Time to leave Portugal! The next day we had a super early flight to Barcelona and realized we didn’t know how to get to the airport from Sintra since Uber kept failing us there. You can actually take the train but we had to leave so early the train wasn’t running yet. Booking.com came to the rescue because they allow you to book a taxi in advance and they pick you up and drop you off anywhere you choose. It was perfect. We ended up using this service to book from Sintra to the airport then from Barcelona to our hotel and the hotel to the Barcelona airport at the end of our trip. It was nice knowing you just had a taxi scheduled to pick you up instead of trying to hail one. Also you pay in advance on the booking.com website so you don’t have to worry about the Taxi’s trying to give you false or higher prices for your rides. I’m literally going to do this for every trip from now on especially in cities where I’m not familiar and Uber is not available.
We arrived in Barcelona in the morning after a two hour flight. The taxi waited for us holding a sign with my name. We got to our hotel Room Mate Gerard which was really cute and in a great location. I must say I’m getting good at this travel thing. Everywhere we stayed was in the best locations. To be transparent, normally I’m a hotel girl. I don’t really like to stay in airbnb’s unless it makes sense so it was nice to be in a hotel for our last two nights in Europe. The concierge recommended lunch at La Cuina de Laietana and so we went. This was a cute little café walking distance from the hotel. (Barcelona is very walking friendly in general) We both got paella because that’s the one thing I knew to try if you go to Barcelona! Jenna got black rice paella with squid, mussels, prawns, and squid ink and I got the paella with artichokes, clams, prawns and mushrooms. To be honest, I realized I don’t love paella, it’s good but it didn’t blow me away. Definitely a must try if your in Barcelona though so you can decide for yourself!
Afterwards we headed out to do some vintage shopping. Luckily all the shops were walking distance and I found some amazing things! Vintage shopping in Barcelona is a must! See the pieces I got HERE. We were so tired and still full of pounds of rice that we didn’t even eat dinner and just went right to bed.
Our last full day in Europe! I was done vintage shopping for the trip so we decided to just explore the city. The best way to see Barcelona in a short time is the hop on hop off bus. I’m normally so against this and have never done one before because it seems so touristy but I’m so glad we did. There was no way we would be able to see a tenth of what we were able to see if we didn’t do the bus. You can usually buy a ticket from any hotel you stay at, that’s where we got ours but also you can buy some on their site.
Wearing: Locks and Trinkets top
First stop was Casa Batllo. We could walk there from our hotel so we decided to go right when they opened to beat the rush of tourist. Casa Batllo is a house built by famous Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi. He is very famous in Barcelona and has built many of the iconic structures in the city. Casa Batllo was absolutely amazing. They had a really cool interactive tour that allowed you to scan each room with a phone like device they provide you with showing you how it was decorated in the past and also providing an audio tour you can do at your own pace. We opted for the highest package which allowed us to skip the line and get a vintage photo at the end of the trip. Skipping the line was worth it and the photo was a nice keepsake.
After Casa Batllo, we got on the hop on hop off bus to start our adventure. The nice part is the bus brings you along the shore to the city beaches so we planned to have a little beach time while we toured. The first stop was to grab lunch! We decided to go to La Gavina which was a nice restaurant right on the boardwalk. Honestly it was a bit overpriced but seeing as we were by the sea, and it was super touristy area, that was understandable. We got garlic shrimp which was literally just shrimp served with garlic, nothing special. And we opted for the veggie paella. The food was good but nothing special. We were super disappointed by the dessert. I tried the Crema Catalan which is a Catalonian creme brûlée but it did not have crispy top like crème brulee is supposed to have. It was just soggy and sad.
Wearing: Sidway Swim
There is a beach by the restaurant but it’s the start of the city beaches so that one was super crowded. We decided to hop back on the bus and go a few more stops down to a less crowded beach. We stopped at Platja de la Nova Icària beach and it was perfect. There were umbrellas and chairs we rented out for 25 euros each and they come and serve you drinks. It was nice to take a little break and just chill at the beach for a couple hours. It’s a city beach so it’s honestly it’s not that beautiful but it was relaxing. If you want to go to nicer more scenic beaches in Barcelona you have to head 1-2 hours outside the city.
