I don’t think I could ever get tired of Paris. It doesn’t matter how many times I go, or how many times I visit the same landmark, or how many times I go to Disney – there’s always this sense of familiarity which makes me feel comfortable and I know that I can visit again and again.

Last November, my friend and I went to Paris for a few days where we also spent a whole day in Disney. You can’t really go wrong with a trip to Disney and it really is the happiest place on Earth. Don your Minnie ears and join me on a Parisian adventure!

Theme tune for this trip 💕

I think this will be my third post in relation to Paris. My last post was a detailed account of how to spend less than 48 hours in Paris – it’s crazy how many things you can cram in in such a short space of time.

If Disney is the main focus of your trip then I would suggest staying in one of the hotels near the Disney area. If you have £££ then definitely check out the hotel in the park itself. As we are only young 20 somethings still trying to establish ourselves in the world and don’t really have moolah like that, we stayed at Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel

British Airways do really good package deals and ours only cost around £200 – that’s flights and hotel. We also had breakfast included, which is definitely a bonus. When I’m booking packages, I always like to look for the hotels that have breakfast included just because it can save you so much more money. You can fill up your belly in the morning, then you just have to grab a light lunch and save your money for dinner.

Again, I booked our Disney tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct. You only save a couple of £s booking through them, but it is still cheaper than booking directly with Disney. Also, they have e-tickets, so no waiting around for the post hoping your tickets come on time! The website also offers deals on tickets for attractions in other major cities, as well. 

Our hotel had a free shuttle bus to/from the hotel to Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy station, which made things a lot easier. Because of where the hotel is situated it isn’t that easy getting there – you can get to the station perfectly fine, but once there without the free shuttle bus you’d have to get a taxi, which is just extra £.

Disney, as always, was amazing. We got there early enough to have to queue and wait for them to open the gates. There’s always a feeling of happiness I get whenever I see the castle at the end of Main Street.

The day we chose to go happened to be the best day because we managed to go on some of the rides more than once because the queues were so short!

Favourite rides 🎢

  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast – I’m absolutely crap at this and my hand/eye coordination skills are questionable, to say the least, and yet I still LOVE this ride
  • Hyperspace Mountain – sorry, this will always still be Space Mountain to me. 
  • Star Tours – love how interactive this ride is!
  • Hollywood Tower – this makes your heart drop out your butt, so really not for the faint-hearted. My friend said she thinks a little boy fainted on the ride when we were on it 😭

The highlight of the day was definitely the Stars on Parade and the Disney Illuminations. We managed to get a good view of the parade as we were sitting down at the front, and gosh! You could feel my happiness all the way from Paris to Timbuktu.

I loved seeing all my favourite Disney characters dancing and singing (I attempted to sing along until I realised that it was the French version of the song 😅)! The fireworks were out of this world and standing there taking it all in with delicious hot cocoa was definitely the best way to end the day at Disney.

Just before we flew back home, we spent our last few hours in Disney Village and exploring the shops. I may have spent a stupid amount of time in the Lego store…

I reckon the next time I go back to Disney, I will definitely be wearing a Princess dress because if little kids can do it, why can’t I? And don’t tell me it’s because I’m not a little kid.

We only spent a couple of days in Paris, but still snuck in a lot of sightseeing. We started off by taking the train into central Paris and getting off where the Louvre is located. Unfortunately, the day that we visited the Louvre there was tarpaulin over it so we didn’t get its full glass glory. 

From the Louvre, we wandered through the Tuileries Garden – I have no idea if it was the same goat that I saw when I visited back in 2016, but nevertheless, there was a goat right next to the statues munching on grass. 😂 We need to appreciate the number of statues there are of people who look like they’re having a crisis. Falling down and all sorts.

The Tuileries Garden led us to the magnificent Luxor Obelisk. This is a 75ft high Ancient Egyptian obelisk and I craned my neck so much to try and take it all in. It is an extraordinary landmark and it definitely stands out. Next to the obelisk is the Fontaines de la Concorde, which are stunning as well. Good architecture is like eye candy to me.

You can’t visit Paris without visiting the Arc de Triomphe, no matter how cheesy and touristy it may be. We only saw it in passing, but I managed to capture a photo whilst standing in the middle of a crossing with lots of traffic. 📸 The things we do for the ‘gram, eh?

Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower. I think I’ve been up the tower a grand total of 4 times now and it never ceases to amaze me. The views are breathtaking no matter what level you end up on. Although the very tip-top of the tower can get crowded because it is quite small, the views are definitely worth it. 

