After saying goodbye to Paris, I flew from Paris to Barcelona for just £10 with Ryan Air (again, through Skyscanner!). When we landed in Barcelona, we took Aerobus or the express shuttle (€5.90) from the airport into the city where it dropped us right where our hostel was within 15-20 mins. For this trip, we stayed with Urbany Hostel BCN GO! Which, again, impressed me in every way. First, I stayed in the Deluxe 6 Bed Female Dorm En-suite which only costed €15 per night. Second, I was impressed with the mini desk and light that was included inside our bunk beds. Of course I appreciate the curtains and the little drawer at the bottom for stowing away our luggage or personal belongings. The difference between this hostel compared to the St. Christopher’s Inn in Paris was that the locker under our beds are locked via the key card they give us. This key card is used throughout the whole facility such as using the elevators or going into certain rooms and obviously your own room. This key card is then used again to lock your lockers. In Paris, our hostel did provide us with a luggage storage under our beds, however, we have to buy our own locks to secure it.
I have to be honest and say that, although I am impressed with my room, the beds are not comfortable. It squeaks quite often whenever I move and so it was quite annoying. However, I was quite lucky because I had the whole room to myself! I must have stayed during a low season because there were six beds in my room and I had it all to myself. My room was also an en-suite, therefore I also had my own bathroom to myself! I knew I paid a little more for the deluxe room, so perhaps it was less likely to be booked since a lot of travelers probably wanted to pay less and maybe they didn’t mind being in a room with more people.
The deluxe room provided me with a hair dryer, which kept turning off after five minutes of being used due to energy saving; so imagine how long it took me to dry my hair (bare in mind, I have very thick hair, too)–an hour… Jeez, I can’t emphasize how lucky I was to be alone in the room again or else I would have caused such a pain to my roommates by being in the bathroom for so long. Last but not least, my room also provided me with a hair straightener! I wish more hostels and hotels would provide their guests with hair styling tools so that we can save our luggage space and not have to add on that extra weigh of carrying them. Plus, this also saves people the hassle of having to rely on adapters if they were to bring electronics from another country.
Urbany Hostel BCN GO! is apparently well-known for their sangria. They’re not only cheap but they taste super great. I am a huge fan of sangria and I order it almost every time I have the opportunity to drink so when I paid less than €2, I was mind-blown. I also cannot stop complimenting hostels on how wonderful the people are. I’ve met people at the bar and they were all so friendly and asked me where I was from. Hostels are truly my new favorite place to make new friends.
Travelling in Barcelona is amazingly cheap. The transportation fares are affordable and convenient just like in Paris. I was with Mahesh in Barcelona, so for two people, we only needed to purchase one ticket which was the T-10 card. The T-10 card is part of the Integrated tickets and multi-journey tickets so it allows multiple users to travel together in 10 journeys on a bus or the train. Our card was a one zone type and it only costed €10.20. Unlike our Paris trip, we managed to use this card on both the tram, metro and bus.
Our first stop was Park Güell, a beautiful park that was designed by Antoni Gaudí, a renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism. Our journey from the hostel to the garden took about 50 mins to get to by the #24 El Carmel Bus (just 2-3 mins walk away from the hostel) that stopped directly in front of the park. When we got to the park, I fell in love with Barcelona. When I first landed in the UK, I never thought about going to Barcelona because I never really talked about it or hear much about it with my group of friends in Canada. However, I knew I wanted to visit Spain, so Barcelona was a phenomenal introduction for me to Spain. I was so glad I was outside of the UK because the weather was nice and warm and I didn’t have to worry about being cold. I was even able to pull out my shades and walked around as if it was summer.
I wish I could have a house in Park Güell because you cannot imagine how crazy I am with gardens. I love flowers, cactus and trees because it makes me feel like I am somewhere far away from the stress of a city. I was even more excited to see the palm trees because it felt like I was back home in Thailand. I loved every minute I was in this park and I had a good work out walking up and down the massive stairs for about two hours.
Our next stop was the Sagrada Família, the largest unfinished Roman Catholic church in the world which was also designed by Antoni Gaudí. I was frustrated to see all the constructions surrounding the cathedral but it didn’t stop me from admiring how crazy and beautiful it was. My first thought when I saw the church was how the top part reminded me of corns and I thought that was hilarious.
We managed to find the time to visit the beach as well, even when it was the night time. I loved how empty it was and there is just something about a quiet beach that makes me feel so happy and peaceful.
I can’t end my Barcelona post without talking about the Spanish food here! I went to a couple of restaurants here in hope of wanting to try something I’ve never had before. Our first stop was in a little cafe near our hostel where we both ordered Bocadillo and vermouth. I hated how they put olives on every thing because I hate olives, but hey, it still tasted great after I took them out.
For lunch, we wanted to try the real Tapas experience, so after walking for awhile, we found El Cargolet Picant where they served Tapas for two people for only €15-20. There were a lot of people in the restaurant and it was quite hard to get the server’s attention. However, what I’ve learned from this experience was to be loud and assertive when it comes to flagging for their attention. We also got a pitcher of sangria alongside our Tapas; the funny thing was, it didn’t come with fruit. Mahesh and I laughed at this because we felt like either they don’t know what a true sangria was or they forgot to add the fruits in.
El Cargolet Picant
08028, Carrer de la Riera Blanca, 7, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
I don’t have the best word to describe how delicious the tapas was. Despite it all being fried and greasy, it just tasted so damn good. There was this one particular item on the tapas that I fell in love with. I asked the server what it was called but I could not understand a word he was saying, so I gave up. It was just this crab filled with a savory and creamy custard… just talking about it makes me wish I have one right now.
Our last meal of the day in Barcelona was also at a small restaurant near our hostel. I wanted to try a Paella before I leave so that’s how we ended up in the small restaurant that I cannot remember the name of. It was, again, very affordable and managed to also try out the Spanish omelette which was super salty. The Paella was the perfect end to my trip in Barcelona and I am hoping to learn how to make my own sometime in the future.
I would like to end my blog by saying, again, that I fell in love with Barcelona. I am actually considering in moving here for a couple of years and learn of its culture and language. I’ve always loved Spanish and wanted to learn how to speak it; so what better way to learn it than by living in a country that speaks it, right? When I first saw the city, I was quite fascinated by the city’s parallel image of both Vancouver and Asia. There were a lot of tall buildings and there were exotic plants, warm weather and motorcycles! I was amazed when I saw how modern Barcelona was because I always had this image in my head that it would be a little ancient…but boy, I was wrong! The public transportation system was very advanced, clean and affordable. Food was also delicious and cheap and I needed a place with a nice beach, after all. I felt like there was more to explore in Barcelona and Spain and that was the reason why I felt I wanted to stay a little longer.
Another thing to note to travelers is that there were less English speakers in Barcelona that in other cities I’ve been to like Paris or Amsterdam. Throughout my journey in Barcelona, only people in the airport, hostel, or on the bus were able to speak English to me. People in restaurants, cafes or the shops spoke little to no English. It was certainly not a problem as I appreciate their language and wanting to learn it as well; but it was definitely harder to communicate. So before you head to Spain, learn the language!