My final day in Barcelona. This is still hands down my favorite city, but I still have a lot more to see who knows this may change!
I decided to go on a big adventure today. I wanted to walk a bit and get away from the city so I took the metro to Singuerlin. Now I have never heard of this place and it was about 45minutes from the city. I'd read online there was a lovely park and you could walk around and get the most amazing panoramic views. This is true, but the park however is not so lovely.
When I got off the metro I felt uneasy as the town didn't have a welcoming feeling. Clearly tourists did not go there either as I got a lot of weird looks! I found the park and started walking but then noticed I had no service on my phone, I was the only person around (apart from a guy and his dog) and the heat was intense! So I didn't hike the whole thing, but the views from where I was we're pretty spectacular! Oh and also, the whole town is a massive hill!
Now planning tomorrow..Amsterdam!
So I'm writing this a day late but what can you do?
Yesterday I had originally intended to go for a hike at a park just outside of the city giving you awesome panoramic views....until I woke up and saw black clouds and the forecast of a thunder storm. So I scrapped that idea and used one of my booking.com discounts and visited a Gaudi exhibition.
Honestly, if you're a fan of Gaudi and you can spare a couple of hours I highly recommend seeing this exhibit! You learn of Gaudi from a young boy, to his influences to how he saw things and could structure them and use them to influence his work. Absolutely incredible and well worth the money!
Obviously because the crypt was burnt down during the Spanish civil war a lot of things displayed are replicas, but nevertheless very believable. You can also see replicas of the models he built when designing the church at Colonial Guell and if you don't mind paying a little more, you can have a Virtual Reality tour of Colonial Guell.
13 July 2017
So since starting this trip, I've had my first experience washing my clothes. I didn't think I'd have gone through to many already but seems as my next hostel with a laundry facility isn't until Split (10th Aug!) I figured I should probably wash some!
Also €3 for a wash and €3 for a dry isn't too bad I guess. Oh and €1 for detergent so you can't complain!
Just hope I haven't shrunk any clothes!
Rest days are definitely a good thing to factor in when planning your travels!
I've done so much walking the last few days, it was nice to just chill for a bit, people watch. So I decided to take the metro to the Arc de Triomf and then walk to Parc de la Cuitadella. The parks a great place to take a picnic and just unwind. It's such a massive space as well so you won't be sitting too close other people, you'll have your own area.
And as restful as this was I then thought it to be a fab idea to walk to the beach, walk up and down the beach and then back to the park! Safe to say my feet were killing me by that time as I'd decided to wear my flip flops thinking I wasn't going to do much walking today! Big mistake.
After this I walked for about half an hour to La Pedrera-Casa Mila. The last of my Gaudi buildings to visit. Such a beautiful building and glad I managed to fit it in.
12 July 2017
Montserrat. The Serrated Mountain.
Before I say anything, I must warn you of the windy roads you scale by coach! I'm not a big fan of heights but you kinda have to suck it and just hope you make it to the top alive.
I didn't really know what to expect when visiting here but wow, what a beautiful place! The panoramic views of the world below you are to die for!
We had a guided tour informing us of the history and story of Montserrat and then we had free time to explore. I was super excited to get onto one of the trails that lead to Saint Miguel's cross, but the terrain was quite uneven and being on my own I didn't want to fall and not have anyone around to help and fetch help so decided to just stick to the flat ground.
I visited the church, some of the woodland area and took in the views until we had to be back at the coach.
I'll admit, there's not an awful lot to do in Montserrat, however if you are in a group, one of the walking trails would definitely be a good idea!
11 July 2017
Today was an extra special day for me. It was a Gaudi themed day.
I am a massive fan of Antoni Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia. I fell in love with it when I visited Barcelona last year and so I had to visit it again on this trip! However today, I went inside the Sagrada Familia. I witnessed the brilliance of Gaudi's work and just how beautiful he could make things.
Now I won't lie, I shed a few tears in there because I didn't think I'd get the opportunity to come back and go inside but what an experience! I really can't describe it. All I know is, if you're visiting Barcelona it is a must see!
After visiting La Sagrada Familia, I made my way to Casa Battllo. I decided to do the tour of the house and wow is it beautiful. Now I'll admit, after see La Sagrada it was quite anti climactic compared to Gaudi's work on that, but Casa Battllo still has a uniqueness to it that makes it stunning! The tour also makes you think about how it would have looked in the 20th Century.
Such a Gaudi day!
10 July 2017
So just as I did in Madrid I tracked down a free tour in Barcelona. Although I've visited this city before I knew there was a lot I had missed and this tour was actually for an area I was going to have visited anyway.
The Gothic Quarter.
Now whether you do a tour or not the Gothic Quarter is definitely well worth a trip! It's not far from La Rambla and has some beautiful buildings. However, with a tour you can learn so much on the history of Catalonia and Barcelona.
For example, did you know La Rambla was a river? No? Me either! There were 5 rivers making there way down from as far as Tibidabo, on the North side, and La Rambla is where the 5 would merge and create 1 river straight down to the sea.
Also within the Gothic Quarter is 1 last standing piece of a via duct. A via duct which was built by the Romans and was 26km long!
