I visited Barcelona when the Coronavirus #COVID19 was widely reported in Asia and Italy only. There were few cases in Spain early March and I figured it’ll be nice to gown down there just for the warm weather. It was one of my solo vacations. I had booked an AirBnB which was a very beautiful place and the location was perfect as it was right in the middle of the city . I could easily access most tourists attractions like the Cathedral of Barcelona, Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona and the La Sagrada Familia which was a little bit far but it was good to walk because sometimes its through walking that you get to experience a place properly.
(View from my AirBnB)
When I landed at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport, I got lost. Lucky I didn’t have checked in luggage so I was not worried about waiting for it, however, I struggled finding the exit to the buses. And it had to do with the fact that most things are written in Spanish and airport staff that I asked for direction was not interested in speaking English. I have always thought French people take the top spot for always sticking to French even when they can see that you are an English speaking tourist. The difference between the French and the Spanish is that the latter, does everything with a smile, including speaking to you in Spanish.
Eventually I found my way out of the airport after many attempts . I took the Aerobus which I paid 5.90 euros for. There’s so many stops along the way and my stop was the last one. When I got off the bus, smelling the windy air of Barcelona for the first time in my life, I fell in love. It was love at first sight. I had never dreamt of Barcelona the same way I did with Paris. So it was a completely different experience because I had no expectations at all.
( View of the Cathedral of Barcelona from the streets)
I came to Barcelona having googled places to see. I am a typical tourist after all, but I think I ended up just enjoying things that were not on my list. The Cathedral was on my list though and what’s Europe without a church ? I didn’t go inside because I try to not pay to go inside cathedrals, if it’s not free, I just admire it from outside. There’s usually nothing special inside a cathedral, they all have the same design and same thing to see.
There were many tourists outside and so I took a walk around the cathedral which led me to hallways of stores. That side you get to see the hustle of the people and realize how congested the buildings are in Barcelona. The walkways were so narrow you couldn’t breathe. But I had a good experience walking through it all.
(Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona )
I also took a walk to the Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona which is beautiful but not as majestic as the French Arc de Triomphe. I even did a poll on my Instagram (@zinhlela) to see which one people loved the most and the Arc de Triomphe won. I too prefer the French one but the Barcelona one is as admirable. The walk took me to the Parc de la Ciutadella which is just breath taking.
(Parc de la Ciutadella )
The Parc de la Ciutadella was created in 1877 so there’s so much history. It looked so royal with the greens and the gold. It was utterly beautiful I spent close to an hour there just admiring it . I really recommend it to anyone who visits Barcelona.
On your way to the Parc de la Ciutadella you will pass this formation of bicycles. I don’t really know if they are decorative or they are parked there for use. Cycling in Europe is a huge part of European life more especially in The Netherlands.
Walk. That’s the best way to see a place. I know you might want to take a tour bus but walking, getting lost, finding your way is what makes a trip fun.
On this day believe me when I say I was wearing heels with no flat shoes to change to. It feels good to wear heels even though these boots burned me. When I got to my place I was dying . But it was worth it .
Quick tip : You can always get someone to take you pictures if you are a solo traveller because there’s many of them out there who will also want you to take them a picture in return. so don’t worry that if you travel alone, no one will take you pictures. 99% of my trips, I have been traveling alone and it all works out just fine .
(La Sagrada Familia )
On my last day before flying out I visited the glorious La Sagrada Familia. I have never seen something as beautiful . Not even the beauty of the Eiffel Tower at night compares. I couldn’t breathe when I set my eyes on this marvelous piece of architecture. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the work of the great Antoni Gaudí and the construction began in 1882 and to this day its not complete . It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its beautiful . You have to see it when you go to Barcelona. When I go back I want to see it again and again. It really was the highlight of my Barcelona trip.
I travel for architecture and history so for me these kinds of buildings make me so happy .
(Book store in Barcelona )
What I also noticed with Barcelona is that its a very urban city, very big but still urban and reminded me a little bit of the vibes of Johannesburg.
There’s also a lot of book stores. I couldn’t find one with English books but it was lovely to browse through all the feminism literature some of the stores had.
(The other side of the Cathedral of Barcelona )
Also when you’ve seen enough of the cathedral you can always go shopping to the nearest stores. There’s Mango, Zara, H&M, incase you need essentials or you just feel like shopping .
- Do not travel now. You won’t be able to anyways because most flights are cancelled and there’s travel bans mostly until April and lord knows some might be extended .
- AirBnB is also giving refunds if you have booked already .
- When you finally get to travel, I always say people must do what they want. Do not base your expectations on other people’s experiences . Don’t look at other people’s Instagram pictures and expect your holiday to be like that. You have to live life through your own version. Be inspired but don’t replicate other people’s experiences.