In Part 1, I wrote about the tools that we use for our travel, and also how we eventually decided to visit Spain. The next 5 parts (including this) will cover the actual trip, with each part covering a city.
Day 1 - June 8
Our first stop in Spain was Barcelona. We arrived in Barcelona at 11am, after a long 16-hour flight. I tried to sleep as much as I could on the plane so I’d have energy from Day 1. Sheryl tried to do the same but I remember she ended up watching 3 complete movies :P. Once we arrived, we tried half-heartedly to look for a data SIM card, but gave up within 5 minutes. I think a both of us wanted to disconnect from the world as much as possible anyway.
We decided to take the bus (I can’t remember the name, but it’s the only bus queue outside the airport) from the airport to the city, and bought the tickets. Tip: Make sure to get your credit/debit card PIN ready before your trip, you can use it to purchase the bus tickets (and many other tickets at other places) from the automated machines which usually have much shorter queues.
To be honest, we took the bus without knowing for sure where it’s going, but looking at the route I kinda figured out that it’s going to go to the city (Plaza Catalunya, which at the point in time seemed like the “right” place to go to), although Sheryl doubted me for most of the bus ride. After 45 minutes or so, we finally arrived at Plaza Catalunya, and immediately I noticed the fountain there.
As you can see, we still had our luggages so walking around the city was definitely not the first thing on our mind. We didn’t have physical maps as well (something we’d start trying to find or even buy for the other cities), so we relied on the Map of Spain Android app that we had downloaded back in Singapore. Lesson learnt: Never try using an app for production purposes (for actual travel) without first testing it first. I could never find my way around the app! Thankfully, Sheryl somehow mastered it, and very soon we were on our way to our accommodation. Along the way, we met a helpful Spanish lady who confirmed that we were walking in the right direction (it took us at least 30 minutes of walking and dragging the heavy luggage).
We reached our accommodation, and met with Benoit, our friendly host. He gave us a map, and also told us how to get to the various places. As the room was not available yet, we left the luggage at his place and headed out. Our plan was to have a quick lunch, walk around a little, and then head back to our lodging to take a quick rest.
Please see Airbnb here for the actual room we booked.
Our first meal in Spain left us wondering if we should have brought cup noodles. It was nothing to do with the restaurant, and everything to do with us not knowing what we were ordering! We basically ordered bread and breaded chicken, and ate them with olive oil and vinegar…
Don’t get me wrong, the food was pretty tasty, but not what we were looking for. We saw another table having really delicious-looking food and realized that we probably ordered everything wrong! Language is an issue here at this point in time…
After lunch, we went back to our lodging, got our room, and fell asleep! It seems that sleeping on the plane wasn’t effective against jet lag after all :(.
Our next activity was sometime around 4.30PM with Runner Bean Tours. They conduct free walking tours every day! Due to us falling asleep, we ended up being late, and joining the wrong tour. We had wanted to go for the Old City Tour, but ended up on the Gaudi Tour. Nonetheless, we had a really good time with the guide, Tatiana.
The tour, as the name suggests, covered the different Gaudi buildings in Barcelona. There were lots of interesting information shared throughout the tour too!
Lots of pictures coming up…
At the end of the tour, Tatiana gave us a tip: go see the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, near the Plaza Espana station. And we’re glad we did! It is by far, the most amazing water fountain we have ever seen!
Before that though, we tried searching for some of the food places Tatiana recommended. Although we found both of them, they were both closed! Thus, we headed directly to Plaza Espana, hoping to find some good food there. We headed for Tapa Tapa, and really loved the food!
We were so glad we didn’t bring cup noodles after all! After that, we had a bit of time so we went to the roof of the nearby mall (I can’t remember the name now):
Next up, we are finally heading to the fountain! You can see a bit of it in the above photo, at the bottom-right side (the pinkish cloudy-looking thing).
Along the way, we ran into some superheroes…
Words and pictures cannot describe the feeling we had when we were standing directly in front of the fountain, it’s a really beautiful fountain and if you are ever in Barcelona, one of the things I’d really recommend you to visit. It was a surprise for us because this was completely unplanned, and it resulted because we joined the wrong tour!
After that, we spent a little more time walking around the area, took more photos, before heading back to our lodging for the day. A great first day, and we’ve already fallen in love with the city.
These people are watching the fountain show.
Day 2 - June 9
We were initially supposed to go for a hot air balloon session on this day, but due to weather conditions, the hot air balloon session was shifted to June 11. There was thus some changes to our plan, and we decided to go to Montserrat instead.
Sheryl and I ready to take on the world.
For brunch, we decided to head to one of the places Tatiana had recommended earlier, Em Ve De Gust. We also realized how close our lodging was to the Sagrada Familia, which we had seen the day before during the tour. Em Ve De Gust was really good and affordable!
After the satisfying brunch, it was time to head to Montserrat!
Every trip that we do, we try to mix in a bit of the outdoors and adventure, and this trip is no different. There are multiple ways to get to Montserrat, and we opted to go via train, and then cable car. For the train ride, we actually took the wrong train, but thankfully the next stop was also a common stop for our train! We are very grateful to the man who told us that when we got off at the wrong stop :).
We then resumed our journey and got off at the cable car stop:
The cable car offers spectacular views!
After a short 5 minute ride, we reached Montserrat. We took the Sant Joan funicular up and then started our hike to Sant Jeroni.
Here we go! And here’s a photo dump of some of the shots we took along the way…
After about 1.5 hours, we finally reached the top. We stopped to take photos a lot during the hike, and it also turned out to be a lot more tiring than we expected! We then realized that we had about 50 minutes or less to make it for the last funicular ride down, or else we would have to hike all the way down, which is not ideal at all! As a result, we did not take a lot of photos on the way down, and quite literally, we ran about half of the time. Here’s one of the shots I really liked from this hike:
Hehe :). We made it in time for the funicular, and then spent more time around Montserrat. The Basilica is very, very grand.
Sheryl is holding Cacaolat, a super tasty and rich chocolate milk drink!
As luck will have it, we actually missed our cable car ride back to the main train station, and had to buy the train ticket down Montserrat instead. As if that was not bad enough, we again took the wrong train!
We had no idea where we were, but someone kind told us that this is also a common stop, and we managed to get onto the correct train and head back to the main station.
We headed back to Tapa Tapa for dinner, but it was disappointing this time round and not as good as the first time we had it :(.
Nonetheless, Day 2 of Barcelona was a fulfilling day. The hike was physically exhausting, the rest of Montserrat was just beautiful to walk around and look at.
The initial plan was to put our entire Barcelona trip into part 2, but we realized this post is getting way too long, so I’m going to have to stop here for now. Part 3 will talk about the rest of our Barcelona trip!
Other parts in this series:
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 1 - June 8 to June 22
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 3 - Barcelona Day 3
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 4 - Barcelona Day 4
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 5 - Barcelona Day 5, Cordoba Day 1
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 6 - Cordoba Day 2, Seville Day 1
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 7 - Seville Day 2
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 8 - Granada Day 1
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 9 - Granada Day 2
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 10 - Madrid Day 1
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 11 - Madrid Day 2
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 12 - Madrid Day 3
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 13 - Toledo Day Trip
- Travel: Spain 2014 | Part 14 - Last Day in Spain