Barcelona…

I first visited Barcelona when I was on a school trip that I had successfully managed to negotiate with my parents. I don’t remember too much about the trip although I do remember; our coach driver having a double belly button piercing, a trip to PortAventura, a bout of sun stroke, the purchasing of a pair of bell bottom jeans with safety pins up the sides and a trip to a water park where I have my earliest memory of seeing pubic hair.

Circa July 2017 and my second trip to Barcelona…

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This time I’m not getting on a coach with my fellow pupils to travel from Exeter to Barcelona on a 39 hour trip. Nope, adult Natalie can afford to fly Ryanair. I was expecting to have none of my previous experiences on this trip and hoped for a laid back trip with my love but a part of me wondered if at some point I’d lose him to a ball on the beach. He does love a kick about.

I think that it’s easy for Barcelona to be dubbed the city of eternal tourism, it doesn’t really seem to have a quiet season but it isn’t all elbow to elbow. There were in fact a lot more things about Barcelona that I loved than I expected and this populated city gave me plenty of content for my instafeed.

As you do when one blogs about travel, I have put a handful of the things I found appealing into a medium(ish) post for you to take a gander at. Here goes, 5 things I loved…

Barcelona, I loved…

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The balconies! Barcelona has as many balconies as there are hot dinners served. I kid you not. What most fascinated me was the feeling that each balcony seemed to be an extension of the occupiers personality. It’s the equivalent of looking under a teenagers bed, through the travel trunk of an elderly member of the family or the google search of a millennial. Go to Barcelona and you’ll understand.

Barcelona, I loved…

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The views! There are plenty of picnic spots, sunny terraces and shady retreats from which you can take in the view over the city.

My favourite view was from Mirableu, an open sided restaurant and bar located at the foot of Mount Tibidabo. With a cool drink in hand and a burger called the Nebraska which dripped with juice with each bite, I was in a happy place.

Usually some effort has to be made to get to these high points and being the shorter gaited person in the relationship can certainly be exhausting. My fitness tracker was reading an alarmingly high number of active steps.

Barcelona, I loved…

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Getting to know the locals! It’s well circulated that getting to know people on your travels is one of the top perks but I also like to seek out the real locals, what’s not to love about meeting the local wildlife!

I really enjoy capturing the pond dwellers, tree toppers and parkland pioneers of the fur and feathered kind. Cities are often thought of as urban, concrete filled spaces with  having very little space for nature but actually quite the opposite is true.

Nature is uncanny in the way it adapts to its environment and the challenges of everyday urban living. Fun fact my trusty reader; did you know that in London pigeons have started using the trains to get from one place to another in search of more crumbs! Yes they can fly but the little Columbidaes have figured out a much quicker route to grub, I’m not ashamed to admit the pigeon is likely my spirit animal.

Barcelona, I loved…

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Following my feet! Nick and I, as I’ve already alluded too, walk a lot. We get about/pound the pavement/tread the boards… well that’s me done. If you walk, you’ll see and that is a moto worth sticking to plus it ups my average daily steps and makes me feel less terrible about the 106 steps kinda days.

We’ve never failed to find something out of the ordinary by winding our way through places upon our own pairs of feet. Public transport isn’t to be sniffed at, we frequent the metro’s, buses and trams because sometimes to make the most of time you may need to hop on and off a faster mode of travel. The transport system in Barcelona is a pretty easy system to figure out, I’m a country bumpkin by heart so if I can get by I have no doubt any city dweller will navigate it with ease.

The problematic side to Barcelona is the level of petty crime that occurs on the streets and the public transport systems. This small point ISN’T a reason NOT to visit but to simply encourage best practice. Check out Barcelona Yellow for up-to-date guidance on avoiding petty crime within the city. It is worth remembering that when travelling to any city or built up area there is always risk especially with petty crimes such as pick pocketing and it is ALWAYS worth exercising caution where ever you travel. I’ve experienced theft and it was in my local city of Exeter in the rolling hills of the county of Devon, so far (touch wood) nowhere else!

Barcelona, I loved…

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The back streets… The hustle and bustle of Barcelona mid July can get a little tiresome and if you’re a bumpkin like myself then a shady timeout is what you may find yourself needing once in a while. It’s surprising how close these little areas of respite are to the main drags, so don’t be put off by thoughts of spending hours trying to find such places.

Tall, balcony faced apartment buildings rise up either side and appear to lean in and almost touch tops. Independent businesses; cafes, boutiques and bars inhabit the foundations with their pull down doors decorated with various designs of graffiti.

I loved these little character filled warrens so much so that I purchased a street artists watercolour illustration of such a place and it happily lives displayed in my entrance hall of my cottage.

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So those are some of my LOVES, well five to be exact, all encompassed good food and wine (I tapped up the tapas). If you decide to head to Barcelona I would REALLY recommend Mirableu (see LOVE number 2), it was a gorgeous spot and the food was ‘what is this magic’ kinda level!

Thanks for the read, Nat x

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