were plenty of people milling about, heading to and from the area where the music was. I followed the scattered crowds and found the most chilled out live music session, with a man playing the piano and about 200 people sat on chairs and surrounding grassy areas listening. I grabbed a seat and was quickly joined by a lady holding a sausage dog. I enjoyed the music, and the super laid back vibes, but of course also enjoyed having a sausage dog so close by!
The next day was spent mostly indoors, as I really had caught the sun a bit too much. I was hoping to find a job, so spent the day camped out in various coffee shops and cafes, indulging in far too much coffee and snacks to keep me going. I had come to the realisation that I was probably having the mini doughnuts in Tim Hortons too often, and while it wasn’t a problem because of how much walking I was doing, it was a bad habit to get into. As I made my way to Tim Hortons in the afternoon, I made a deal with myself – no mini doughnuts! And what would you know, they were giving them away for free! Ok, no doughnuts from tomorrow…
I needed to do something fun to finish the day because I had forgotten how rubbish it is trying to find a job. I’d read about a cool bar online that was set up like a stock exchange and the prices of drinks went up and down depending on demand. Deciding to try my first time in a bar on my own, I walked out to the bar, stopping by El Nacional on the way and discovering a really cool, fancy collection of restaurants. The bar, Dow Jones, was cool, although I was a little early by Spanish standards and it hadn’t really gotten lively while I was there. I didn’t feel entirely comfortable being in a bar on my own, so after a couple of cocktails I made my way back to the hostel, grabbing dinner on the way.
My last full day in Barcelona had just one item on the agenda – beach. I’d been kept up quite a lot in the night by some of the people in the dorm, so ended up having a nap on the beach while listening to a podcast. I thought about staying to watch the sunset, but it was getting a bit chilly so I went back to the hostel to freshen up before making my way back to the harbour to catch my last sunset. I’ve seen the sunset a few times in the harbour, and know how pretty it looks as the sun dips behind Montjuic. Sadly, as I neared the harbour I realised that there was a huge ferry in the way, so while the sunset was pretty, I couldn’t get any decent pictures. Never mind.
Deciding I’d treat myself for my last night in Barcelona with dinner out, I ventured to a paella place near the hostel. The thought of paella filled my mind the whole walk there; the yummy rice, the delicious vegetables. But for some reason, as I sat down, I ordered something completely different. It was quite a small meal and I was so gutted, because I could imagine how much the paella would have filled me up. On some kind of hunger rampage, I got some chips, sat on a bench in Placa de Catalunya to eat them and dropped the ketchup on my shorts. It was in a really dodgy spot, so I decided to try to wash them in the sink to stop it staining. Then of course, denim jeans don’t dry quickly, and the dorm is so cold with the a/c that there was no chance of them drying overnight. So my last night in Barcelona was spent washing ketchup out of my jeans and holding them under a hand dryer to try and dry them. Should have just got the darn paella.
Next morning I was all packed up, damp shorts and all, and heading to Barcelona Sants for the train to my next stop – Girona!