We got back on the bus after beach time and stopped at Sagrada Família. This is a cathedral that was never finished by Gaudi as he died, but it is absolutely stunning nevertheless. No picture did it justice it It’s definitely one of those things you have to see in person. I kept trying to snap pictures of it but seriously, they do it no justice.
Then we tried to go to Park Güell, we hopped off the bus and realized it was about a 15 minute walk from the stop. We were so tired that we decided not to go and waited for the next bus 😂. We finished the rest of the tour on the bus seeing all the sites of Barcelona. The nice part of the bus is that it has an audio tour so it explains all the sites your passing so you can see the city without having to get off at every stop if you don’t want to. We got to learned a lot about the city this way. My sister always recommends doing a whole loop on the bus and then going back and getting off at the sites you want to visit.
When we got back to our stop to walk back to our hotel, we saw really dark clouds looming in the distance. It was so odd that we stopped to take video. I had never ever seen clouds look like this before. There are rain clouds and there was this. They seemed to be creeping in fast and before we realized what was happening, the birds starting flying so erratically and wild. It honestly looked like the end of the world or an alien invasion. In that moment, everyone around us started walking a bit faster, and then it happened. A torrential downpour coupled with loud roaring thunder and lighting, in a matter of minutes. We started running to get to our hotel which was about a 15 minute walk. There weren’t many places to find refuge where we were so decided to just run as fast as we could to the hotel. But our sandals keep slipping so we had to take them off and run barefoot. I ended up slipping and falling and still have bruise on my foot to this day. According to Jenna, I slipped fell on my side and slid and banged into the wall. Talk about dramatic! Honestly all we could do was laugh because we were so in shock of what was happening. And I have a phobia of lightening so to be outside during a storm where the lighting was so close was terrifying to me. We finally made it to the hotel completely soaking wet with the front desk smiling politely at our drenched bodies. When we went upstairs and got dry within 20 minutes the downpour had stopped. It was still drizzling a little but no longer torrential. I guess we could have waited it out but we had no idea how long the storm would last. Basically it was just a crazy storm cloud that quickly moved over the city. Just to be prepared I would always bring an umbrella if you travel in summer to Barcelona, it didn’t even say in the weather app that it was going to rain at all so the weather is extremely unpredictable.
Traumatized, we didn’t want to go far fro lunch so we found a spot 5 minutes walking from our hotel with good reviews. We walked into Firebug and ordered drunken shrimp, a quinoa salad with goat cheese, raisins, peach, and a burger. The food was so so so so good. I highly recommend this place, it honesty made up for being drenched a few hours prior. At least we ended the day on a high note lol.
The day we left Barcelona and arrived back to Gatwick airport in London. Eventually we would be making our way to Heathrow to come home to the States. Ordinarily I would have booked us leaving from Barcelona and not back to London but we didn’t plan our entire trip when we booked the tickets so leaving from London made more sense. It’s such a central part of Europe that you can just plan your trip around it. My suitcase arrived to Gatwick missing a wheel AGAIN I don’t know if it’s the suitcases or these European airlines but I had to buy ANOTHER suitcase. We were leaving out of Heathrow so we caught an Uber and decided to hang out at the Sofitel Hotel until our flight back to the USA.
Here’s a tip, if you have a long layover at Heathrow or booked a flight like we did with time to kill, I highly recommend going to the Sofitel Hotel. It’s literally connected to the Heathrow airport. We had a delicious lunch The Tea Room- I had a chipotle chicken wrap and Jenna had a chicken club sandwich and we shared a pot of Moroccan mint tea and a butternut squash salad and then we chilled in the comfy chairs until it was time to go. They even held our luggage for us. When we left, we just got our luggage back, took the elevator up one floor, and walk over a tunnel to the airport. It even worked out that we were in the right terminal for our flight. Perfect!
This trip was full of so many adventures, so much good food, laughs, unexpected disasters and unexpected discoveries. But overall it ended up being a great trip.
Barcelona Wrap Up
WHERE WE STAYED:
WHERE WE ATE:
WHERE WE WENT:
Hop on Hop off bus (great way to see the entire city)
La Principal retro & co
Le Swing Vintage – Clothing & Accessories
Lullaby Vintage Shop