StorytimeWe eavesdropped on a couple arguing. I say arguing, more like the man was popping off at the woman whilst the woman was standing there sulking. I caught him saying things like, “It’s not about getting the most expensive ticket”, “You have been miserable this whole trip” and “You say sorry, but you don’t mean it.” *sips tea*

Our last stop was NotreDame Cathedral, which brought back memories for both of us because the last time we had both visited the cathedral was back on our year 8 trip. That was god knows how many years ago. We went to check if the little park was still there and it was! It was relatively unchanged, just missing a few things but wow. We couldn’t believe it.

We also went inside the cathedral as it was free entry. I’ve mentioned this in a few posts, but I really like cathedrals and the insides are always so stunning. Especially the stained glass windows. 😍

Overall, it was a nice little getaway. It always is great to just go away for a few days, take a breather and then return back to normal life.

 

Notes

  • If you get your Disney tickets through ATD, then you get a percentage off food/drink/merchandise at Planet Hollywood and Earl’s Sandwich
  • Choose to go to Disney when the kids are still on break. During the week is definitely better too. We unintentionally chose a day just before they put up their Christmas decor, so it was extremely quiet. As we leaving to go back home, we saw floods of people coming through because of the Christmas and it being a weekend.
  • I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: a travel card is so much more efficient. I use Revolut now! You can use their app to check the balance, easily transfer money from your own account and send money to other people, as well as being able to freeze your card in case you lose it and other additional security features. You also get a notification when you’ve made a transaction straight away. I still carry cash with me, but I love having this card as well. Plus it’s contactless!

 

 

 

 

 

My hovercraft is full of eels.

Let’s get back into the swing of things with a new travel post. It has occurred to me several times that I haven’t been out of the country since November, which is very unusual for me. I don’t think I’ll be beating my record of 7 countries in a year, but that’s alright. I’ll be off to Croatia in August, so at least I’m getting out a bit. Not to mention, Mutay and I did visit Edinburgh in February!

For my mum’s 60th birthday I treated her to a trip to Venice because you only turn 60 once, right? To be honest, it was also an excuse for me to come along, and I managed to lock in a good price with my sister accompanying us as well.

We arrived in Venice pretty late on Monday night, so we didn’t do anything when we got to the hotel except unpack and fall asleep straight away. The real fun started on Tuesday.

I’m putting this photo here because I’m gassed and I love my outfit 😍

CA’ D’ORO, CHIESAS AND SO MANY BRIDGES 🌉

This day consisted of a lot of walking, which I was definitely not ready for. Our first stop was Ca’ d’Oro, “Golden House”, a palace overlooking the Grand Canal. Built between 1428 and 1430, it is one of the oldest palaces in the city. We didn’t stay long here but we did admire the mosaics that adorned the palace floor and the gallery on the upper floors. There were many busts, statues and paintings. We also got to witness a stunning view of the Grand Canal from the top floor! 

View from the top floor of Ca’ d’Oro

After Ca’ d’Oro we headed over Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli located in the city’s historic Jewish Ghetto. This church holds a portrait of the Madonna which many believe to be miraculous. You have to pay €3 to enter, but that’s mainly to help with the upkeep of the church. Fun fact, the painting is said to have brought someone back to life! The inside was beautiful with white, grey and pink marble decorating the walls. As with all churches, I found it really peaceful.

Inside of Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Our next stop was Ponte di Rialto, one of the oldest bridges to cross the Grand Canal. It was insanely busy, as expected, but I did manage to snap a few photos! It’s a huge bridge, and I would recommend trying to get here as early as possible because of how busy it gets. On either side of the bridge are rows of shops, which I think is pretty cool. Considering it started off as a wooden bridge, it has definitely come a long way.

Views from Ponte di Rialto

After the bridge, we popped into Chiesa di San Salvador – this church was free to get in. There are many, many churches around the city some of which you have to pay, but you if don’t wish to you can always admire the architecture from the outside. Venice boasts some beautiful architecture, and will definitely appeal to the architect junkies out there. Built in the Baroque and Renaissance style, legend has it that Bishop S. Magnus saw a vision of Jesus asking him to build a church on this site. The history behind many of the churches is so fascinating!

Finally, after much walking over many bridges, we reached Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). This place was probably the most exciting area for us to visit and it is Venice’s most famed tourist attraction. A colleague I used to work with actually proposed to his girlfriend here! Hella cute. St. Mark’s Square holds the Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica), and if you don’t have Skip-The-Line tickets it is literally hours to get in. When we first arrived, the queue was snaking all the way around to the Doge’s Palace! Speaking of the Doge’s Palace, we decided not to go here only because they don’t do single entry tickets and you’d have to either buy a ticket for all the museums in St. Mark’s Square or all the museums in general.