This and so much more history comes with the free walking tours and it's amazing how much history one place can have!
9 July 2017
Yesterday I travelled to Barcelona and I'm so glad I did it via train. I booked with Renfe trains and it was such a picturesque journey, I didn't mind being on a train for 3 hours!
I'm so incredibly happy to be back in Barcelona. Hands down this is still my favorite city in Europe (but I still have more cities to visit, so who knows, it may change.) Of course my first point of call was Barcelonetta beach! It was very crowded, obviously being high season, but there was such a great vibe from all people and I just couldn't stop smiling.
My hostel is also a great factor for this city. Staff are incredibly helpful and the hostel is clean, air conditioned and they have comfy beds! I didn't have high hopes after my bad experience in Madrid, but this is just perfect!
8 July 2017
I know I've pointed this out before, but being gluten free and traveling is hard.
But today, I found Maestro Churerro who makes Gluten Free Churros! I never thought I'd get to have churros on his trip but they were fantastic! Well done maestro Churerro!
7 July 2017
When visiting a city it's hard to find a place for a peace and quiet. No car horns, motorbikes, rush of people all on their phones.
Buen Retiro Park gives you this (and it's beautiful).
I visited Buen Retiro today after having to leave quickly yesterday when the rain was pouring!
At the entrance to the park is a massive lake where you can rent boats and spend time rowing around. There are plenty of coffee shops and cafes dotted around the park to be able to sit back and take in the views and there's plenty there for everyone to be able to enjoy!
Quite often there are buskers around as well, which adds to the ambience of the trip.
6 July 2017
Being Gluten Free and traveling seems like the hardest thing of all. It's sometimes difficult to explain what wheat or gluten is to someone who maybe doesn't have a good understanding of it or just does not understand English well!
But, my mum did a little bit of research and found a website called nakedmadrid.com and they outlined a few Gluten Free places to visit. One of which, was a Bakery!
Celicioso Bakery is completely gluten free and offers Vegan foods also. I've eaten here a few times during my trip and they have not disappointed. They also have a bakery in Marbella!
I also visited Taberna La Concha, offering gluten Free Tapas! Now, when in Spain you have to have Tapas at least once and I honesty thought I was going to miss out but thankfully, I did not!😁
5 July 2017
I went on an adventure today and took a tour to Toledo. Now up until 48hrs ago I'd never even heard of Toledo, but I was feeling down and feeling like I didn't have enough to do with my time here in Madrid and it was family that suggested looking at trips outside of the place your staying.
Now I know that sounds like a simple thing to think of, but I think the culture shock had frazzled my brain and I was panicking. But this trip was a great idea! Although my guide wasn't really very good, not very informative at all, I did get to have a change of scenery which was nice.
It was also pointed out to me this is, financially, a good thing to. For example I had about 13 cities in Europe I wanted to visit but a small budget to do it on, so it was cut down to 8 cities. But what I can do now is look at day trips to the other cities I wanted to visit and all it will cost me is some travel, no accommodation. Granted I may not be able to do all the ones I wanted, but I can explore new ones to!
If you've never visited Madrid, I recommend joining a free walking tour in your first couple of days to get a real insight and feel for the city.
In Plaza Mayor there are guides from GoMadTours and they will take you on a 2.5hour tour of the city and information about the history (or other subject dependent on which tour you pick).
I honestly had no idea I'd missed so much of the city until I did the tour, but I also now see the city a bit differently because I know more about the history and can appreciate its beauty.
3 July 2017
Tday was my first full day in Madrid and I ventured out to the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de la Villa and Temple de Debod. I can recommend each and every one of them!
Plaza Mayor I would recommend visiting in the afternoon. I just happened to be there early and nothing was happening, a few tours milling around but that's all. It gave me time to appreciate the architecture and history of Plaza Mayor compared to when I returned to grab some lunch. The vibe is totally different! People having a few drinks in the sun, groups of friends enjoying tapas or other delicious dishes. It's a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
Temple de Debod, bet you never thought you'd see some 4th century Egyptian ruins in Spain? Spectacular to see and with it being surrounded by grass it's a great place to take a picnic and chill out in the shade, admiring the view! This temple is also where I've had my first meltdown of the trip. I rang mum crying in a panic I couldn't spend 7 days here.
2 July 2017
So this morning I felt physically sick the whole journey to the airport. To the point that once I'd checked in at the desk I was close to turning round and saying "mum I can't do this, I can't go."
Then I realized that I need to do this. I have to do this. I have to get over that fear of being away from home, from family. There's technology to help this, you can video call or ring or text so you won't lose contact.
Being in a foreign country by yourself is terrifying but it's also quite liberating. You can just be who you want, do what you want and embrace the culture and lifestyle.
My hostel is very...cramped. no one speaks English. We have an en suite which is nice.
Arriving late to my hostel didn't give me much time to sight see, so I'm saving myself for a full day of it tomorrow. But for right now I'm just going to sit, listen to the celebrations happening on the street for World Pride and hope that I wake up without this irrational fear that's haunted me since being a kid.