72 Hours in Barcelona

Up until fairly recently, I’ve been very MIA. Not out of choice, but because I’ve been busy trying to process and deal with the aftermath of what ended up being a very wild and weird two months following my twenty-first birthday.

After the end of my last relationship, I caved and joined Tinder again. I had no real view to meeting anyone, it was just for an occasional compliment induced self-esteem boost or chat to pass the lonely evening hours. I’ve always despised the tiring and tedious nature of dating and after begrudgingly going on a few Tinder dates since the re-download, I just felt uncomfortable and was convinced that perhaps love wasn’t for me.

If my last heartbroken post is anything to go by, I can confirm that love isn’t for me. A few days after I turned twenty-one, I started seeing this guy from Tinder and spoiler alert: I really, really liked him. Spoiler alert, again: It didn’t work out. However, we did travel half-way around the world with each other on a fourth date and while, ultimately, there wasn’t a happy end – I was a bit of an idiot in believing he liked me, and I think it did far more emotional ruin for me than it did good – it would a be a shame not to share the snaps from our travels because hey, I’m in them too and it was as much my holiday as it was his.

WEARING: SHORT SLEEVE BOILER PLAYSUIT (SIZE 8)

I’ve only ever been on maybe four major holidays in my twenty-one years: a school trip to Disneyland Paris in which I spent thirteen grueling hours on a coach, a family sojourn to the Isle of Wight for a funeral, an 18th birthday trip to the Philippines which culminated in the death of my father and a mother-daughter two week break to Stockholm before my fateful move to Bristol. So, when said Tinder date – who I really should give a fictional name in order to ease the writing process – suggested that we do a weekend away, I jumped at the chance.

Our initial thoughts were to stay in Bristol, maybe hit up Bath, and I believe he even toyed with the idea of Amsterdam and Copenhagen before hitting me up at 2am with the brilliant decision of Barcelona. So, after a few more hours of pondering and general WTF-are-we-doing, we booked the next flight out of Bristol.

Let me preface this with a quick disclaimer, I am aware what I embarked on was very, very reckless and arguably very stupid. I, for one, am still stunned that I wasn’t sold into a human trafficking ring the minute the plane touched Spanish soil. For someone who I had only met upwards of three times, I had a lot of faith in Tinder Boy. Albeit misguided faith, but ya girl is surprisingly still here with organs in tact – aside from a broken heart – so that’s something, I guess?

I think I’ll be the first Brit to ever utter these words, but Spain has never really been a dream holiday destination of mine. You see, despite my Filipino heritage, I do not fair well in the sun. Therefore, lounging around on a beach, soaking up the sun’s rays, is hardly a favourite pastime of mine. Yet, Tinder Boy, had already been to Barcelona. So, once more, I put all my faith in him and his destination choices. Plus, it saved money on a tour guide! Not that we really saw many of the must-see Barcelona sights anyway… Definitely his fault.

We spent a whirlwind three days in Barcelona which, given the absolutely meticulous-and-not-at-all-impulsive planners we are, naturally meant that we spent three nights in three different hotels and because we didn’t do a ton of exploring other than what was ideally near to us, I guess most of this post is going to be a comprehensive play-by-play of the hotels. Yes, this blog is now a budget TripAdvisor, folks. Come for the aesthetically pleasing travel pictures and stay for the blog posts rinsing hotels.

Me and Tinder Boy first hit up Hotel Catalonia Barcelona Plaza which, you guessed it, is situated by the plaza. Location-wise, it was great. It was a stone’s throw away from Montjuic which we did take a nice stroll over to see and as evidenced by the photos below, we were fortunate to have been given a view of Plaça d’Espanya from our room.

VIEW FROM OUR DOUBLE ROOM AT HOTEL CATALONIA BARCELONA PLAZA:

The hotel room was a little basic. I’ve been known to be that bitch who will walk out of a hotel if they don’t like the room and yes, I know how much of a diva that makes me sound, but I like to sleep in comfort… and style. However, I was with Tinder Boy and I wanted to make a good impression and while all of that would later go out of the window, I refrained from kicking up too much of a fuss.

The room, which I unfortunately don’t have any photos of, was quite tiny. Decor-wise, it felt very dated and tired. One thing that absolutely enraged my wonderful traveling companion was that there was no duvet. Alas, the hotel only offered what were essentially these paper thin blanket sheets and thus, begins our journey to becoming the most chaotic, complaints couple in Barcelona (and maybe arguably later Asian) hotel history.

Montjuic, one of the treats of Barcelona that we did manage to get out and see, was breathtaking… and bloody boiling. Looking back at my luggage, I underestimated severely just how warm Spain was going to be and definitely did not pack with our later locations in mind.

Now, here’s where doing these blog posts gets very tricky, I don’t really have a plethora of photos of me alone at Montjuic or solo on the trip in general and while I have toyed with the idea of cropping out the blonde by my side, I also even consulted a photographer mate of mine to see if she could work some magic, and other than smacking Jake Gyllenhaal’s face over his and calling it a day, there was just no way to side-step this issue. And while my heart goes out to him for having to endure me with straight hair on that trip due to the unprepared lack of packing an adapter for my curling iron, I have to admit, I look kind of good in them and for me to say that about a photo taken of myself is very difficult.

