Whizzing through Barcelona

Monday 7 September 2015
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This was my second trip to Barcelona. The first was with the infamous Contiki tour group, a rite of passage that many Kiwis and Aussies take as they embark on their first O.E (overseas experience) to Europe. Days were spent hungover and snoring on the coach, then gradually showed signs of life by late afternoon and completely resuscitated by nightfall to guzzle enough alcohol to fill up a lake. And if you're allergic to alcohol like 4 of my buddies and I.....well...learn to count sheep or in our case, cars that sped past our coach (once you've exhausted the entire collection of Lonely Planet guidebooks you lugged along).

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I was given fabulous tips by many lovely Instagramers who are far more familiar with Barcelona than I. Sadly, I was traveling in a group, albeit much smaller than the Contiki so it was difficult to deviate from the given itinerary. We whizzed past all the major attractions like tourists on crack. Casa Battlo, Sagrada Familia, Magic Fountain (Font màgica de Montjuïc), Park Guell, La Boqueria food name a few.

The architecture in Barcelona? Let me just pick my jaw from the ground. I've stopped dead in my tracks so many times, gawking in awe at the innovative, eclectic and sometimes surreal buildings. 

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The BCFs - Best Cousins Forever, as they called themselves. Both wish they're both each other's true sibling. I hope they'll have each other's back and continue to be as kind and considerate to one another as they grow into adulthood.

Outfit: H&M linen t-shirt, J.Crew shorts, Hermes belt, panama hat, Miu Miu sunglasses, Hermes Cape Cod watch, K.Jacques St Tropez sandals and Louis Vuitton Speedy 35.

I was told that the temperature the week before we arrived hovered around 38˚C to 40˚C so we were "blessed" with far FAR cooler weather (33˚C). Since this blog is also meant to be a sort of personal style slash travel slash food (as you can probably tell, it tends to skew more heavily towards the latter two), I'll ramble on a bit about my outfit. My choice of outfit? Anything that allowed AS MUCH ventilation as possible since I wasn't able to carry a portable A/C on my back.

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The one place I could happily wander around and eat all day would have to be the La Boqueria food market (actually, any food market for that matter). The price tags seemed to shrink as you continued your way into the other end of the market. I was transfixed by the sight of watermelons........... I can't out-drink anyone but I can sure out-eat any Tom, Dick and Harry when it comes to melons of any kind.

I popped into a supermarket and somehow ended up at the fresh seafood counter. There were incredulous gasps all around. Sorry, I meant me. I'm so used to seeing seafood priced so high that it's more like a treat here in England. I can't believe fresh anchovies cost less than €5. In fact, fish and most forms of shellfish were incredibly inexpensive in Barcelona in comparison to the UK. I contemplating moving to Spain temporarily just so that I can eat fresh seafood everyday.

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Coming from South of France where the general restaurant scene was rather abysmal, Barcelona was like a food heaven. In fact, I believe Spanish cuisine is completely under-rated. I'm surprised it isn't celebrated more outside of Spain. I know little about the various regional Spanish cuisines but I wish I do now after spending 5 whole days of gorge-fest where I was blown away by the flavor and texture of the different tapas dishes. We ate like kings and paid less than half of our below average meals in Nice. We didn't even had to force feed the kids. Instead we fought over the last prawn, piece of octopus or who deserved the last spoonful of the heavenly paella.

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  1. Love the photos~! Your photos bring me back to the short trip I took to Barcelona during my short summer europe trip in 2013... I especially love the photo of the BCFs at the Parc. I took a similar pic with my "irish twin" sister at around the exact same spot when we were in Barcelona in 2013... :)

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Nancy. Great minds think alike :) It's a lovely spot for photographs when it's not overcrowded. Sounds like you had a lovely time with your sister.

  2. Amazing photos Marlene, the food ones actually made my mouth water! My favourite city, I adore Barcelona especially as my lovely sister and husband live there. It has the most fantastic restaurants, bars, shopping and beaches close..everything all in one city, your photos encapsulate this perfect. Your daughter and cousin are gorgeous too! xx

    1. In future, I'll have to ask your sister for more tips as to where the locals go. I feel like there's so much of Barcelona I haven't seen.

  3. Beautiful photos, as usual. Though it's been years since I've been there, I remember the surreal, fantastical feel of the architecture and what a special place it was. And how can you not love the BCFs! L is getting so tall!

    Also, wow--38-40 degrees? That is hot, even for someone who lives in "Hot-lanta" ;p


    1. Yup, L's a beanpole and not an ounce of meat in sight.

  4. Yum...I love Barcelona!

  5. I'm not sure how we managed it, but last year we spent 3 weeks in Catalunya and although we made it all the way to Valencia (highly recommended by the way, if you've never been), we managed to completely avoid Barcelona! I think at 3 and 6 the kids were too small to appreciate it tbh, but I'd love to take them in the future. And I agree with you about Spanish food - hugely underrated! xx

    1. I've never been to Valencia. Come to think of it, I'm dying to explore Spain. I think you're one smart mama for avoiding Barcelona. I think major cities are best avoided with young kids. They're miserable in crowded places anyway.

  6. I love your photos, and i also want to have a trip to Barcelona.

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  8. The food looks so great! I hope I could visit this place someday, too!
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