St. Mark’s Square is actually the only ‘piazza’ in Venice, all the other squares are called ‘campi’. The square is surrounded by buildings on three sides and open on one side where you’ll find the gondola service. There are loads of stalls and restaurants where you can even catch some live bands! It was very busy in the square with everyone crowding around the Basilica trying to get that Instagram snap on point (me included) and there were so many bloody pigeons! Bleurgh!

We decided to leave the Basilica for the next day as the queue was way too long, and there was no way we would stand there for hours especially in that heat. The square also holds Campanile di San Marco (St. Mark’s Bell Tower), a huge tower which is right near the Basilica. Originally a lighthouse and watch tower, it has undergone several reconstructions and currently houses 5 bells: the Mezza Terza Bell announced the Senate; the Nona Bell announced midday; the biggest bell, the Marangona Bell, announced the beginning and end of the work day; the Trottiera announced council meetings and the smallest bell, the Renghiera Bell announced executions. It was nice to admire it from the outside, but we ended up not going up it.

After the square, we visited another one of Venice’s famous bridges, Ponte dei Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs), the meaning behind the name has several stories. One is the sighs that the prisoners would make as they crossed the bridge from the Palace to the Old Prison and another is that of the sighs of lovers as they passed under the bridge on a gondola (cheese). The bridge itself is quite small and was hella crowded when we got there, and again, I would recommend coming here early if you can!

Views from Ponte dei Sospiri

Having exhausted ourselves with so much walking we went on a search for somewhere to eat and we ended up in Bar Oasi, purely because my sister and I thought the waiter was cute. I had one of many pasta dishes that I would have on this trip, starting with the spaghetti alla bolognese. Simple, yet so tasty – I had to post a picture of it along with a pasta pun 😜 We were thoroughly exhausted at this point, so we headed back to the hotel to relax. We ordered room service and I caught up on the latest episode of GoT.

What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta. 🍝

BASILICA DI SAN MARCO, ‘FLOWER’ WAITERS AND A GONDOLA RIDE 🚣🏾

We would start our mornings early, mainly because the breakfast buffet was between 6:30 – 9:30 AM. It’s definitely good to start off early when in Venice though because it can get insanely busy. Also, because we stayed in Mestre, rather than in the city centre it would have been harder for us to get back if we stayed out later.

So, Wednesday morning we started our day at Arsenale di Venezia (The Venetian Arsenal) which is a complex of former shipyards and armouries where you can see Porta Magna, the Arsenal’s land gate. It’s not that busy around the Arsenal, so I don’t think it’s on many tourists lists, but I would definitely recommend a visit because it’s nice and peaceful and there’s a really cute bridge. 

After the Arsenal, we headed over to Scuola Di S. Giorgio Degli Schiavoni which is one of the city’s most historic confraternity houses (a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety). We found many scenes depicting St. George slaying the dragon, as well as panels featuring St. Jerome and St. Tryphone. The scuole is small, and you do have to pay to get in. If you’re lucky, the guy will mistake you for a student like he did with me and you’ll pay €3 instead €5 😜

The next stop was Riva Degli Schiavoni, which is a waterfront promenade located between Piazza San Marco and Arsenale di Venezia. It’s really nice to stroll along here and you’ll find many market stalls where you can pick up souvenirs. 

We were meant to pop into Punta della Dogana, an art museum, however, after finding out it cost €13 to get in and having already spent so much getting into places we decided to skip this. We did manage to view ‘Mermaid’ by Damien Hirst, which is at the back of the building overlooking the water and is one of the 180 works in his ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable”. Stunning sculpture!

‘Mermaid’ by Damien Hirst

Before the Punta della Dogana, we did find a random exhibit for the illy Art Collection at the Magazzini del Sale which is in its 25th year. You can find out more about the exhibit here. It was a really interesting find and I enjoyed viewing the different cups on display – especially loved the alien one.