So, here we find ourselves. I wouldn’t label my last post a call-out as such, but I definitely have already put the boy on blast about it not ending well so I’m not going to do that in this post. Also, if he wants his Insta chucked in this for a promo or whatever, that’s chill and he knows where to reach me.

In the evening, we headed to the harbour in a quest for drinks and maybe some food. Disclaimer to any future boys: I am deathly allergic to seafood. Which is tragic because I really do love prawns and as you can imagine, it makes eating out an absolute nightmare. Despite my pleas to just go to the nearest Maccies, we persevered, settling briefly for a quick mojito at a rooftop bar before continuing our search.

One of the stand out moments on the trip for me was the evening we went out and tried tapas. Regardless of the now animosity between me and Tinder Boy, it really was very romantic and I do lowkey still swoon when thinking about it. We drank a lot of red wine – which you’ll find was a regular activity for us – laughed a lot, somehow managed to convince this random couple and their daughter to also give their custom to this lovely tapas restaurant whose name I cannot remember (typical me!). The kid definitely took a shining to Tinder Boy and, in that moment, I can’t really say I blame her.

#romance

Day two meant we were back on the move. We traded the plaza for the Ramblas, checking in to Hotel Barcelona 1898. This was probably my favourite hotel of the three. There was a terrace, a rooftop pool with a slight view of La Sagrada Familia, the nicest chicken nuggets you’ll ever eat in your life (I’m sorry, Maccies!) so what wasn’t there to love? Well, we also raised hell in that hotel.

It all started over toothbrushes – or the hotel’s lack thereof. Again, I need to emphasise that this wasn’t the most well thought out adventure as neither of us had any of our basic amenities. From shampoo to dental hygiene, we were completely at the hotel’s mercy. Also, apparently alcohol past 11pm at the hotel wasn’t a thing? Put it this way, we were not happy Brits abroad at that point.

Let’s just say, it culminated in a noise complaint and a woman – not me – cried. In the words of Tame Impala, the less you know, the better.

HOTEL LOBBY BITCHIN’ AT HOTEL 1898 FT. OUR BREAKFAST AND THE POOL

Toothbrush-less in Spain, we took to the streets to do some exploring in the rain which thankfully, cleared up and allowed us to get some good photographic content…

 

WEARING: PIMKIE COAT IN LEOPARD PRINT (SIZE 8)

After a little pit stop at Firebug to grab some espresso martinis and shelter from the rain, we ventured to the Arc de Triomf (no, not that one) and Parc de la Ciutadella. As you can see from the photos, it is an absolutely architecturally stunning park which also has a zoo and is home to the Museum of Natural Sciences of Barcelona.

It might visually be one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen and the few photos that I do have definitely do not do the place justice. Also, massive thank you to the random American lady for the shots in front of the beautiful Cascada Monumental. Once more, glaringly obvious that I’m not alone, but the crop job would not have been easy on this and I want any readers to get a full glimpse at how gorgeous the monumental is since my attentions were evidently too focused on a rather different view instead of taking snaps of the actual architectural marvel before me.

The third day saw us ditch 1898 and relocate to the Sallés Hotels Pere IV. I don’t recall an awful lot about that hotel other than that while being somewhat close to the beach, there was no room with a beach view. We did, however, have our own little balcony-terrace thing where he had a smoke while I sat and watched the planes go by. We/he definitely complained about something during our stay. I think it might have been because we requested ice for our drinks, but don’t quote me on it.

Of course, no holiday to Spain would be complete without at least one trip to the beach. We wandered the Spanish streets until we caught sight of the sea in the distance, arriving shortly at Platja de la Nova Icària. After much perusing to find some non-fishy food by the sea, we settled for the safe option of garlic bread, falsely advertised ‘french fries’ (they’re chips, mate), tapas and red wine and stayed until the sun went down.

Nobody ever believes me when I tell them how we went from cute fourth date weekend abroad in Barcelona to spending two and a half weeks holidaying around Asia because quite simply it sounds like the most idiotic decision ever. While sipping red wine – are you starting to see a theme here? – at the Placa Reial, me and Tinder Boy decided we disliked Spain after all. So, do we head back home to Bristol? No. We decided the obvious logical thing to do would be to go to Asia. He’s been to Asia, I was born there and am half Asian – seemed like the only clear option! Ah, to be young and naïve. So, fueled on wine and patatas bravas, we booked our tickets to Bangkok.

OUR TERRACE AT SALLÉ HOTELS PERE IV AND PLATJA DE LA NOVA ICÀRIA:

If you’ve made it this far, I owe you because I feel like this post has been the biggest disappointment since I decided to start dating again. In short, I went to Barcelona, didn’t see much of the tourist Instagram-worthy sights, but did eat my weight in tapas and drink a small lake’s worth of red wine. Also, you now walk away with knowledge of which hotel does pretty decent chicken nuggets in Barcelona – no need to thank me!

Some may say that this post has been all style and no substance, and they would be mostly correct. However, just so readers don’t leave feeling entirely short-changed, I created a playlist of all the tunes I listened to on the plane to and from Barcelona which you can listen to below or by following this link.

I received this message from a Tumblr user about the playlist, so not toot my own horn, but 💁

While a lucrative future travel blogging may not be on the horizon for me, do check back to hear more waffle about Asia and maybe I’ll chuck in a playlist or two (you know I definitely will).

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