It’s day 2, I arrived late last night in the early hours. It’s around 8am and I’m heading to the restaurant in my hotel for breakfast. I’m staying at the Hotel Neptuno, a lovely little family run hotel located in the heart of Calella, only steps away from the centre and a five minute walk to the beach. Breakfast is buffet style and has a variety of choices to choose from and everything looks so fresh!
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Over breakfast, I decide to go to Barcelona for the day as it’s only an hour train ride away. I haven’t seen anything of Calella yet but, I’m just too excited about Barcelona!
Breakfast is done, I’m now making my way to the train station which is around a 10 minute walk.
Arrived at the train station and purchase my ticket at the counter. It’s €10 for a return ticket which is considerably cheaper than paying €30 for a hop on and off bus.
I arrive in Barcelona quicker than expected! Eventually, after walking around for a little while thinking it was nothing like I expected and significantly quieter than imagined. I realised I was in the wrong place after asking a gentleman where La Rambla was, and him telling me it was in Barcelona. I can’t be the first person to mix up Badalona with Barcelona right?
I return to the train station explaining to the lady at the desk. She’s very pleasant, lets me back through telling me the stop to Barcelona is Placa de Catalunya.
The train comes, it’s a lot quieter than the other train with many empty seats. It’s around 2 minutes into the journey when a man comes and places a plastic bag near me accompanied by a note. Can’t clearly see everything in the bag but it consisted of a packet of tissues, mints and some other small items. In fact, he has placed these bags and notes on every seat. Thinking he has put so much effort into making these packages and clearly wants to make some money, I think about purchasing one. Well, that was until another man, then a lady also come along to place their items next to me. Felt kinda bad at this point as it wasn’t possible to buy from all of them so, decided not buy anything.
As we approached the centre, the train sellers quietly collected their stuff without bothering anybody. It was a relief to get off the train, the whole situation had made it a very uncomfortable train ride. In addition to this, the many signs of “Go home tourists” wrote all over the walls in graffiti had made it an uncomfortable journey. Although, I attributed this to a few angry youngsters, telling myself they were isolated incidents and to ignore them.
On arrival walking through the train station, it was surprising to see street vendors selling fake designer goods out in the open. Don’t get me wrong, people sell fake goods in most places but, never imagined seeing so many and how open it was all being done.
I head towards the exit, up the stairs and wow!! It’s the Barcelona I imagined! Nothing at all like Badalona! It looked so exciting, I couldn’t wait to go and explore.
As it was all a last minute plan with no itinerary, I walk ahead and come to La Rambla, the most iconic street in Barcelona.
Walking through La Rambla was a unique experience crowded with tourists, souvenir kiosks, cafe’s, restaurants, fruit and flower shops and entertainers etc. Then there’s the drug dealers who blatantly offered me drugs! On three separate occasions! (No kidding) In fact, there’s a good few extremely dodgy characters hanging around. As well as this, it’s surrounded by beautiful building as well as the Columbus Monument, which was always in view from the beginning of the street.
It wasn’t long until I was distracted by La Boqueria an iconic market, one of the most visited attractions. Here you can buy and taste local products and experience the Barcelona market life.
I take full advantage of this and end up being in here for one hour! Eating, drinking and tasting everything in sight! It couldn’t be helped everything just looked incredibly delicious!
After my binge eating session, I continue walking up La Rambla stopping to look in stores for souvenirs. Although, it all gets very agitating being followed around the shops and being pushed to buy stuff! It was that annoying I abandoned trying to shop! In fact, I’m sick of Las Rambla now altogether! And opt for walking down the side streets, which are much more admirable and calmer.
I come out near the Columbus Monument then arrive at the port.
There’s a shopping centre here called Maremagnum, it’s very distinctive with its mirrored walls and arched roof. People are sat around it relaxing and watching the boats come in. Inside, it’s a really nice place, with a variety of shops, places to eat and it’s not overcrowded.
From here I wonder around the beautiful city in total disbelief I’m even here. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit since watching the Olympics 1992 as a young child when Barcelona hosted the games. There was just something that looked so appealing to me when they shown clips of the city. And here I was, and it didn’t matter I was here alone, its a memory to last a lifetime.
Parc de la Cittadella is a blissful beautiful park in the city. I thoroughly enjoyed my time walking around here taking in all the surrounding nature.
There were many other attractions here such as the zoo, the Catalan parliament, The Museu de Art modern, The Zoological Museum, The Museu Geologia and the lake where you can take a boat ride (it’s definitely worth a visit here).
Learning about Tapas
It’s now around 5. 30pm, I’m making my way back to the train station when I spot a little bar to take a break. I can’t remember the name but, pretty sure it was called Las Ramblas wine & Tapas. It’s a lovely little tapas bar, with the friendliest waiter who tells me how to do tapas the Spanish way. Apparently you don’t order all your tapas all at once in the same place, it’s a social thing. You do tapas the very same way you go for a few drinks in a few different bars.
Vermut The Traditional Beverage
He also tells me to not leave Barcelona before trying Vermut a traditional beverage in Barcelona. On leaving, he points me in the direction of a tavern to try one, sorry, I don’t remember the name of the place.
The vermut was well worth stopping by for. Vermut is an inexpensive tasty wine with spices and botanicals like cinnamon and chamomile. It only cost around €1.55 so, I took two, it was too nice and cheap not to have another one (you definitely need to try one if you come to Barcelona).
Its now time for me to leave but I return in a few days.
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Thanks for reading 😁