David Byrne – Alien cup (2001)

We found a random restaurant called Ai Fabbri Trattoria where I had the gnocchi alla bolognese, which again was simple but delicious. We were given sweets at the end of the meal and when we asked the waiter was kind of sweets they were he responded with, “They’re flower… like me” 😭 We think he meant sweet, bless him, but it did make us laugh. The other waiter looked like my ex, though, which stressed me out and I had to text Mutay about it who said it was probably him in disguise trying to make sure I got holiday anxiety 😂

You hold the gnocchi to my ❤️

After eating we headed to the Basilica! It’s free to get in, but in order to avoid waiting in the queue, we opted to get the €2 Skip-The-Line tickets. We actually got turned away the first time because you can’t bring backpacks inside and also because you need to cover your shoulders and legs when you go in. We all had to buy this dusty orange wrap for €1 before we were allowed in. The Basilica was absolutely stunning, though, albeit very dark inside! You also have to pay extra if you want to see St. Mark’s treasure, the museum or if you to climb to the top of the terrace. When I tell you Venice is expensive…

The most exciting part of the day was the gondola ride we took – we opted for the long ride and the gondolier was a really nice man who explained to us the sights along our journey. We passed under the Bridge of Sighs and the gondolier told us the next time we are there with a boyfriend, you have to kiss when you pass under the bridge 😂 We also passed Casanova’s house, which gave me David Tennant feels because he was brilliant in his role as Casanova, as well as Marco Polo’s house! The gentle rocking of the gondola nearly put me to sleep, haha. We didn’t get serenaded but there was plenty of music surrounding us and a few gondoliers we passed were singing, which was nice. It was just as nice quiet with just the gentle sounds of the river surrounding us.

After the gondola ride, we stopped by for some gelato which AH-MAY-ZING. I got a regular cone with three flavours: oreo, dulce latte and chocolate chips covered in caramel sauce 😍 It was a messy affair, but it was so delicious! I would recommend Gelato Fantasy as their scoops are massive, so you definitely get more for your money.  After gelato, we decided to head back to the hotel where we had dinner. I’m not even gonna write about the dinner we had because it was so disappointing 😢

GLASS BLOWING, COLOURFUL BUILDINGS AND MORE GELATO 🍨

We had had enough of churches and galleries at this point and all the ones on my guide for day 3 were indicating you had to pay to get in, which frankly we’d also had enough of. Instead, I researched free things to do in Venice and was surprised that Burano and Murano weren’t on my list anyway! Nevertheless, we took the water bus from Piazzale Roma to Murano.

Murano has many stops, but we got off Murano Faro where you can go to a glass blowing demonstration. Murano is famed for its glass making, so you will find many shops displaying glass wares. Murano is composed of seven islands which are all linked together by bridges – it’s super easy to get around, so it really doesn’t matter where you get off the water bus.

Murano

When you come out the station, you can turn left to visit the shops, etc. or turn right for the glass blowing demonstrations. We watched a demonstration at Vetreria Artistica Colleoni, where it is €10 per person, however, the €10 can then be used as credit in their gift shop, so a win/win really. The demonstration was amazing – we got to see the guy make a glass vase complete with decoration as well as make a horse in under a minute. To show how hot the glass gets, the speaker put a piece of paper near the horse and it burst into flames! It was very hot in there, though, I was literally sweating my balls off. We were lucky to catch the demonstration as well because the following day they would be closed for a month because it’s too hot to be doing glass making in the summer!

We explored Murano a bit more, before heading back to the station and catching the water bus to Burano. Burano is made up of four islands and is famed for its embroidery and colourful homes. I absolutely loved Burano! The colourful buildings honestly made me so happy and even though there were quite a few tourists it was still nice and quiet. If you want to get away from the noisiness of main Venice, then I would suggest taking a trip to Murano and Burano.

The colourful homes of Burano

My mum and I stopped by Museo Del Merletto, which is a lace museum and was once the lace school of Burano. The embroidery we saw were so delicate and my mum was certainly enamoured, being a seamstress and all. 

After the museum, we decided to grab lunch at Restaurant Galuppi where I opted for the tortelloni ai Funghi porcini – HMM. The tortelloni was stuffed with cheese and spinach, which made it extra delicious! We made a few stops at the lace stores and stalls before heading back to St. Mark’s Square to pick up even more souvenirs. I finally got a shot glass to add to my collection.

I am tortelloni in love with you

We then decided to get gelato because when in Venice and you can never have enough gelato, honestly. We got it from a different place and the scoops weren’t as big 😢 Still, it was very yummy and I opted for strawberry, cream cherry and vanilla flavours. It tasted liked bubble gum! After gelato, we headed back to the hotel before going to Roadhouse Grill for dinner where I had to fattest T-bone steak 😍 We then ended up going to bed early because we had a flight at 7:45 AM the next morning!

CONCLUSION

Venice is a stunning city. You’ll only really need to spend a few days here because it is very much a walking city, so everything is easily accessible. It is very expensive, which is not surprising because it is such a tourist attraction but when in Venice, amirite? Venice is the perfect getaway, whether you’re with your partner or with family, and it’s even better in the summer months because the weather is beautiful. Art, culture and architecture – there’s something for everyone in this city!

