I didn’t want to leave Barcelona.
We’d jetted in for a two-day minibreak at the start of chilly old March; the Spanish sky was cornflower blue, the temperatures were in the mid-teens and my boyfriend and I were swelteringly, delightfully warm (though the locals were shivering away in thick bomber jackets).
It was blissful: on the first day we wandered around in tees (no cardigans! No thick woolly jumpers!) and took a bus through the city, with the intention of visiting the Barca football stadium. This was followed by drinks at our fantastic hotel (which had a free ‘private members’ lounge with unlimited prosecco and snacks – thanks, lastminute.com) and then a starry-lit stroll along the beach to find dinner (paella. It was, as paella always is, amazing).
Out hotel really was amazing; The Level At Melia Sky was a five-minute walk from the beach in one direction, and a thirty-second distance from the nearest tram stop in the other. The staff were brilliant: super-helpful and great at advising where to go to make the most of our time in the city.
On the second day, we bought tickets for the tourist bus, which offers unlimited travel around the city on various routes, matched with a commentary about the history and significance of the countless sights we passed. It was a fantastic way to see Barcelona in full; it truly is a multi-faceted city, with the dark romance of the Gothic quarter contrasting perfectly with the sleek modernity of the seafront.
The city centre clashed the old with the new seamlessly; Starbucks and Zara stores poked out from beneath turn-of-the-century architecture, and the endless creations from the visionary mind of architect Gaudi were truly breathtaking. (PS I was gutted to discover that Gaudi – who had dreamt up immortal buildings such as this and this – was killed by a tram. A tram. Fate is so cruel…)
Equally, the hustle and the bustle of the city was matched perfectly by the laidback vibes the locals emanated. People sat outside, sipping coffee, reading the newspaper; there were endless joggers and cyclists; and all of this went on beneath an endless chorus of song from the birds that populated the palm trees on almost every street.
We really didn’t want to leave; in fact, on the morning of the day we were due to fly out, I found myself slipping into a bit of a depression. It’s the first city I’ve visited outside of the UK that’s left me marvelling – at the history, at the buildings, at the way of life… It’s a game-changer, people. If you haven’t been, go.