After visits to Amsterdam, Sevilla, Córdoba, and Madrid, as well as a very long eight hour bus ride over night, Riana and I finally made it to Barcelona!
We were excited to get the weekend started, but if you remember, this wasn’t actually my first time in this city. Read about my first trip to Barcelona here.
Even though Barcelona wasn’t my absolute favorite trip from my semester abroad, I was still excited to go back and maybe even get some new experiences this time around!
Dark and early at about 7:30 AM, we made our way to our hostel. Though we couldn’t check in yet, Riana and I wanted to scoop out the place and find some lockers where we could store our bags for the day. I passed out with my head on a table for a solid hour, and then we decided to get the day going for real.
Off to brunch! I loved Brunch and Cake the first time, so I wanted to go back again to a different location. Riana and I both got a delicious breakfast burrito, a fancy coffee drinks, and a juice/smoothie. We definitely felt rejuvenated and ready to see the city after this!
We headed over to La Rambla, a big shopping street conveniently located by our hostel, and enjoyed an afternoon of shop hopping in the pouring rain. Eventually, we made it back to our hostel before it was time to check in at 2 PM. Riana took a shower, I took a nap (yes another one), and then we headed out again to visit the Sagrada Familia.
I rarely want to pay admission to attractions multiple times, but the Sagrada Familia Basilica is definitely an exception. I saw it during my last visit to Barcelona but was still blown away. Everything, from the outside facades, to the ceiling, to the doors, to the rainbow stained glass windows, is detailed and ornate. It’s truly incredible that Gaudí dedicated so much of his life to this project, and even years after his passing, his legacy lives on through the continued construction of this impressive religious and artistic structure.
After fully taking advantage of the included audio guide and all the time we had before the Sagrada Familia’s closure for the day, we were back on the search for some food. We found a restaurant near our hostel called El Glop that was thankfully serving dinner at 6:30 (apparently a rarity around here). Riana and I dove into a giant dish of delicious seafood paella and two crisp Cokes to once again wake us up and give us some more energy.
At 8 PM, our hostel had its daily meeting, where you could meet other guests, learn about programming options, and sip on some free sangria. Free sangria?! Sounds good to me!
We met a large group of French guys, as well as some international students studying at a French grande école, someone from Virginia, and many American study abroad students. We also chatted with the woman leading the club outing for the night and decided to get tickets to go with the group. For 10 euros, we would get free entry with no lines, plus a drink and a shot at the hostel bar. Plus, we had no idea where to go or who to go with, so this solved both of those questions.
Knowing that the next day was Halloween, we would have an extra hour that night because of daylight savings time, and when the Spanish party they do it all day and all night, Riana and I decided to rest up a bit before doing anything. We love siesta culture! We got ready in the communal bathroom with all the other girls on our floor and exchanged ideas for what to do and where to go. Then, it was time to get the evening started!
Our evening began at the hostel bar, where we purchased our tickets for the evening outing and cashed in our pass for a free drink. Belushi’s was surprisingly crowded with people around our age, many of whom were dressed up a bit. Riana and I were dressed as black cats, and even though I’m allergic to cats, I have to admit it was pretty cute.
Then, we headed to Espit Chupitos, a bar famous for its hundreds of obscure and creative shots. For just 2.50, you could enjoy the Candy Crush, the Halloween, the Monica Lewinsky, or any of the other shots on the menu. Our favorite order was just “un espit con fuego.” We made friends from the U.S., Spain, and France all in an hour at this bar, and I even managed to trip down three stairs and earn myself some battle scars for the night. As fun as all this was, the best part was definitely the fun Spanish (and English!) music they played.
Riana and I rushed back to Belushi’s to meet up with the rest of the group from the hostel, which included a bunch of the French guys we had met earlier, as well as guys from Ireland and Poland with whom we ended up sharing a taxi. All of us eventually arrived at Duvet, a supposedly new nightclub that had good music and expensive drinks. At some point, I unfortunately lost my cat ears and made our new friends scour the room with me to look for them, but alas, they were a victim to Halloween weekend.