TIPS

  • I used visitacity.com to get an idea of what we were going to do whilst in Venice. You’ll find 1 to 3-day guides on the site, and you can even get the app and download the guide for offline use! It was definitely very useful. Thanks to Sharmayne for suggesting this site! I’ll be using it when I head off to Croatia ☺️
  • On our first day, we only took the bus which is €1.50 each way, which also ended up with us doing A LOT of walking (I guess that’s what I get for complaining about cardio all the time). I’d suggest going for the Vaporetto/Bus pass which will cut down the walking time. You can get: 24 hours: €20 / 48 hours: €30 / 72 hours: €40 / 7 days: €60
  • As I mentioned the Basilica is free, but if you can’t stand queues then head to this site and get the €2 skip-the-line tickets. Make sure your shoulders and legs are covered when you visit, and no backpacks. If you happen to have one then they do have a free locker service around the corner of the Basilica.
  • I opted for a hotel that included a full breakfast so that we could fill ourselves before lunch. I would suggest getting your big meal at lunchtime because it is pretty pricey eating out. For the three of us, prices ranged from €50 – 80.
  • Take a day for Murano and Burano as it is a fairly long journey on the water bus from the mainland of Venice. 
  • We actually didn’t stay in the centre of Venice and instead stayed in Mestre, mainly because it was much cheaper, and it was only a 25-minute bus journey to get to Piazzale Roma which is basically the entrance of the city centre.
  • If you go to the gondola service by St. Mark’s Square there are two options: a short ride is €80 and a long ride is €120. I know, I know – it is expensive but did you really visit Venice if you didn’t go on a gondola? Also, escape premium prices and take a ride before 7 PM 😉

Ending this post with these photos my sis took of me 😜

I really tried to jump on the Blogmas band wagon, but I fell off way back when and it’s probably not going to happen. Now I’m just behind in my blog posts.. lol, such a failure.

This won’t be like my usual travel posts where I detail what I did on each day because honestly most of the days I spent sleeping and eating. It was much needed.

As y’all know, unless you don’t follow me on Instagram, I was recently in the Philippines for just under two weeks. It was mainly for family and for my Lola’s memorial as it has been a year since she passed away, but I did manage to squeeze some fun in. I honestly miss it so much, and I wish I was back there!

I got to spend some time in Tarlac, Manila and Boracay. If I had more time, I would have got to the other islands like Cebu or Palawan but there’s always next time! I’ll be doing a separate post for Boracay, which will be like my usual travel posts.

Every time we go to the Philippines we stay in Tarlac, which is a province in Central Luzon. My Lola’s house is right opposite the rice fields, so if you wake up super early you get to see the sun rise over them. It’s really pretty.

I spent the majority of the time eating myself into a food coma, so much so that I started to resemble Buddha’s twin sister. You could probably see my food baby from space. Honestly, I ate so much rice. I mean more so than usual. I’m paying for it now because when I got back my other Lola said that she could see the whole of the Philippines in my thighs. Yeah, love you too.

There was one morning where my mother woke up just so we could go to Tarlac Recreational Park in San Jose. I hadn’t showered, I still had my hair wrap on and I was still in my pyjamas. That sunrise was worth it (sort of). 

I guess the sunrise was worth it…

We also spent time in Manila and I got to meet up with Tiff. We had lunch at Victorino’s where they specialise in Ilocano food. The food was amazinggggg and it was so lovely to be able to meet up with Tiff whilst I was out there. I had to lay down in the back seat on the way home, haha. I will be writing a Food Diary post about Victorino’s for sure.

Was so lovely seeing Tiff again!

(Mang Bok’s pork liempo is what dreams are made of.)

After Manila, we headed back to Tarlac where we had Lola’s memorial. It was really nice and whilst the mass was in Tagalog and I didn’t understand, I got the gist. We had so many family and friends over for food afterwards; it was overflowing. I ended up getting overheated so I had to go and lie down for a bit after eating my weight in food. It was honestly such a lovely memorial. I always find it better to be happy when remembering someone – surrounding yourself with friends and family always helps.

Chef Baboy 🐷

Keeping Up With the (insert all the different surnames for my family here)

My last few days were spent chilling. I actually got to Almah Rousa Beauty Spa and had the best full body massage + ventosa cupping therapy. One of the most relaxing experiences in my life, ughhhh.

“Ventosa cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese alternative treatment that uses local  suctions on the skin to eliminate stagnation of the blood flow and promote healing for a variety of  health conditions such as colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, body pain, swelling and gastrointestinal disorders. It is also used to balance the qi and maintain a healthy physical well being.” – Cebu Spa & Wellness Guide

I ended up with circular bruises on my back, which lasted a couple of days but they didn’t hurt 🙂

Honestly, since coming back I’ve missed the Philippines so much. Mostly because of my family but the country itself it just goddamn amazing. The food, the atmosphere, the people, the beaches – what more could you really ask for?

