En route to Alicante, Spain for the Volvo Ocean Races, we arrived in Barcelona for two nights. We departed from our Marseille, France, 7-hour train and immediately felt the hot, humid air upon exiting the train station. With print out directions in hand, we walked to find our hostel, the Lullaby Hostel. After walking three blocks in the wrong direction, we finally arrived to our home away from home for two nights. The Lullaby hostel is smack in the middle of the ritzy- designer shopping areas of Placa de Catalunya and we looked very out of place with our jumbo packs on. Opening the giant wooden door to the foyer, we were greeted by a security guard who directed us up toward the hostel reception desk. We had to squish, all three of us plus our backpacks in a old, cage elevator the size of a cracker box.
Lucky for us, the hostel was empty and we were upgraded to a four person room instead of our reserved two-person room. It was enormous and had two balconies for us to enjoy. We were pretty happy and ran back downstairs to see if we could stay for an additional night. Done. We had three nights to enjoy this taj mahal of a room to ourselves.
We unpacked, changed out of our jeans and tennis shoes and into shorts, tshirts and flippy floppies. Passing Casa Amatller and Casa Batllo on Passeig de Gracia, we noticed the Gaudi-designed hexagonal tiles. They were pretty spectacular.
The sun was setting and we still wanted to walk down La Rambla, which according to Rick Steve’s is the location in all of Europe you are most likely to get pick-pocketed at. Arriving at the port, we walked around and enjoyed the Barceloneta and water views, heading into the port offices to see about a ferry to the island of Mallorca. Apparently, ferries don’t run on Saturdays so we needed to plan out what we would be doing for two days before heading to Alicante.
Returning to La Rambla and having worked up an appetite, we found a excellent people-watching Italian restaurant and enjoyed sangria and pizza from a second-floor window seat. Headed back to our room, we picked up a six pack of spanish beer, hung out on our balcony and called it a night shortly thereafter.
The following day, feeling rested from a good night sleep, we grabbed breakfast: croissant and coffee for 2$ Euro! It was unbelievably cheap. First up, we wanted to visit La Sagrada Familia. On our way, we passed Casa Milà, with its gothic metal balconies.
We snapped a few pictures and headed to the Barri Gotic quarters of Barcelona to check out the Barcelona Cathedral. The Barcelona Cathedral has free entry before 12:30pm, and it was way past that time so we decided we’d check it out the next day and instead go have a late lunch. mmm
Tired from our long train ride and constant moving, unpacking, repacking, etc, we went back to our room and enjoyed lounging around and skyping family. We found a delicious wok place called walk to wok and enjoyed a good dinner. And yes, we did pick up another six pack of beer and sat on our balcony, going to bed right after.
On our last day in Barcelona, we had quite the list of sights we still needed to see since we’d been slacking on seeing them for the past two days. We planned our walking route, fueled up at our cheap breakfast cafe and headed out. First up, the Barcelona Cathedral.
With tired feet we debated renting bikes for the rest of the day but, with crappy spanish, we weren’t able to read the directions so we ended up walking up a giant hill to the Olympic Park where the 1992 Olympics were held.
We walked almost 8 miles that day and were totally exhausted. We got back to our room and crashed on our beds for a nap. Feet throbbing, sweaty, but horizontal, we fell asleep for a two hours and awoke hungry, as usual, but not wanting to walk anywhere. Where to go? McDonalds. It was delicious. And….then we fell asleep for the night.
With out the following day we were catching a train to Alicante, where we’d be sitting on the beach, eating and drinking ourselves silly for eight days.