Sunday, 1 July 2012

TRAVELJOURNAL: Barcelona, Spain

I was in Barcelona, Spain a week ago for eight days exploring and discovering the streets of this mysterious city as we strode around with our feet to where ever and which ever street it can let us stumble upon. We barely used the public transportation and depended mainly on my Lonely Planet guide book and our senses on where to head and which places to visit and so on. On the said guide book it also mentioned that you should be aware and, if possible, always look up as in mentioned well that some of the beauty of Barcelona can be seen from below thus the architecture of this city is one of the most compelling and an absolute breath taker! Thanks to Gaudí and his artistic impact, in Barcelona you will surely see great (sometimes weird.) architectural and historical buildings.

(On top of Montjüic, Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya)

Our stay in Barcelona rounded up in one routine which starts in the morning where we shared breakfast in the apartment and ate our morning Tapas of fresh toasts, awesome cold cuts, cheeses (heeeellooo Mancheggo, my love.), fruits and fresh coffee all bought from the local food store and La Boqeria. We then proceed our way to the La Boqeria, which is just a couple blocks away since we were located at La Rambla, where we shop for yet more fresh produce for our lunch and dinner. We, then, continue our  day in some touristy abode until we all share the same hunger for a nice seafood stew we cooked nearly everyday and paired with cheap bottle of wines. 

(Tip: Better be early in this wet market if you are up for some fresh product shopping spree like seafood and also to avoid the picture snapping tourists because believe me, you will know what I mean if you come later than 12:00 a.m. and I would be like, 'I told you so.')

As a Chef, cooking seafood is one of the best thing in the world. It always turn out good!
(Our favorite, mixed seafood pot with cheap but good wine. Ah, how I miss.)

After our late lunch we usually share a nice local sparkling wine or cava and take a nice siesta for a short while before we venture our way back in the busy street of La Rambla seeking for streets we haven't been or take more sip of their cheap but good wines or share a jug of Sangria on some terrace overviewing the beautiful view at Port Vell and Barcelonetta. Otherwise, our evening consist of a nice home cooked dinner or dinner out at their local restaurants with nice wines before we walk our way at our favorite Irish pub where we watch football and cheer along the tourists and locals alike whenever something interesting happens... I am not a football fan at all but what the heck, who knew watching some dudes kicking a ball to someone and somewhere and then running after it would be quite fun! Lets talk about putting our women feet on the men's shoes! Anyways, our routine when we were in this grand holiday suit all of us so well after all the non-stop working we all did in our jobs and its purpose served us all so well. This relaxing holiday wasn't exactly very budgeted but I personally didn't went over my designated number of euros to be spent though I certainly thought I did! However, Barcelona isn't that expensive compare to Helsinki so we were pretty overwhelmed by the cheap products they offered and mostly indulged in food and alcohol the whole trip. It was a fun filled holiday spent with friends and yet another exploration to be added in my life though this wasn't exactly too exciting compare to the backpackers I saw roaming around the city with their maps and big backpacks, which I wish I would do one day. I am really looking forward to the time when I can proffer my own adventure with my own backpack around the world. In time you'll see the world with me. I promise.

Trip costs and tips:

Apartment Hotel: 119€/person/7 nights
-We stayed at MH Apartments and we were located at Carrer Ferran at La Rambla. You seriously can't be more centre than that!
-Barcelona have a very good public transportation connection so it is easy to get by almost everywhere so there's exactly no need to be totally in the heart of this city but if you are like us who really went there for a good time then better be near the city for an easy access to home if you drank a little too much. Barcelona streets could be very dangerous for foreigns at night time and buy earplugs because it gets really noisy especially on football nights!
Daily budget: 70€
-I spent about 450€ for 7 days, quite a lot. It could be cheaper if we weren't out drinking every single night.
-I mainly used my money on food and one Museum entrance (11€) to see Picasso's works and enjoying my time.
-Food is cheap if you make your own than to eat out but there are plenty of restaurants who offer three courses menu for 10-20€ and they are not bad at all! We barely ate out and on our first night we were unfortunately a victim of an awful tourist filled restaurant who served us an expensive crappy paella.
-Carrefour is a local super market where you can get freaking everything! And cheap as hell.
-La Boqueria is their wet market where you can get fresh produce.
-Public transportation is expensive for one way tickets but you can choose to buy 10-trips and day trip tickets for a much cheaper value. You can buy these tickets in every metro stop.
-Be aware of Terraces! Do not get fooled by restaurants or bars who offer super cheap cocktails, drinks and ridiculously inexpensive menu and better make sure that Tax is included if you are eating or drinking outside their terraces unless you desire to pay more than what you think you will. The warning usually is written in an extremely unreadable size in the most hidden place in their list, so make sure you find that first before dining or drinking out.
-DO NOT shop from these small 'super market' shops at La Rambla, they are expensive as hell.

NOTE: Also, be aware of the streets when you are wandering around with your map because they could be extremely confusing! We had a great deal of confusion when we were walking around where La Sagrada Familia is located, one street could suddenly disappear and replaced with another three blocks long weird ass street and then the previous street will continue after you crossed that weird ass street ON THE SAME STREET. Weird. And oh! I am no drunk person but on this trip, I surely did indulge on things I usually do not do back here in Finland. I don't like shopping so I barely spent money on that though I bought souvenirs and other small things.

Thanks for reading! This is it for now.


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