The Barcelona Edit
This World 004
Before life as we know it changed forever and we were allowed to travel, I went on a birthday trip to Barcelona along with my friend. Barcelona is a very picturesque city and the weather helped as well. I went at the start of March when the weather was a bit warmer than in the UK. The city was still a bit windy and you would need a light jacket when going out, but the blue skies made up for it.
Pre-planning is important in order to make the most out of your trip. The sites we used to plan this trip were:
The Culture Trip
Jenna’s Worldview - https://www.jennasworldview.com/2018/10/30/solo-adventures-in-barcelona/ & https://www.jennasworldview.com/2018/10/23/free-flow-in-barcelona/
Here is my itinerary for my trip to Barcelona and what I would recommend…
We landed in Barcelona in the early afternoon which meant that we had the opportunity to do something after settling into our hotel. After travelling for a couple of hours, we were quite hungry and decided to get something we all know and love… McDonald’s. As we had just arrived and didn’t want to venture out too far or spend time deciding what to eat, this was a fairly easy option. McDonald’s was about a 15-minute walk away from the hotel, a benefit of getting a hotel that is quite central to most of the tourist attractions. I would 100% agree with those who say that the menus of places like McDonald’s and KFC are so much better in other countries. After getting our food, we headed back to the hotel to rest for a bit.
When looking for things to do prior to our trip, Solange was suggested a few times. Solange, a bar, was walking distance from our hotel. I feel like this bar is what I picture when people say grown and sexy. It was giving me 1920s rich James Bond vibes and the cocktails served weren’t your typical Mojitos or Tequila Sunrises. I would definitely recommend this bar. It was a good place to go, especially on our first night as we didn’t have much energy to have a proper night out. The bar is very relaxed, and the staff were very nice.
On the second day, the weather was nice enough to walk to La Rambla which was about 20 minutes away. La Rambla is quite similar to Oxford Street in London and, for the same reason, attracts lots of people. If you aren’t familiar with Oxford Street, La Rambla is a street/area with a lot of shopping. There were shops along the road and also in the El Triangle shopping centre. A lot of the shops were similar to those you would find around Oxford Street e.g. Primark, H&M, Niketown, Urban Outfitters. We also came across La Boqueria, a really big market selling different foods and wines. Barcelona is a very picturesque city which makes exploring the La Rambla area more enjoyable.
La Rambla is home to the two-storey NBA Café. It is a must-go if you are a hardcore NBA fan. I’m not too sure what kind of food they serve or what the actual café looks like upstairs as I didn’t go there to eat. However, downstairs is an attraction in and of itself. On the wall, as you enter, are 3-4 popular players including Steph Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The pictures are to scale, and you can stand in front and measure how tall you are compared to them. There are also basketball moulds with player handprints which you can put your hands in. On the floor are images of player footprints and their shoe size which you can compare to your own shoes. Did you know that Shaq is a size 22?! At the top of the stairs is a glass cabinet with jerseys of every single NBA team which I thought was pretty cool.
La Rambla is also home to the Erotic Museum. The museum takes you through quite a lot of history, especially how sex and sexuality in art has changed over time and the differences worldwide. It was quite interesting, however I thought it was a bit overpriced. I would still recommend it though.
To eat, we went to Hard Rock Café. This was my first time going to a Hard Rock Café anywhere in the world. It was very busy, so we had to wait for a bit, but the wait wasn’t very long. We had a look in the shop and around the restaurant. Glass features around the restaurant display iconic items and outfits of the Rock & Roll genre such as Madonna’s teddy and a signed guitar played by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. When you sit down the waiter gives you a scratch card giving you the chance to win a prize or discount. Now you’re reading the blogpost of an owner of a free Hard Rock Café Barcelona T-Shirt. I ordered the Twisted Mac, Chicken and Cheese and the Rock House Rum Punch. We were asked if we wanted the glass the cocktail came in. I was confused as to why we were being asked but when the bill came it turned out that we had actually bought a glass like the one the cocktail came in. Luckily, I was in good spirits and didn’t mind. It’s something different to your usual keychain.
There were quite a few recommendations for good bars in Barcelona including Espit Chupitos. Espit Chupitos is known for having over a 100 different shot flavours. They also have a variety of cocktail jugs that you can choose from. Some of their shots are known to be experiences. When we walked in, we saw a group being served a shot that involved fire and smoke. I’m not too sure why or what the shot was but it looked exciting. It was recommended to try the Monica Lewinsky shot and there was a lot of secrecy around what flavour the shot was. We didn’t end up ordering it, but we did find out what the shot was and it’s a very interesting one to say the least. As it was a Friday night the bar was packeddd, like any other bar anywhere in the world. I would recommend getting a jug cocktail. If you’re stuck for choice in terms of what flavour to get, ask your bartender to recommend you one. The one I had was purple and that’s pretty much all I can tell you.
On the day of my birthday, we went to Barcelona Zoo. The zoo was at the end of Parc de la Ciutadella, which is also home to museums and other attractions. Barcelona, as I said, is a very picturesque city and the park is no different. The zoo itself was quite reasonably priced and wasn’t very busy. However, quite a few of the animals were hibernating or had been moved away from the public. Despite this, we did see a lot of different animals. A lot of their birds are able to walk around freely so you’re able to come up close to peacocks and guinea fowls which is quite cool. The birds also don’t seem phased by the activity around them and go about their business.
