Where do I even begin? It has taken me a little bit to start posting about my trip to Europe because of the struggle of not even knowing how to recap a trip like this! We had a month filled with memories and adventure, and I am so excited to start posting about each place we went to, travel tips, favorite spots, etc. My hope is that you would be inspired to do something similar. Maybe it’s a trip like ours, maybe it’s a cross country road trip, maybe its moving to your dream city. Whatever it is, I promise that if you just give life a yes, the details, the money, the rest will work itself out. So, with that little bit of encouragement, let’s start! I’ll be sharing about our trip through the photos below.
The first place we had on our trip was Spain. We had about 4 days in Spain. Our flight was roundtrip from Madrid (we found an amazing deal and just decided to make it work!) and so we decided to spend a day there before we went to Barcelona. So, I want to share a little mishap that happened with our flights. Back in January, when we had booked our flights, I (as the type A person I am) wanted to make sure our flights were 100% the same, that we were seated next to each other, that we all got the same deal, etc. So, I got everyone’s American Airlines information, logged each of us in on three devices (all right in front of me) and made sure every detail was the exact same. It was the biggest relief to hit that purchase button! Well, fast forward 5 months to about a week before we left, life seemed to be crashing down around me as I realized that somehow, I had scheduled my flight 24 hours after theirs. Yikes. I had a minor melt down, you know, right as something like this happens it feels like the end of the world. After making some calls, I found out it would be almost double my ticket price to change my flight. So, I flew in the day after. Which, in retrospect, was not a big deal at all. Of course, it was sad to not spend that flight all together, and communicating in a new country was hard as I got off the plane, but hey, it worked out! Future tip: have a few people look over your flight information before you hit purchase 🙂
Spain was a perfect place for us to start our trip. Kristie speaks a little spanish, her dad was born and raised in Spain, and she had already visited a couple times. It helps so much to have at least one person who has a little bit of familiarity with a culture. For our three days in Barcelona, we stayed at Hotel U232. It was a cute little boutique hotel in a great part of town. Every day started with a chocolate croissant and cafe con leche at the cafe down the street. We would spend a good amount of time there waking up, people watching, etc. We spent most of our days roaming around (lots of walking!) and eating amazing food. Tapas, Paella, and Sangria are the big three over there. And I’ve gotta say, I recommend every single thing. I’m not sure I had a bad meal!
The Mercat de La Boqueria is a well known, must see food market in Barcelona. It is crowded with tourists, but is so rich with culture that it’s something you can’t miss. Spices, meats, cheeses, foods of all kinds are on display at this market, along with local vendors urging you to try whatever it is they are selling. This is a great place for picking up souvenirs or grabbing a quick, well-priced lunch!
At La Boqueria, they have these juices everywhere. Essentially, its a bunch of different types of fruits, juiced! They are only like 1-3 euro each, and are delicious! A quick, affordable taste of culture! I got the dragonfruit juice!
On this particular day pictured above, we went to Park Guell. If you’ve ever googled pictures of Barcelona, pictures of Park Guell more than likely pop up on the screen. Its a mosaic type of structure overlooking Barcelona. Well, we spent the majority of the day walking up stairs and very steep hills to get to this overlook. We ended up going up three times the elevation we needed to, only to find a not-so-great overlook. I mean, the view was beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but when you’re expecting the structures in the picture and only find a dirt patch overlook, it can be pretty surprising, ha. But hey, you can get beer up there, which is great when you’re as hot as we were! As we climbed down, we saw the real overlook, which we then found out now has an entry fee of about 10 euro. Our whole Park Guell experience was not idea, however, I do think if you’re going to Barcelona, you should go. Just plan better than we did, and be ready for walking up a lot of steep hills!
Our favorite neighborhood of Barcelona was by far Gracia. It’s a must. When we arrived, it’s like all of our expectations were finally met. It is the younger, artsy neighborhood of Barcelona. It’s filled with young people, live music, outdoor restaurants, and art galleries. We found this particular restaurant pictured above and were instantly drawn to its bright colors and beautiful design. It was called Cantina Machito. People in Barcelona don’t eat dinner until 9 or later, and since it was still late afternoon, we decided to just get an appetizer and drinks. It was at this restaurant that we ended up meeting some real-life spanish Tuna’s (google ’em)! They’re the guys with the spanish costumes and guitars. They sung and danced and were so much fun (pictured below). We ended up spending a good amount of the night with them, making memories, taking selfies, and laughing through the language barriers.
*Menu del Dia: Menu of the Day. This is pretty much the best deal you can get for lunch or dinner. It’s a set price that usually includes: an appetizer, main meal, bread, and a beverage! We loved these because they helped us get a great amount of food for our money!
*Paella: A classic dish in Barcelona. It is essentially a cast iron skillet filled with rice, veggies, and seafood/chicken. It’s very filling and easily splitable.
*Sangria: Grab a pitcher at a sidewalk cafe and just enjoy. 🙂
*The Mercat de La Boqueria: Wander around, see the culture, eat the food, grab lunch, try the juices.
*Park Guell: Beautiful park, great way to see the city, amazing overlook, and tons of art. The main overlook costs money and tickets are purchased at the bottom of the park when you enter!
*Start every day with a chocolate croissant and cafe con leche.
*Gracia: make your way over to this neighborhood, wander around!
*To eat and drink: Tapas 24, Milky Way Coffee, Cantina Machito
Thanks for following along with part one of my Europe recap! Next up: Italy!