As we headed home in the middle of the night, I made sure there were some sights along the way, including not one but two Gaudí houses. We arrived at the hostel around 4 AM, proud of ourselves for not staying up all night and getting some sleep after all. It wasn’t until the next day that we realized the time change had happened without us even realizing it, so this really wasn’t too impressive after all.
Last time I was in Barcelona, I was advised to go out and explore the nightlife, but I didn’t get a chance to do so. This fun night out with new friends definitely offered me a new side of the city and a fun adventure!
Don’t worry, we definitely slept in on Sunday (and chugged a large jug of water). We were happy we got to experience Barcelona’s notorious party scene, but it was time to move on.
We attempted to go to La Boqueria, the famous market that I enjoyed so much last time, but it was unfortunately closed. I wish we had gotten the chance to include it in our itinerary, but I guess the joy about traveling to the same place is trying some of your favorite things from last time, but lots of new things as well.
Instead, we wandered around some shops in the area and sampled some chocolate neopolitanas (similar to pains au chocolat but somehow even better) and traditional ham and cheese baguette sandwiches. Eventually, I settled on a Dunkin caramel iced coffee and McDonald’s chicken nuggets for my lunch because I clearly only agree to consume authentic Spanish food. Oops.
Then, of course, it was time to see some more Gaudí architecture! Riana wanted to see the Casa Battlo and Casa Milà in the daylight, so we took some pics here and then she headed on to Park Guell. Since I went to the park during my last trip to Barcelona and didn’t feel super inclined to make the hike over to it again, I chose to participate in a guided tour it Casa Milà, also known as the Pedrera, instead.
Though I originally assumed that seeing the outside of the famous Gaudí houses would be enough, I was super impressed by my tour of the Pedrera. Since I bought my ticket ahead of time, I was able to quickly get inside and grab my automatic audio guide. The rooftop view of the city was definitely my favorite part of the experience, and I also enjoyed learning more about the building’s architectural history.
Back to the hostel for yes, another siesta, and then on to our final dinner in Spain!
Thankfully, I had planned ahead this time around and made reservations for dinner. I found a list of top beachfront restaurants in Barcelona and chose Gallito, a tapas restaurant with large jugs of sangria and a great outdoor dining space. We admired the ocean, discussed all of our favorite parts of the vacation, and reflected on all of our funny, delicious, uncomfortable, and exciting experiences from the previous 10 days.
The final stop in Barcelona was another themed bar I wanted to check out called Dow Jones Bar. I took economics for fun during my senior year of university, so you know I was enthralled by the idea of a bar themed like the stock market with fluctuating drink prices based on their current popularity and occasional market “crashes” when all prices were reduced.
After an hour here drinking pink mojitos and watching our new Irish friends take “Trump” shots, we were back off to the hostel to prepare for a short night of sleep and an early morning flight back to Paris.
While in Barcelona, Riana and I stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn. While it definitely isn’t the perfect accommodation for everyone, it was exactly what we were looking for.
Location: Absolutely incredible. We were in a walking distance from all but one major attraction in the city, as well as the stop for the airport bus. Plus, the connected bar, Belishi’s, offers all guests special discounts and is super convient for meeting other travelers our age.
Vibe/Activities: I love the idea of a daily meeting where you can meet everyone, and the daily walking tours, bike tours, and, of course, ~evening outings~ added to this as well. Even while doing our makeup and straightening our hair in the bathroom, we met tons of others who were doing the same (many study abroad students from the U.S.). If you want a party hostel that is still comfortable and fairly quiet, then this is perfect.
Cleanliness/Facilities: Not the cleanest but not the dirtiest hostel where I’ve stayed. Just remember the price tag and it’s all worth it! Love the curtains and outlets by the beds, as well as the giant lockers.
I would definitely stay at a St. Christopher’s here or in another city again, if not for the price then definitely for the chance to meet so many other fun young people who love to travel!
While I originally claimed to not be a Barcelona gal and think that it was overrated, the sunny, fun, exciting city I saw this time around definitely changed my mind. Clearly, one trip to a city might not be enough to show you its true colors, and who knows, maybe I’ll see a new side of Barcelona next time as well!
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