On April 4th my Canadian lady friends, Tay and Jenna, and I began our 18 day European spring break extravaganza. After about a month of planning we were finally on our way to: Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Sevilla, Morocco, Lagos, Lisbon and Madrid. In order for me to remember it all I am planning on breaking it down into Spain, Morocco, and Portugal.
So right now I am sitting on the beach in Palma, we have a flight to Sevilla tonight. But I’ll start at the beginning. On Friday, we flew into Barcelona decently early in the morning. We arrived to blue skies and palm trees! Our hostel was located next to Sagrada Familia, which was a bit above the center of the city. Once we got up there and checked into our hostel we headed downtown to find some tapas for lunch. We found our way into the Born district, a cute shopping area, and to a “1 euro” tapas restaurant. Since we were there for a late lunch, there was hardly anyone there which was nice. We had 2 rounds of food and drink which consisted of bruschetta, bacon wrapped dates, chili and nachos, stuffed peppers, among other and best of all, TINTO. The theme of this trip has turned out to be the magical combination of boxed red wine and lemon soda. Deeeeelicious. After we ate to our hearts desire we walked into the park near the Arc de Triompf, with our own supplies to keep the tinto train going (plus some strawberries!). We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon sitting out in the sun and people watching in the park. It was the perfect start to spring break. Once it cooled down we headed back to our hostel and had our first siesta. These spaniards know what they’re doing with the whole making a nap a necessity of the day thing. When we woke up we had some snacks for dinner and then ventured out for the night. Since we were all still pretty tired, and it’s not acceptable to go out before at least 1am in Spain, we kind of just wandered down La Rambla, which is the Main Street in the city. We veered off and found a few bars and clubs but they were all decently expensive. After a few hours we called it a night, but definitely a good one!
On Saturday, our mission was to get to the beach! We slept in and walked down to La Rambla a little after noon. Here is where I discovered my favorite thing about Barcelona: la bouqueria. It is a HUGE market that has all local vendors selling fruit, smoothies and juices, fish, meat, cheese, vegetables… Pretty much any delicious home grown food you can think of. And it was all really cheap, so it’s essentially heaven on earth to put it lightly. I had strawberries and mango, a berry smoothie, and pizza! Such a happy camper. Afterwards, we made our way down to the beach. It was a decent walk but we went past the harbor full of boats and got to walk along a promenade of Palm trees. We eventually made it and set up camp in the sand. The simple act of laying on some warm sand facing the ocean has the ability to make me so happy! We spent a few hours in the sun and then meandered our way home for a siesta. I can definitely say that this trip has proved to be the most relaxing travel I’ve done since being abroad, which is really nice! We decided to go to a nice restaurant for dinner to have good paella. It was down near the beach again so we metro’ed down this time. We found our tiny little restaurant in the middle of some side streets away from all of the city action, it was perfect. We had a delicious tuna and veggie appetizer, great paella, and a bottle of wine. Such classy ladies we are. We decided to keep the night going since we finished dinner at around midnight. We found a bar on our handy map that was supposed to be popular with travelers, buuuut we walked into a pretty anticlimactic place. Nonetheless, we enjoyed some drinks and made friends with the bartenders and the few other people who were there. Afterwards, we headed to a club called Moog that Tay had been to the last time she was in Barca. The place was huge! Luckily we had a free entrance ticket from the previous bar, so we got out of the 10 euro cover charge. There were two floors and the place was a full rave party. We made our way to the smaller upstairs room where they were playing some ’90s classics and spent a while there. The three of us always have a really funny time when we go out dancing. We have Jenna, the actual dancer, who is graceful and cute no matter how she dances. And then there’s me and Tay who just jump around waving our arms back and forth. We’re surely a sight to see, I should start videoing our nights out. When we finally tired ourselves out, we went for a cab home. After a squabble with a group of Europeans over a cab who proceeded to hiss at us, say “welcome to Europe”, and steal our cab, we finally were on our way home. Personally I couldn’t stop laughing at the fact that a grown man HISSED at a group of 20 something year old girls. Like a cat. Hilarious. It was a fun night.
On Sunday we slept in again and made our way to la bouqueria for round two but were greeted by closed gates. I almost cried. But the group rallied and we got some great burgers and ate in the sun instead. I guess it wasn’t so bad :). In the afternoon we hiked to another part of the city where we climbed a large hill into a park. We were lucky to have another blue sky, sunny day as we climbed the paths to the top of the mountain/hill landform on the edge of city. We had a great panorama view of Barcelona and the water and port full of ships. We found ourselves a palm tree to lay under and nap amongst the birds and a fountain. It was so refreshing and calming. After a few hours we trekked back down to civilization and to our hostel across town. An hour and a half walk later, my feet wanted to kill me, but it was siesta time! We snacked again on some food from the super “mercat” and then napped. Ahhhhh. We woke up and all looked at each other… And went back to sleep for the night. Vacation right?!
