The time I went to…Barcelona

The time I went to…Barcelona

Written by Heather

Topics: Experiences Abroad

This is a post in the series “the time I went to…” in which I highlight international travel destinations pre-Oz. Gav’s beloved Chelsea FC beat Barcelona this past week — and the two teams meet again this week in Barcelona for a rematch. Perfect timing for me to share about the two weeks I spent in Barcelona in 2008.

You can’t fall in love with every destination. Oz and I were meant to be but Barcelona? It’s the one place I’ve been that just didn’t click with me.

But there was still plenty of good.


I spent two weeks traveling with one of my best friends. I played the role of map reader and navigator and she rocked the role of speaker and negotiator. While I was too shy to use my limited Spanish, I was able to produce a few helpful statements that I would then pass on to Nicole.

Enjoying tapas at Ciudad Condal

We loved going out for tapas with folks from the hostel. Our favorite place? Ciudad Condal.

For two gals who love food and markets, we found our heaven at La Boqueria. We stopped by in the mornings for a breakfast of fresh fruit bowls or freshly squeezed juice. At lunch, I visited an organic booth toward the back for an easy and healthy takeaway meal. And we found our go-to free public toilet.

Fresh produce at La Boqueria

When we weren’t busy sourcing food from markets, we were shopping for handmade crafts. I purchased a pair of earrings that I still adore, and after days of eying a beautiful purse, I finally caved and splurged. Sometimes you have to treat yourself!

I even found a bit of Australia in Barcelona. We searched high and low for a pub showing State of Origin, and when we finally did, we met Jon. He’s a Blues fan, but we befriended him and sat together anyway :-)


Not everything was so peachy.

I was sick the first few days. When we popped into a pharmacy, we didn’t have enough Spanish between us to explain what I needed. Finally Nicole was able to communicate my problem, and I walked out with a box that read “Laxante Vegetal-regulador intestinal” O:-)

At night, we got very little sleep. We don’t expect to have quiet nights in the hostel, but we didn’t expect drunken party goers to return ALL hours of the night, every night, and yell so loudly that they woke everyone up in the hostel. Doors slammed. Lights went off and on. People spoke and laughed at full volume in the hostel room while running into everything that was stationary.

It only got worse when we checked into our second hostel. Instead of the 12-person room we had booked, we were placed into an 18-person room. And if the slamming door every 30 minutes of the night didn’t get to you, the dust beasts above your head surely did. I kid you not, we slept three feet below a drain pipe that was home to dust bunnies the size of my HEAD. Who knows what size those dusts beasts are today, four years later.

Along with the hot or not moments, we had plenty of time to explore various suburbs, take a day trip or two, and visit Gaudi attractions.

We stopped to listen and then bought a CD
Great band performing at Port Vell

Gotta stroll along Las Ramblas
La Rambla

Mosaic work in Parc Guell
Finally snagged a seat at the busy park

View from atop La Pedrera

I’d like to return to Barcelona and see if I feel any differently about the city. Even if I don’t find a connection, at least I know where to go for tapas!

9 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Laura says:

    Heather, I hope you get to go back and if so, take me with you! I was worried about getting mugged in Barcelona (as 3 people in 2 days from my hostel were) but other than that I LOVED the city. I’m in love with Gaudi so that was an easy sell… I went to Park Guell 3 times :) I also went to the same market you mentioned, however, I never went to a tapas place. And I got super lucky in my hostel- even though it was an 8 bed dorm (and I was with 7 guys as luck would have it), everyone was really respectful and quiet, even if they came in late. The one night I decided to go out with the hostel, my whole room stayed in and I was the one tiptoeing in late! But I totally know how an obnoxious dorm can ruin it for you.

  2. Gav says:

    When I first heard about your Barcelona trip I was a bit surprised that it was a place you didn’t connect with. So many go there and go back again. Although in England Spain is one of holiday locations for people.

    I’ve not been to mainland Spain, only Majorca, so should you want to go for a second opinion count me in Mrs P to be :-) :-*

    Lovely post babe :-)

    • Heather says:

      Barcelona and Melbourne are two places people LOVE but two places that I just didn’t connect with — HOWEVER, I will explore Melbourne’s cafes any day of the week.

  3. Nicole says:

    I think I had more of a connection with Barcelona than you did, but now that I’ve been to Sydney I understand what it’s like to truly feel at home in a foreign land – it’s just so magical there. :)

    You give me more credit for speaking Spanish than I deserve – I guess I managed a word or two here or there, but nothing to brag about. Of course my ability to spot patisseries & chocolate shops from a mile away was a pretty handy skill. 😉

  4. Will - Gap Daemon says:

    Barca is awesome no doubt! How did you think it shaped up to Madrid? P.S. They’re not shaping up too great ahead of the Bayern either. I’ll be loving Chelsea tonight!

    • Heather says:

      I must admit — I can’t answer anything yet but “Go Chelsea!” I haven’t grown up watching soccer — uh, football — and the boy is planning on teaching me very soon :-)

  5. Ben says:

    Where did you watch the Origin? Here now and would love to catch Game 3

    • Heather says:

      Hi Ben! We watched it at O´Haras Irish Pub. I’m not sure if it’s still open, but that’s where we went!

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