Once you’re bitten by the Travel bug, there really is no going back. Familiar with that feeling when you’re sitting at work typing frantically into the computer and all you can think of is lying on a beach somewhere soaking up the sun, or hiking up hidden mountain trails in search of the ultimate paradise?
Travel opens up our worlds in more ways than we know, and as someone who has seen a decent share of this planet with much much more to see and do, I strongly recommend Spain as a potential candidate for the “ultimate Travel destination”.
Sitting at work and evaluating Marketing strategies today, it suddenly hit me that I need to remember. I feel the need to recollect my memories and put them down so that for some reason it seems real again that once upon a time, I was in Spain..and Once upon a time, I was deeply in love with it.
Top tips for anyone travelling through Spain:-
– Travel light.
– If possible stay in hostels, use public transport within Spain and eat ALOT of local food. You’d be surprised to see that most local food and beverage vendors are Indians and Pakistanis. I had amazing experiences talking with many of them while sipping mohitos on the beach.
– Make travel bookings over Internal websites. My recommendation would be RyanAir. I travelled through three flights and 3 countries (London-Spain-Portugal-London) for 85 Pounds, which if you ask me- is truly a delight for any traveler out on a budget.
– Check out hotel/ hostel bookings over www.agoda.com, always helps to elevate your mood if you know you’re getting a brilliant discount on acccomodation abroad. 🙂
So, If you are travelling through Spain, there is one thing you must know. Spain is not a small country. It can take a while to travel through Spain, especially since it has alot to offer in terms of varying cultures, different fool palates, astonishing traditions and stark differences in general as you head from the north to the South of Spain.
My top picks for Spain are Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and Granada- and these are what my travel story will be about.
My Barcelona! <3
One of my favorite experiences in Barcelona was the “Free Barcelona tour” during which We had the pleasure of having an amazing guide take us around town sharing its stories and therefore making us feel like part of something so much bigger than we imagined. Barcelona is a beautiful city with interesting architecture and a beautiful blend of culture and what is commonly called “metropolitia”. Colorful buildings with uncanny designs and a whole lot of character.
Barcelona is not just the capital of the Catalonia, but also the seat of modern innovative architecture, Art and design. Just walking by the city makes one feel inspired to create something, feel something, DO something.
The city is inspiring, colorful and the epitome of variety! I was stunned by the beauty of the Sagrada Famila Basilica, an astounding monument which stand even today Unfinished and yet the finest work of Antoni Goudi!
Sagrada Familia is GRAND. It is huge, beautiful, royal and situated right in the middle of Old Barcelona city! It is the sheer size of the monument that amazes you almost as soon as you step inside the church.A MUST DO if you’re in Barcelona!
Antoni Goudi is probably one of the most well known figures in Spain and the city speak volumes of his work and his passion for art. Goudi’s works include the beautiful and elegant Casa Battlo, an innovative structure with inspiring turns and shafts and an incredible support system. The design is considered “Modernist” and this structure is a UN declared World Heritage site. I remember just walking along the twisted stairs,sloping ceilings and curved walls. An absolute delight!
The streets of Spain are lined with works of Goudi like the Casa Mila and Palau Guell with its shocking color scheme which adds even more vibrancy to the city of Barcelona and my favorite- Casa Battlo! Must visit for sure!
Piece of advice: I know when in Barcelona you will probably just want to lie on the beaches and sip on sangria, but take a day off to simply walk around and explore the cultural sights. Use the Barca metro to avoid Expensive cab rides and traffic and make sure you spend quality time with the well preserved and breathtaking cultural sites of the city that the country is so proud of!
The National Museum of Art of Barcelona deserves a special mention! It took us a long time to get to this location and although my friends were more inclined towards walking across the ground to the grand casino I insisted we walk all the way up to this Museum, and it was worth it!
This site is also famous for Spain’s famous Magic Fountains! The Magic fountain show is beautiful and worth the 20 minutes of your life you will spend watching it from start to end. An incredible display of music and “dancing water fountains”, this place is so magical it will blow your mind.
The museum is all the way on top of the hill and is spectacularly built but whats best about it is Bird’s eye view of Barcelona which one gets from right at the top!
The Barceloneta Beach! Ranked by National Geographic as one of the top ten beaches of the world, this beach is incredible! Waters bluer than any blue ever seen!
St. Sebastia beach with its emerald waters, white clean beaches and beautiful cafes lining the beach serving everything from “cervesa” to tapas is my happy place. Thinking of sitting on the beach and just taking in all that I could in that moment brings me immense peace.
Walking along the beaches towards the statue of Christopher Columbus on the far end will bring you to my favorite road which leads directly to the Plaza Reaal! The street is lined with local shopping vendors selling authentic Spanish handicrafts, souvenirs, artifacts, fruits, vegetables and every kind of meat you can possible dream of in the central Meat Market! Walking along the street you will come across several street performers and artists which will entertain you or shock you depending on their mood really!
The Plaza Reaal is where I went one evening in Barcelona to watch the Flamenco dance! Our hostel organized a night out for all of us and a group of us people from several different countries made our way to a show of brilliance, craft and grit. My First experience of the flamenco dance was hard hitting and powerful. The dance represents a play of power, fiery and passionate and all that is beautiful. I loved it so much I actually went for a show in Seville again, and I will definitely talk about that later. The Plaza Reaal has a calming feel about it, pretty, happening, bursting with activity and reminding one of years gone by- all at once.
The Nightlife of Barcelona is great.. and the party circuit very active. We went clubbing to Opium on the beach one night and I remember the party ended with organizers distributing sandwiches to everyone the next morning at 7AM!
Barcelona has a lot to offer even if you don’t look at it from the point of view of a tourist. I always believe one does not really know a city till one gets lost in it. Walking around Barcelona took me to quaint hide outs, pretty streets with little boys playing football, adult stores and the loveliest bars I had ever seen!
Another great experience was my trip to the Camp Nou stadium, that too a day after the El Clasico. The stadium was buzzing with crowd chants and one could see heaps of fliers and football accessories all over.
The tour of the stadium gives an insight into the team dailies of FC Barcelona and the sheer size of it is astounding. If at Camp Nou don’t forget to take a look from the VIP box, you wont be disappointed. 🙂
It is the experience that will always stay with you and make you happier in trying times. I remember sitting on Barcelona port steps and eating chocolate crepes, listening to live bands perform for the sheer joy of performing. The roman walls that speak stories of goth and beheadings, torture and budding art and love and romance! The Santa Maria del mar church which just like all the other churches of Spain is unique and tells its own story which you absolutely need to know.
Percussionists sitting and playing music by the stairs of museum Barbier or the story-tellers eager to tell you the story of Piblo Picasso over a drink outside the Picasso museum.
Since I was headed to Seville next, I did not have enough time to see a few places I had my heart set on- like Park Guell up the hill or the taking the Monjuic cable car up the mountain to the castle on the other end of the city.. but you never know, with a place like Barcelona, i simple wait for the next time. 🙂