Monday was our last full day in Barca, so we went to Park Guell in the morning. This park is high up in another part of the city that gives a stunning panorama view. It is most known for the swirly bench that has a mosaic pattern of tiles decorating it and other structures similarly decorated in the area. In comparison to the park from Sunday, this one was more desert-y with rock formations and more dirt pathways versus grassy areas and such. We took in the view and then headed back to town to get our beach things and go to none other than la bouqueria for lunch. Round two was fantastic. We all shared this organic veggie burrito thing full of rice and beans and all sorts of sweet and spicy deliciousness. We should have set a timer because we had this thing devoured in about 60 seconds flat, no talking whatsoever. We laughed at that for a good 5 minutes after the fact. We went back in for some fruit and smoothies, Jenna and I had some sort of quiche dish, and Tay had shrimp on a stick. And then one more smoothie each. It was a flawless lunch. Afterwards, we walked into the Born district and went in and out of a few shops before heading down to the beach again. Unfortunately, it was quite windy and chilly near the water, so our stop there was short lived. But we found some sun back in the park near the Arc so we spent the rest of the afternoon there. We made our way back to the hostel and had a nice relaxing evening. We went food shopping and made a great dinner, and just enjoyed the company for the night since we had an early flight the next morning.
We were at the airport and on our flight to Mallorca, a small island below Barcelona, by 8 the next morning. It was about a half hour flight to our next stop in paradise! We found our way to our Airbnb by about 10:30. It was a cute beachy bohemian place perfect for a short stay. It was a two minute walk from the small city action, and about a twenty minute walk to beach. Not a bad gig! We decided to save some money here, so we went food shopping and got enough supplies to cook for ourselves during our stay. After lunch we headed out to the beach for the afternoon. Once again we had gorgeous weather, and no wind! It was a wonderful afternoon at the beach, it’s really starting to feel summery here. We lazily made our way home at the end of the afternoon and cooked ourselves dinner and settled in for the night. It had been a long day but we all had a book to read and a comfortable place to relax.
On Wednesday we woke up and had breakfast before going out into the city. We explored the back streets and gorgeous cathedral area in Palma’s small city center. The city is adorable. There are countless restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating, high end shopping, lower end shopping, beautiful buildings, clean streets, palm trees, boats, a lake, and of course the ocean. It is also surrounded by mountains in the distance on both sides. Mallorca seems like a beautiful island that I am sure is worth exploring if you have the time, I know Palma isn’t the very best beach here and the others are worth the adventure. We noticed a lot of older tourists here which was funny for us, since we have mostly been traveling in cities filled with young people. We enjoyed some lunch and then walked down to the beach later in the afternoon. It was a bit windier and chilly but we got a few hours in. I also have to note that this place is a gold mine for sea glass! I found more in a 5 minute walk than I ever have on the beaches in NJ. It’s so pretty here. We made ourselves another good dinner (and tinto) and had another relaxing evening.
Today is Thursday, our last day in Palma. We got up this morning, finished out our food supply (seems like all we do is eat, huh?) and headed to the beach for one last afternoon. It has been a perfect day laying in the sand, reading, napping, relaxing, and enjoying the sights and sounds. We are headed to get some dinner in the city before going to the airport to catch our late flight to Sevilla. Tomorrow we begin our next part of the adventure: Morocco! I think that this will definitely be one of the most unique places I’ll visit during my time here.
I’ve also wanted to note how glad I am to have found such great friends and travel partners as Tay and Jenna. It’s a really unique friendship because it forms on the need for similar companionship in a foreign country but it ends up solidifying so much quicker than a typical relationship. It’s been great that we all have similar travel goals and styles and that we each have our strengths and weaknesses which work well together. We’ve definitely seen each other at our worst— running on no sleep, frustrated, no makeup or care about appearances, and I like to think that our time traveling abroad has helped to bring us to our best. It’s fulfilling to have meaningful conversation and get to know a person, and at the same time be able to crack jokes repeatedly and dish out sarcasm (which seems to be a specialty of ours). I’ll stop there with being all sentimental but did just want to say I love you gals!
This is the end of my Spanish adventures, I’ll continue on in another post about Morocco!