I’m back from Barcelona with a wicked tan and a penchant for saying “Hola!” and “Gracias!”, all the time.

Dear Barcelona,

When I visited you two years ago, you took my heart. I vowed I would return, and whilst it took me two years to make it back – I did. You didn’t disappoint.

From your astonishing views to your chilled out vibes and amazing weather, everything about you is a hundred and ten percent perfect.

I didn’t want to leave, but alas it is back to reality for me. It won’t be long til I’ll be back. Adiós.

DAY 1

We almost missed our coach to the airport, and the panic almost settled in but we remained relaxed and calm. Thankfully, bag drop wasn’t too long and we managed to grab something from Pret before we got to our gate. I’ve never flown from London Luton Airport before, but it is so out of the way. 

We didn’t really spend the whole day in Barcelona because we arrived in the evening, but as soon as we had settled in the hotel – showered, readjusted wig, ordered room service, etc. etc. – we headed out. Our hotel was located 5 minutes away from Bogatell beach, so we headed in that general direction.

There were a bunch of restaurants lined along the beach, and so we headed over to El Chiringuito where there was good music and even better cocktails. The waiter got really excited when he found out we were from London, and proceeded to explain that people from Spain LOVE London. ALSO, €5 for a 20 pack of cigarettes. WTF, SO CHEAP.

We also ended up finding Port Olímpic, where there were many shisha bars, tapas bars and clubs upon clubs. 2am in the morning and we were eating tapas (chicken wings and patatas bravas) and drinking cocktails. Freaking awesome way to start the holiday.

DAY 2

Breakfast was included in our booking with the hotel, but I’m sad to say it wasn’t all that. Nevertheless, food is food and we filled our bellies up before getting ready to head out to Park Güell.

Tip: You can purchase a Hola BCN! travel pass for either 2, 3, 4 or 5 days. You can make unlimited journeys all over Barcelona and the metropolitan area on public transport: metro, Montjuïc funicular and bus (TMB), local train (FGC), tram (TRAM) and regional train in Barcelona (Rodalies de Catalunya). 

Park Güell is probably one of the best parks I’ve visited, and honestly the exhausting hike up to the top is definitely worth it because the view is out of this world. You can go even higher, but I was wearing the wrong shoes that day. Next time. Next time.

Park Güell is the reflection of Gaudí’s artistic plenitude, which belongs to his naturalist phase (first decade of the 20th century). During this period, the architect perfected his personal style through inspiration from organic shapes. He put into practice a series of new structural solutions rooted in the analysis of geometry. – Wikipedia

We ended up walking for ages and were lost at one point, but it was all okay because Barcelona served us with some more amazing views. We found a random lift, which led us to a random little cafe called Els Colors de L’Eva where we stopped for ice creams.

Absolutely loved the graffiti I encountered in Barcelona, as well!

We ended our day at Bogatell Beach, where I promptly fell asleep as soon as I lay down on my beach towel. ?

The view from the top of Park Guell

The view from the top of Park Guell

We were lost at this point... but look at the views!

We were lost at this point… but look at the views!

No more dramas... ?

No more dramas… ?

No tinguis por, que mai no serem vells. Emigrarem d'arreu com els ocells cap on la parla és solament un mot. / Don't be afraid, we'll never be old. Like birds migrating over to where the speech is just a word.

No tinguis por, que mai no serem vells. Emigrarem d’arreu com els ocells cap on la parla és solament un mot. / Don’t be afraid, we’ll never be old. Like birds migrating over to where the speech is just a word.

DAY 3

Our friend, Tilly, arrived the previous night and we were meant to go out but we were absolutely knackered. The real touristing started this day.

tourist life ?

tourist life ?

Our first stop was Catedral de Barcelona, an absolutely beautifully built cathedral located in the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). We didn’t go in because 1) the line was really long and 2) it was hella hot, but we appreciated it from the outside. I was impressed by its architecture and I will definitely have to go inside when I go back.

We also found El Món Neix en Cada Besada (The World Begins With Every Kiss), a photo mosaic designed by Joan Fontcuberta using images snapped by local residents.

The mural, which measures 8m x 3.8m, was installed in 2014 as part of Barcelona’s Tricentenary celebrations commemorating the fall of Barcelona during The War of The Spanish Succession.

