I’M NOT EVEN EMBARRASSED TO SAY THAT WE FELT A LITTLE LIKE THE CHEETAH GIRLS WALKING THE STREETS OF BARCELONA… BUT IF THERE’S ONE THING WE LEARNED, IT’S THAT GAUDI’S PARK GUELL STEPS LEAD LEAD TO NO WHERE NERE THE EL BORN DISTRICT LIKE IT DID IN THE CLASSIC DISNEY CHANNEL MOVIE SEQUEL.
After getting pretty sick of living in hostels for a little over a week, we cancelled our reservations at another in Barcelona and found an airbnb instead. It was easily the best decision we made the whole trip. And did you know that many airbnb offerings are actually cheaper than hostels?!
We entered the fourth floor apartment just one block from the famous street, Las Ramblas, to the sound of a woman singing opera on the street below. Maria and Alex bought the place four months ago, after falling in love with Barcelona on vacation from San Diego. Maria is from Brazil and was studying at a small university close by, and Alex was in med-school in Tijuana when they met in San Diego almost eight years ago. They are both enrolled in graduate programs in Barcelona and love sharing their apartment with airbnb-ers because, frankly, its too big for just the two of them. They welcomed us with sweet Spanish sparking wine. Quite a change from the cheapskate hostel-life we were used too.
The view from our balcony –
We told them we were hungry for a good, authentic Spanish meal and they immediately recommended a place just a few blocks down the street. Ah! Sangria, Calamari pasta, Paella, Catalan custard… It was to die for.
And our luck didn’t end there. We picked up a bottle of the same wine on our way back and made our way to check out the city from the rooftop. At night, street vendors sell these little blue lights that shoot into the sky and float back down like feathers – when combined with the lights of the beach and Montjuic Castle to our right, and the Tibidado cathedral on the mountain to our left, it truly was magical.
Looking back, it’s easy to imagine how our time in Barcelona would have been different if we had kept those hostel reservations… No learning about Spanish wine, no amazing meal, no rooftop. Everyone who knows me knows that I like to be in control and make plans far in advance (something I got from road tripping with Mom across the entire East Coast in two weeks when I was little, I guess). This time, I’m glad we didn’t stick to my plans and jumped at the chance of an airbnb instead of enduring another hostel. I think that decision encapsulates our trip very nicely: no matter how much you plan, reality throws experiences at you that you could never think of on your own. Sometimes it’s better to close the itinerary to go with it.
And what’s exploring if it’s not searching for cute coffee shops down little Catalonian alley ways –
An alley way in the Gotic district
And, of course, GAUDI!
The Gotic Archway –
Casa Batlló, just a ten minute walk from our apartment –
And La Sagrada Familia-
Park Güell –
If anyone is planning a trip to Barcelona in the near future, please message me for Maria and Alex’s information.