By Hilary Fong
Sometimes the best things that happen aren’t planned at all. For me, that was 36 hours in Barcelona. It wasn’t a place I was planning on going to, but as I was boarding the plane back to the UK, I knew I needed to go back. A city for everyone, whether you’re there for the rich Catalan history hidden amongst the bustling city, a sports fan, or you love taking in the beauty of nature.
The first time I went, it was on a whim to celebrate my friend’s 21st birthday over the weekend. We spent Saturday night in the hostel near the centre of town. The three of us had no idea where we were or where we were going, but we found ourselves wandering down La Rambla and towards the markets of La Boqueria, an essential amalgamation of tourists and locals alike. Small cafes hide in the nooks adjacent to the markets and you could find fresh juice for one euro. Whatever you do though, don’t eat the cut-up coconut, it’s not nice and I learnt that the hard way.
My first experience with public transport there was confusing. Although, the most efficient way of getting around, getting pick-pocketed on the train is commonplace. Thankfully our trip was short, and our destination, obviously La Sagrada Familia, where the views of Barcelona are unparalleled from the towers, if you’re lucky enough to get these coveted tickets. The myriad of coloured stain glass windows alone with leave you in awe. We watched the sunset on Barcelonetta Beach where we were offered to embrace Catalan culture before our dinner at Viana, a restaurant which is well worth it if you’re willing to spend a little more. An amazing end to a whirlwind trip.
Yet the most beautiful place I found, however was on my second trip. I stumbled across Parc de la Ciutadella, a hidden gem which had this enormous water feature with the clearest water and a giant mammoth statue hidden in the park.
I have fond memories of both times I visited this wonderful city, and I’m certain my next trip will be no different. Mix a little adventure to Bunkers del Carmel or Monserrat with your touristy trip to Park Güell and Montjuïc. I promise you the best places you’ll encounter, and the memories you’ll make are the ones you never expect.