The mural, which measures 8m x 3.8m, was installed in 2014 as part of Barcelona’s Tricentenary celebrations commemorating the fall of Barcelona during The War of The Spanish Succession.

We then wandered around the Barri Gòtic, exploring all the alleyways and little shops with their wares on offer. The architecture is mainly in Baroque or Romanesque style, and there is so much to take in everywhere you walk. It’s amazing. 

Fun fact: we stopped off at a rent-a-bike place where I tried a motorised scooter and proceeded to embarrass myself by crashing into all the bikes lined up against the wall. Please believe I scarpered SO fast after repeatedly saying, “Lo siento! Lo siento!” [1. I’m sorry in Spanish] to the man. ?

Sangria pit stop at Tasca el Corral was much needed at this point. Had to get my bearings after all the shenanigans, and to figure out where we were to go next.

It still amazes me that they are still building the Sagrada Família. Seriously, construction has be ongoing since 1882 and they have an expected finish date of 2026. Still, it is a magnificent building and seriously awe inspiring. All of Gaudi’s designs are something else, and so much more better in person than any photo could ever show. We also visited Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, which are both located very close to each other in Passeig de Gràcia.

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona.

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona.

Casa Batlló is a renowned building located in the centre of Barcelona and is one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces.

Casa Batlló is a renowned building located in the centre of Barcelona and is one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces.

Casa Mila was the last civil work designed by architect Antoni Gaudí, and was built from 1906 to 1912.

Casa Mila was the last civil work designed by architect Antoni Gaudí, and was built from 1906 to 1912.

We headed back to our hotel, to get ready to go the beach (again!). After suntanning forever, we dined at Xiringuito Vai Moana. I tried the typical Catalan bread with tomato and extra virgin olive oil, and George’s BBQ wings – very delicious! For my main I had a pulled pork sandwich; the pork was slow cooked at a low temperature and had coleslaw as well as crisps as a side. Yum, yum, yum. I would definitely recommend their frozen margaritas, too.

Our plan was to go out on the town, but after being trapped by a random promoter on the street, we ended up paying €20 for 2 beers and 1 shot (or 1 mixer and 1 shot) and entry into different nightclubs. Never get trapped, guys. We were promised VIP travel to the nightclubs, but ended up walking for 15 minutes before we even got to the coach. The coach was hella fun, I can’t lie, because everyone was singing and SO drunk. Ha. We got into a nightclub called Shoko, which I vaguely remember being in last time I visited Barca but I was so drunk last time, and oh God. Not great. Not great, at all. Maybe if I were more drunk?

We didn’t even bother going to the other clubs and ended up going back to the hotel, instead.

DAY 4

This turned out to be a beach day. We woke up early, and after breakfast headed over to the beach. It was already quite packed by the time we got there, but we paid €8 for a deck chair (no umbrella, son, because I’m trying to be DARK outchea), and we even had drink service. Ladies of leisure, I’m telling ya. All you really need in life is a beach, a good book, good weather and gorgeous men in your line of sight. ? I particularly love how the women do not give two sh*ts, and walk around with no bikini top. I wish I had that confidence!

After spending half of the day at the beach, we headed back to the hotel to relax a bit before heading out to Telefèric de Montjuïc, a cable car ride. A round trip ticket is €12, and it is a great way to see the city from up high. The Telefèric also takes riders to the Castell de Montjuïc, an old military fortress, with roots dating back from 1640, currently serving as a Barcelona municipal facility.

Telefèric de Montjuïc

Telefèric de Montjuïc

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I think you guys already know how I feel about views...

I think you guys already know how I feel about views…

For dinner, we ended up in Plaça Reial, a square in the Barri Gòtic where there a number of restaurants and nightclubs. There was also street entertainment in the form of sexy Brazilian men doing gymnast moves – fucking great ? We ate at Ocaña, a Mexican restaurant, where I ordered tortilla chips and guacamole, patatas bravas with aioli sauce, and chicken tinga tacos. Everything was washed down with sangria, of course.

We then trekked all the way Calle Aribau for Dry Martini, a cocktail bar recommended by Time Out. Although it was pricey the interior is so chic and sophisticated. The drink I had – Drive Me Crazy (Bacardi 8, Passion Fruit, Lemon, Vanilla, Cordon Negro Freixenet) – was absolutely gorgeous, and beautifully presented. Very James Bond-esque.

We then headed to Port Olímpic in search of shisha. What a woozy way to end the night.

DAY 5

I am ashamed to admit we didn’t leave the hotel until 3:45pm. By this time, we were absolutely hangry so we went to Timesburg, a gourmet burger place located right near our hotel. I will definitely be writing about this place for the Food Diaries because it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. I ordered the Kobe burger; 200g wagyu beef, arugula, tomatoes, asiago cheese, caramelised onions and Timesburg mayonnaise. GORGEOUS. I also ordered a portion of chips, which ended up way too much. 

