My husband is my favorite travel partner. He lets me handle all the logistics when we travel: choosing what we’re going to do, figuring how how we’re getting there, and determining how long it will take, etc. Basically, it just means I do all the work, but I love it. If I’d been born a few decades earlier, I totally would have been a travel agent.
When we decided to visit Barcelona a few weeks ago, Matt said he wanted to be more involved in the planning this time. Although it was hard for me to let go of the responsibility, we decided he would be in charge of finding us a place to stay in Barcelona. He searched online, found a decent-looking hostel with a private room and bathroom near Las Ramblas, and booked it. At least we thought he did.
We landed in Barcelona on a Thursday evening after a short two and a half hour flight and hopped on a bus that dropped us off a few blocks from the hostel. Even though our travel time from Amsterdam was short, I was still looking forward to putting down my bag and drinking a nice cold sangria. We arrived at the hostel and gave our name to the girl at the front desk. She then spent a few minutes too long looking through the papers on her desk and clicking around on her computer. When she asked us to repeat that the name the reservation was made under, I knew something was wrong.
We still have no idea what happened, but the hostel didn’t have any record of our reservation. I was sitting right next to Matt when he found the hostel online and I swear I saw him make the reservation. The girl felt really bad and offered to let us see the only room they had available—a tiny single room with a twin bed. There was no way in hell that was happening, so we decided to take our chances and find another place. The girl said there was another hostel around the corner, so we headed in that direction.
We walked into the first hostel we saw and asked if they had a room available for the next three nights. They did! Plus, it was cheaper than the hostel we originally “booked”. Crisis averted. I have to admit that in the 10 minutes between being told we had no reservation and then actually finding a place to stay, I was freaking out and mentally preparing myself to sleep in the park while Matt was optimistic. But this is just another example of why I love traveling with him. We balance each other out.
After that little fiasco, the rest of our trip was smooth sailing. We spent our first evening barhopping until almost 4 a.m. and both suffered for it on Friday. We powered through the hangovers and made our way to La Xampanyeria, a cava and tapas bar recommended to us by some friends. It was a tiny, standing-room-only bar with paper napkins strewn across the floor and the best drink deals I’ve ever seen. You can get a bottle of cava for about €4.75 or a glass for €1.40! I highly recommend this place.
After we got our bubbly on, we headed to the beach. We rented two beach chairs, bought a bottle of cava to split, and laid out until the sun went down. Matt and I love going to the beach to read, drink, and be lazy in the sun, so it was a great way to spend the second half of our first day in Barcelona. We were still pretty exhausted from staying up so late the night before, so we were in bed that night by midnight after a dinner of paella, sangria (me) and Estrella (Matt).
On Saturday, we started with a tour at Sagrada Familia. We decided to pay a little extra to go up to the top of the towers and it was completely worth it because we had an amazing view of Barcelona. After the tour, we had lunch at a nearby restaurant. I was really happy to see pescaditos fritos on the menu since they were one of my favorite things to eat when I studied abroad in Spain. They’re tiny fish that have been fried whole and are served in a little pile with a slice of lemon. They taste like chips, but better. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
After we ate, we walked over to La Pedrera and Casa Batlló to see more of Gaudi’s work. Then we just kept on wandering until we eventually made our way to La Boqueria, a huge covered market with vendors selling every food that you could ever want. After sampling a few delicious treats, we stopped for some drinks and people watching on La Rambla. My throat had been a little scratchy all day, the kind you get right before a full blown cold. We ended the night at the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, which was just as beautiful as I remembered it from almost seven years exactly.
The next morning, we packed up and checked out of the hostel. There was no denying I was sick, but it was just a cold. We had one more place we wanted to visit before our mid afternoon flight—Park Güell. We climbed up to the highest part of the hill (which was not easy!) and took a tour of the Gaudí House Museum, where he lived for almost 20 years. Even though I was feeling kind of crappy, it was a great way to end our three-day weekend trip in Barcelona.
I can’t wait to go back!