One of the many props about being home-based in Stuttgart is its central location. I am a quick drive or short flight away from experiencing some of the most beautiful cities in the world. Spain has long been on my bucket list. Besides a quick day trip to Tarifa located across the Straights of Gibraltar, Spain has remained completely undiscovered by me. Therefore, when the chance of going (and very cheaply might I add) became a last minute possibility I jumped.
Many people don’t know about last minute ‘blind bookings’ offered by the airline German Wings. Basically it works like this: you pick the type of trip you want, ie: cultural, party, historical, and so on. After choosing, you are presented with about 6 different possible destinations. If there is one destination you know you absolutely do NOT want to go to then you can eliminate it. However, with every choice you eliminate the price of your ticket goes up. When you are satisfied with the destinations left, you click ‘pay’ and wait to see what you get. The upside- it can cost from 30-90 Euros roundtrip. The downside- you never know what you are going to get. I think it is an awesome idea, especially for a long weekend and it mixes a bit of excitement into the whole traveling process. My coworkers and I decided to try the blind booking process and through some sort of miracle we were able to book round-trip tickets to Barcelona for 60 Euros. This was on a Tuesday and we left on Friday morning.
Unfortunately I was so busy with work that I didn’t have enough time to prepare for this trip. I literally did not know where to start or what the highlights were. So I reached out to fellow blogger, “Christine in Spain,” and she recommended some must-see’s and do’s. I arrived in Barcelona Friday morning, dropped off my bags and took the city with camera in hand by storm.
Barcelona grabs you and wraps you up in its arms within seconds of stepping foot on its pavement. The old beautiful architecture blends unnaturally well with the contemporary and the streets hum along to a catchy bohemian beat. You can’t help but smile as you voluntarily get lost in its labyrinth of alleyways and graffiti covered buildings. Funky shops line the street and long chestnut haired fashionistas strut by, holding everyone’s gaze for a minute too long. The city is constantly alive and oozing with the same sex appeal and charm as the men who crowd the bars at night. If Paris is your love, then Barcelona is your mistress- seducing you back into its arms with guilty promises of thrilling times and unforgettable memories.
My advice to you is to let Barcelona lure you in with its delicious tapas and mouth-watering sangria. Stroll around the labyrinth of streets on foot or rent a bike from the bike rental stands located on every block. Head down to the beach, lounge in the sun, and watch the surfers catch waves.
After the beach, head down to the main artery of the city: Las Ramblas. Ditch the bike and enjoy a nice stroll down this street, stopping every so often to take a look at the local crafts and leather goods. Get some shopping done at the local trendy boutiques and then head back to your hotel for a quick nap and shower.
The real fun in Barcelona begins in the evenings. Late dinners are the norm so plan to see some shows before hand. The city is known for its Flamenco dancing- a must see for everyone. The women will love the dancing and costumes; the men will love the dancers. All will love the intensity, passion, and Spanish flare. If not Flamenco, then go and see a Spanish guitar concert. There are always a ton of shows going on, so look for the guys on the street pitching the latest and greatest.
After the show, grab a late dinner and then head out for a night on the town. Solo? Join a pub-crawl and tour around the cities craziest bars and clubs. You will spend the night meeting people from around the world, toasting in a hundred different languages, and relishing in the fact that no matter where you go you always meet amazing people. Not into the club scene? Try out your Spanish and chill out in one of the many cool lounges and bars. No matter what scene you are into, fun times are guaranteed.
Spend a Sunday recovering by leisurely walking around Gaudi’s amazing architectural creations and relaxing park. Expect to fight the crowds and good luck getting a picture with the famous lizard.
On the way back, stop, sit, and listen to the very talented musicians serenade you with the best Spanish guitar you have ever heard. Lastly, enjoy a relaxing lunch at a café located off the beaten path- the less tourists the better.
Until next time, travel well and travel often.