We then headed over to La Boqueria Market, one of Europe’s largest and most famous food markets. It’s located right on Las Ramblas, and therefore tourist central but all the noisiest and messiness of it all adds to the authenticity. 

source: jumpwhenisay

I absolutely love public markets, and it was fun seeing all the sellers and different things that were on sale. It is so colourful and smelly and overwhelming, and definitely a place you need to visit if you ever go to Barcelona!

We then headed toward the beach near the Hotel W. When I am rich and/or have a sugar daddy, I am staying at the Hotel W because it is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever seen. The beach we ended up at wasn’t great, but I managed to grab some Headspace and also be amused by a man selling doughnuts. He promised us that we would chase after him for his doughnuts. Lol.

palm trees

palm trees

We were only there for a few hours, but actually ended up going inside the hotel and found out that we could chill by the poolside even though we weren’t guests. We rushed back to the hotel to get ready and then headed back out.

Best. Night. Ever.

Hotel W actually has a nightclub 26 floors above Barcelona and it was simply amazing. We did some pre drinking before hand, but we didn’t buy anything in the club because we were too busy dancing our asses off. It’s free to get in and the DJ was absolutely amazing.

We didn’t get home until 4am. The security guard at the hotel was very gracious about it all.

DAY 6

We did not even make it to breakfast. 

Absolutely shattered that day. We headed back to the Barri Gòtic to find some food because we were hangry again. Thanks to Yelp, we found a spot called Allium where the food was good and waiters were hella cute. 

Again, I ordered Catalan bread with tomato and olive oil and patatas bravas (the amount of patatas bravas I ate on this trip…). For my main I had roast pork with candied vegetables, which was drizzled in this amazing sauce. The waiter was very accommodating also, because Tilly wanted paella but it said minimum two people. As I’m allergic to seafood, and Mutay doesn’t eat seafood, it would only be her who would be eating it. Thankfully, the waiter spoke to the chef who agreed to make a single portion for Tilly. Love service like that! We also the best sangria ever at this place!

Loved it so much that we did this. ?

We then did a detour and ended up going on a boat trip on Las Golondrinas. A 40 minute trip and only €7.40, it is quite a basic boat trip – so no audio or anything like that. Still, it’s a lovely way to relax especially if you’ve been walking around loads – hence why I fell asleep on the trip, ahahha.

take a picture of the professional picture so you don't have to pay €10, lol

take a picture of the professional picture so you don’t have to pay €10, lol

We attempted to rent bikes, again, but there was all sorts of palava including needing a credit card for deposit, ID and all sorts, so we ended up leaving it. We did find a Chicken Shop & Dirty Burger, a restaurant we have in London as well, where they were doing €4 cocktails. I ended up getting a quarter chicken and two cocktails: Tommy’s Margarita; Tequila, lime, agave, nectar and Lilly the Pink; Bacardi gold, manzanilla sherry, strawberry sugar syrup lemon, prosecco. So good!

We were meant to go to the beach, but the previous night had literally shattered us so we ended up heading back to the hotel, instead. We vowed to head back to Hotel W for round 2 at the club, but that didn’t happen either – think I’m getting too old, guys.

We ended up eating McDonald’s in the hotel room, LOL.

DAY 7

LAST DAY. *insert tears of anguish here*

Again, we spent the morning on the beach and then headed out to Maremagnum, a shopping centre close to Barcelona Port. We paid extra for late checkout, so we weren’t rushing around. We didn’t do much on our last day, and our flight was at 6:40 in the evening. I literally spent most of the day lamenting about how the holiday had gone by too quickly, and can I just say I lost my passport and stay forever.

For sure I know I will be back. The first time I visited, I fell completely in love and it happened all over again the second time I visited. I feel I need to make Barcelona an annual thing, because honestly a piece of my heart is firmly planted in that country.

no se preocupe, voy a estar de vuelta. amo demasiado como para dejar para siempre. / don't worry, i will be back. i love you too much to leave forever.

no se preocupe, voy a estar de vuelta. amo demasiado como para dejar para siempre. / don’t worry, i will be back. i love you too much to leave forever.

monarch

When I received a pun filled email from Talented Talkers to golf with the promise of tapas and wine tasting, how could I say no? Thanks to Monarch, I had such a fun evening at N1 Golf learning the basics of golf, eating yummy food and tasting delicious beers AND wines.

It was an absolute laugh.

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