In the evening, we went to a popular club and restaurant called Shôko. It is one of four clubs in Villa Olimpica. This area is a hotspot for nightlife and club queues can go right around the club buildings. You are able to put your name on the guestlist on their website which allows you to jump the queue and get free entry. However, there is a time you must get there for. We just missed the time to get there but were able to pay a reduced price of 10€. I was actually quite surprised by the music being played. My music taste can be so particular especially when it comes to clubs. A lot of Afro-Trap (especially MHD) was played, some reggaeton and obviously your mainstream pop songs. There were also some recent dancehall and afrobeats songs played which shocked me more than anything. I would definitely recommend Shôko. It also seemed to be the most popular that day. It is important to note that the taxi apps don’t seem to have a lot of taxis available when you leave the club. There is a taxi rank but there weren’t a lot of taxis waiting. We had to try a few different taxi apps and waited a while before we were able to get a taxi back.
El Poblenou is said to be like Shoreditch (London). I’m not sure if it was because it was a Sunday or that we just went to wrong part but there just seemed to be housing and basketball courts. After realising that there wasn’t much to do in that area, we took a tram to the Disseny Museum which was a couple stops away. The museum seemed to be like the Tate Modern in London. However, the actual exhibits were closed to the public due to it being International Women’s Day. Since the day at that point had been unsuccessful, we decided to go back to La Rambla. On our way back to our hotel, we understood why IWD meant that the museum was closed. It turns out that there was a march to commemorate IWD. People of all ages were wearing purple with signs to either celebrate women or protest various issues that affect them. Each road you walked along; people were passing by in purple to join the march.
That evening we were back at Villa Olimpica to try out the club Opium. The area was a lot less busy compared to the day before. I really had the time of my life here. That Sunday at Opium was the Black & Gold: Afro Trap & Urban night which meant that the music would really be my kind of music. We bought our tickets online for 10€ which got us entry and a free drink. The DJs were playing primarily reggaeton and dancehall with some other genres here and there. During the night, a member of staff came up to us and gave us a voucher for another free drink and free VIP entry. When I say the enjoyment that day was serious, I really mean it.
As it was our last day, we wanted to have a more chilled day. On our airport shuttle to our hotel, the driver pointed out Arenas de Barcelona and mentioned that that is where they used to have bull fighting. Arenas de Barcelona is now a remodelled six-storey shopping centre with the historical exterior still being maintained. There is also a 360° rooftop view of the city, a museum, cinema, cultural centre and more. There is a good range of stores available including Lush, Kiko and Sephora.
I really love Mexican food, so I wanted to get some at least once. La Hacienda is a colourful restaurant with paintings all over the walls. We got nachos to share and I ordered a chicken quesadilla with a frozen strawberry margarita. The staff were really nice, and the service was good.
We booked the trip through Lastminute.com as a package deal. The package came to about £400 per person and included British Airways return flights, a double hotel room, 1 piece of checked luggage (added on), airport shuttle to and from the hotel (added on) and booking insurance (added on). I think this is quite a reasonable price for all that was included and thankfully we didn’t have any problems at any point during the trip regarding the package. When booking you are able to choose from a range of hotels which may increase or decrease the price.
We researched a few hotels and chose BCN Urban Hotels Gran Rosellon. As I mentioned before, the hotel is in a good location to walk to majority of the places I mention in this blogpost. If you are going on a city break, getting a hotel in good location like this is a huge bonus as it saves money and time.
It was not possible to walk everywhere. Where needed, we used taxi apps to get around. Uber didn’t work at our hotel location but there are a range of other options. We used Taxi Ecologic, Cabify and FreeNow. The prices were reasonable and you’re able to choose whether you would like to pay by card or cash. You may need to switch between apps depending on time of day or destination. We also found that some may not let you book at certain times or if the ride gets cancelled.
If the tram is going to be an option for you on your trip, it is a pretty straightforward and cheap way to travel. They have a range of ticket options which help you to save money if you’re taking multiple trips. As long as you know where you are and where you are going, you shouldn’t have any problems. You can buy tickets at the tram stops.
I tried to figure out how to use the bus and buy tickets. I was so confused that I just closed the webpage.
It is important when taking spending money to bear in mind that Barcelona can be a bit expensive, especially when it comes to food. I would recommend taking some cash but also getting a currency card. When I went to China, we were encouraged to get a Caxton Card and since then its been my go-to anywhere I go around the world. You are able to load your home currency onto the card. Once at your travel destination, you can use the card at an ATM as normal without charges and take out money at the live exchange rate. You can also use it to pay in stores, restaurants etc.
Recommendations are scored out of 5.
The value for money is scored using £ with £££££ being most expensive and £ being least
Solange – 4/5, ££££
La Rambla – 4/5, £££
Hard rock Café – 4/5, ££££
Erotic Museum – 3/5, ££££
Espit Chupitos – 5/5, ££
Barcelona Zoo – 4/5, ££
Shôko – 4/5, ££
El Poblenou – 2/5
Opium – 5/5, ££
Arenas de Barcelona – 3/5, £
La Hacienda – 4/5, ££
Visit my main Instagram (@ronitatemitayo_) and click on my Spain highlight to see some of what I got up to in Barcelona and what I wore…