there was a revolving conversation about where we would go for vacation, dating back to early last year. we hadn’t gone on a trip together and had been dating for five years, we were due. but life happens, the big one being that the startup i worked for folding shortly after the new year. we also ended up moving in together in june so between rent/security deposits/furniture, taking a trip was a huge question mark.
and then we just did it. we booked our flight straight to barcelona and set off on a 10-day adventure, exploring a country we both hadn’t been to before. we went to 4 different cities in spain, and first up is barcelona. this is gonna be a long one, so buckle up!
WHERE WE STAYED
we stayed at this gorgeous airbnb, which was located right off la rambla + right behind la boqueria market. finn + beatriz were gracious hosts that lived in barcelona for about 15 years, so they also had some amazing recommendations. i fell in love with the decor of the apartment simply from the photos on airbnb, and it was just as stunning in person.
THINGS WE SAW
VIBRANT COLORS EVERYWHERE
when visiting barcelona, i absolutely recommend seeing allllll gaudí that you can. we saw casa milà and casa Batlló, but unfortunately couldn’t make it to Park Güell, but i’ve heard it’s beautiful. we also were not prepared for the magnitude of la sagrada familia - it’s something you just need to experience in person. we also went through la boqueria but it’s a tourist trap on crack. i would advise going just to see it, but definitely avoid eating there because it can be overpriced. we also walked down la rambla (their version of times square) a few times, mostly because of the location of our airbnb. la barceloneta (their beach) was also beautiful. for the gaudí exhibits + la sagrada familia, i recommend booking tickets in advance.
there were a few things that we didn’t get to do (picasso museum, Park Güell) but i guess it’s good to leave a few things for your next visit, right 😉
WHAT WE ATE
now you guys know that i’ve been dying to get to this part! the food. we absolutely indulged (and made a pact to eat better as soon as we got back to new york) and have no regrets.
PLACES WE ATE
our first meal is the first photo under ‘what we ate’ - it was incredible and incredibly overpriced. we were so hungry by the time we set our bags down that we were unfortunately roped into eating at la boqueria - something i had been told to avoid. don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious but it’s the equivalent of eating a meal in times square. (hint: don’t)
our dinner the first night was at la dama, a recommendation from beatriz. dining here was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. a man waits outside of the building and has to open a door with a key to let you into the restaurant. it felt so fancy that we were almost uncomfortable. and it still cost less than a nice night out here in new york. oh, and that porn star martini pictured above? best cocktail i’ve ever had. we had tapas + beer at el xampanyet, and it was the best tapas experience had in barcelona. don’t be intimidated by the crowd, it’s absolutely worth it and they’ll find a way to serve you. we had paella at can sole that was also delicious, despite tom normally not being the biggest fan of seafood. our last dinner in barcelona was at bodega la puntual and it did not disappoint. absolutely recommend the rice with iberian pork. we also visited an insane bar called sor rita that had the most wacked out decor (slutty nuns, a confessional bathroom, barbie dolls having sex, panties hanging from the ceiling) and a fun bar in the hip el born district called bar sauvage that played hip hop + gave condoms out with certain drinks.
we also had an unhealthy amount of croquetas, Jamón, and cañas. if either Jamón or croquetas are on the menu, order them. and take full advantage of their cheap beer!
seeing a flamenco show at palau dalmases is an experience that’ll stick with me for the rest of my life. i was so overwhelmed at how incredible this show was that as soon as the singer began his performance, i started crying a little. there’s so much history and beauty to flamenco, and this show felt special. another beautiful recommendation from beatriz. and it helps that the show is located in a 17th century palace.
i also got a tattoo. surprise! i think all of my tattoos have been done impulsively, which is why i love them. and this one holds the most meaning, as it’s the sun on the filipino flag. i got it done by carlos at saudade tattoo, and am so obsessed with it. carlos + the staff were amazing, and i definitely recommend if you’re feeling bold enough to get ink in another country.
and there it is! a recap of our days in barcelona. and if you thought this was fun, i can’t wait to tell you guys about granada.