I first went *properly* abroad at the age of sixteen, on a college-organised trip to New York. Before that, I’d only done the classic school-trip-to-France where we were banned from listening to Mr. Hanky The Christmas Poo on the journey and I almost threw up on Space Mountain. As a kid, I went on some amazing, fun UK holidays with my family, with Rory the Tiger being a pretty constant and endearing feature.
However, disregarding a four-day trip working on a Uni sports tour trip to Rimini in Italy (where the sun only came out on the last day and I had a bit too much sangria and ran into a freezing sea in all my clothes), last year I went on my first ever GROWN-UP HOLIDAY. Planning our first trip as ‘a couple’ (adulting hard), we decided to hit Barcelona hard for a long weekend before zipping down the coast to Salou for some quality sun-and-sangria fun.
We stayed in a pretty cheap hostel smack-bang in the central Gothic Quarter – luxury wasn’t really top of the list as we didn’t intend to spend much time at all in our room. The Gothic Quarter itself was one of the most amazing places I’ve been to, with it’s beautiful juxtaposition of historical architecture and street art. Wandering around the area was an activity in itself – popping into all the little shops, cafes and bars to see what the city had to offer. And it was a lot. We vintage shopped, looked at art, rifled through souvenirs and sat in cafes filling our faces with tasty tapas.
Some of the best moments of the trip were the little ones – like sipping sangria in a cafe under the shadow of Sagrada Familia, watching the world go by. And the food was, quite obviously, fantastic. I developed a big-time love for jamón ibérico thanks to having a tasting at the Jamon Experience. We also did their audiovisual tour, which was definitely on the creepy side when you’re the only two people actually in it. But aside from running away when I thought we were going into an abbatoir, it was strangely fascinating and gave us lots to talk about while relaxing with a glass of bubbly and a big plate of jamón in the tasting bar.
On our last day, we found ourselves wandering. Sometimes, it’s the best way to discover things. Our wandering led us up hills and stairs to the National Museum, where we sat on the steps with cans of Estrella, gazing out at the amazing city we’d just experienced and realising how much more there was still to discover.
Visiting Barcelona really opened my eyes to the possibilities of travel. Before I went, dresses and lipstick had been top of the salary-spend priorities – but taking in the culture and history of somewhere so different gave me a big-time taste for more. I want to see everything, experience the world, have more adventures. I want to wander down city streets gazing up at architecture and set myself down in all the best local restaurants and eat the tastiest local food. The whole trip has inspired me to think about the way I live, changed the things I blog about and the things I value in life. I felt like the whole world had just opened up to me, and I also got to share it all with my favourite person.
Without Barcelona, I might not have found my way to more ‘mini adventures’. And that’s why it has my heart.
*This post is part of GetYourGuide.com’s #ileftmyheartin Blogger Competiton – more info can be found here!