Things I Love Thursday: Barcelona!

Barcelona!

Barcelona is beautiful! It’s strange to think that just a couple of weeks ago, I was on another continent, roaming around a foreign city, exploring & being delighted at every turn.

It was on a very rainy Wednesday that I trundled my hot pink suitcase down the stairs & into a waiting car. Waiting inside was Yuli, the head genius at Style Coalition & someone I’ve known since I first moved to NYC! After a long ride in NYC traffic, we found ourselves on a Delta flight bound for Barcelona. 10 bloggers from all over the U.S.A. had participated in the MNG for MANGO project, & now we were off for our final challenge: a jaunt in the capital of Catalonia!

We had no idea what to expect… & we were absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of beauty.

Barcelona!

As always, I took my Fujifilm Instax camera with me, & used it & my iPhone to document the entire trip. I didn’t even take my digital SLR out of my suitcase! Here, then, are some of my favourite shots from the city, & a few photos from my travel companions!

Barcelona!

We stayed at Granados 83, a hotel very close to Passeig de Gràcia, a major shopping street. The hotel smelled delicious, all the staff were extremely friendly & helpful, & the breakfasts were stellar! Granados 83 has a lot of very modern technology, including a slightly nutty light system & a shower so complicated I had to be shown how to use it by someone from the front desk!

Regardless, we had a great time there. The beds are enormous & very comfortable, & every room had a deep, luxurious bath, which I took full advantage of!

Barcelona!With Jess & Karen on a sightseeing bus!

It was so much fun to go away with a group of people I barely knew. Usually this kind of thing is quite a long way outside my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed myself! Within about an hour of landing in Barcelona, a fun little group had formed, & so it was. I spent the majority of my time with Karen, Jess & Wendy, wandering around the streets, laughing & exploring.

One of the best things we did was get on one of those double-decker tourist buses which goes all around the city. My mother went to Barcelona last year & made me promise to take a bus-ride so I could “get my bearings” (her words, not mine!). I begrudgingly agreed — normally, getting on a bus is NOT my idea of a good time. Thankfully, I was able to talk Jess & Karen into it too, & it was fantastic! There are so many wonderful things to see in Barcelona.

While we were only in Barcelona for three days, we managed to see SO MUCH of the city! The city is relatively compact & easy to explore, so bring your walking shoes (or in my case, comfortable motorcycle boots), & be sure to carry a map. All those intersections start to look the same after a while!

Barcelona!
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is unbelievable & so incredibly gorgeous! We didn’t have time to go inside (& the line stretched around the block!), but next time, I definitely want to go in. The Wikipedia page alone is a major treat for the eyeballs!
Barcelona!
We were all in love with the wrought iron balconies & the thoughtful details everywhere.
Barcelona!When you’re in Barcelona, be sure to indulge in hot chocolate with churros. It’s a Spanish specialty, & is offered all over the place. It was one of my favourite experiences, & everyone else in our group seemed to love it equally!
Barcelona!This magic shop is 130 years old! Kind of a highlight… !
Barcelona!At Cornelia & Co.

On our first night, we ate at Cornelia & Co., & devoured croquettes, fish, incredible desserts & plenty of tomato & garlic on fresh coca bread. We were so spoiled!

Pretty much everything we ate in Barcelona was off-the-charts in terms of freshness, presentation & flavour. Definitely an eating capital of the world!

Barcelona!With Wendy at dinner on our first night. You almost can’t tell we’re jet-lagged!
Barcelona!At Boca Grande.

Boca Grande is one of the most incredible concept restaurants I’ve ever seen. The food was good, yes — the sangria was muy muy bueno & the DIY tomato, garlic & coca bread was so much fun — but where this restaurant really shines is in its interior design.

Boca Grande is a three-level building, & every level is totally different. The bathrooms are in the basement, but this is no ordinary basement. No. The walls are covered in mirrors of every shape & size, there is a polar bear skin hanging on the wall, & there’s a DJ spinning tunes all night long. The bathroom turns into more & more of a party as the night wears on! On the top level is a fantastic, decadent bar, & a black hallway filled with taxidermied animal heads. It was so Nubby’s kind of place!

Barcelona!In the bathroom…
Barcelona!
The stairwell…
Barcelona!
Barcelona!With Diana, Karen, & Wendy after a huge meal at Boca Grande.
Barcelona!

The architecture in Barcelona is absolutely gorgeous. Everywhere you look are beautiful old buildings with elaborate wrought iron balconies & terraces, & that’s not to mention the incredible Gaudi structures dotted all over the city. As we walked around, we picked out the apartments we’d like to live in…

Barcelona!
I love that someone painted this ladder neon pink!
Barcelona!
Me, taking a photo of Karen. Photo by Jess!
Barcelona!We stumbled into a Sephora which just happened to be having a Make Up For Ever exhibition! These women were totally painted up & looked INCREDIBLE!
Barcelona!
Ultimate travelling outfit: slouchy warm sweater from TopShop, skirt-with-leggings-attached from Betsey Johnson.
Barcelona!
With Karen at the MNG for MANGO shoot!
BarcelonaCathedral La Seu. Source.

On one walk, we stumbled into Barri Gòtic, the old centre of the city. The architecture here is absolutely insane & off-the-charts; I’d never seen anything so beautiful. A lot of the buildings here are from Medieval times, & the Cathedral La Seu is not to be missed, even though it has a €6 entrance fee. Believe me, it’s worth it! The cloisters date back to the 14th & 15th century, & there are altars to saints all around the perimeter, not to mention 13 white swans wandering around, & palm trees growing right in the middle of the structure.

Barcelona!
Lighting candles for saints.
Barcelona!
The interior of Cathedral La Seu.
Barcelona!
Mary.
Barcelona!
At Cathedral La Seu. Photo by Karen.

Oh, & here’s a helpful hint… If you get a new passport, but your American visa is in your expired passport, BRING BOTH OF THEM WITH YOU! I got a rude shock on Sunday morning, when our group went to the airport & I was denied a plane ticket because I didn’t have both passports with me. A heart-stoppingly stressful day followed!

I really, really hope this never happens to you, but if you ever need your passport sent to you in Barcelona in a hurry, I recommend using Delta Dash. Saint Lydia, saver of lives, grabbed my passport, took it to JFK, & put it on a flight Sunday evening. It was with me in Barcelona by 8am. Picking it up, however, was a mission in & of itself. Trying to find the WFS building was difficult enough, not to mention barely anyone spoke English, & I had to run back & forth between the customs building & WFS, before sprinting — literally, sprinting — to a Delta ticket counter & changing my flight. Oh, & I had to keep a taxi waiting for me for TWO HOURS while all this madness went down (since the cargo area is absolutely nowhere near anything else, & there is no other way of getting between the terminals).

Let me tell you, it was dramatic! It all came together, though, & I am so grateful to the lovely people of Barcelona who did their best to help me out. I’m sure you’re not reading this, but THANK YOU!

I am now, of course, thrilled to be back in America. Phew!

Barcelona!

We love, love, LOVED being in Barcelona for a few gorgeous days. If you’re heading over that way, you should definitely check it out. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

For some extra Barcelona goodness, check out the posts from my fellow travel companions Jess, Wendy & Karen (& again!)

Thanks SO MUCH to jcpenney & MNG for MANGO for flying us out, putting us up, & treating us like rockstars!

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