Since Venice, it’s fair to say that I’ve been daydreaming about when and where my second solo trip would take me.
One city kept popping up: Barcelona.
Something about the bright colours, warm weather and the beautiful mixture of mountains and coast drew me towards it.
All it took was a couple of cheap flights and a decent hostel and I was sold. Barcelona it would be!
Setting off at the just-about-acceptable time of 6am, I headed to Cardiff with my tiny travel bag in tow (and when I say tiny, I mean tiny).
After a quick and easy two-hour flight from Cardiff to Barcelona–El Prat, I hopped on the bus and stumbled into the baking hot sun over Plaça de Catalunya.
First on my wander was the Arc de Triomf, the famous red brickwork triumphal arch across the central promenade of the Passeig de Lluís Companys, leading to the Ciutadella Park.
I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life – but nonetheless, it was a beautiful walk.
Next, I made my way over to one of the most popular sights in Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia, the large unfinished Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí.
By this point the sweltering heat and busy crowds told me it was time to get some shade and stop for a bite to eat…
Well, what better first meal in Spain than tapas?
I found a quiet little spot on a street down from the church called Celler Tapes Edar.
I chose the tortilla and patatas bravas, all washed down with a big glass of sangria.
It doesn’t look anything fancy, but it was delicious and inexpensive – perfect when you’re travelling!
After a short pit stop and cool down, I headed to check in at my base for the next couple of days: Unite Hostel Barcelona.
Despite getting stuck in the shower room due to a faulty lock (thank god someone was in the room with me at the same time!), it was a modern, cosy and well-decorated space with a lovely bar downstairs.
Of course, I took advantage of the happy hour at the bar and enjoyed a cocktail – the zesty, fresh and fruity amaretto sour!
After checking in, it was time to head to the beach. Platja de la Nova Icaria is (rather conveniently) less than a five minute walk from the hostel.
Accompanied by a sparkling sangria, I found some shade and admired the crystal blue Mediterranean sea.
After dipping my toes in the sea, I was feeling rested and refreshed, so it was time for some dinner.
After chatting with a lovely lady from Utah in my dorm, I joined her and another woman from America (who had just moved to Barcelona for 3 months) for poké bowls by the beach, from Poké Maoli.
The big bowl of quinoa, edamame, tofu, aubergine, Japanese pickles, ginger, avocado, sweet soy and mayo was just what we needed for a late night stroll around the streets of Barcelona.
After lots of chats, great food and wandering near the beach, we decided to head back to the hostel. But there was definitely time to grab an ice cream for the walk (to cool down, of course).
Full, happy and grateful for the air-con, I hopped into my bunk to grab some well-deserved rest and prepare for an early start on day two of my Barcelona adventure.