Thursday, 27 July 2017

Sightseeing in Barcelona

Barcelona is one my all time favourite cities. With amazing shopping, food, sightseeing, architecture and the beach all on offer, it's not hard to understand why. 

Abandoning our luggage in the hotel, we headed straight to Lulu's in El Born.

Barcelona is an extremely healthy city - you won't find many fast-food shops here or anywhere selling something ridiculously unhealthy. Lulu's is definitely somewhere to try if you fancy a light bite and quick refresher, particularly if you find yourself around El Born (the Cathedral, Parc Ciutadella and Picasso Museum are all nearby).

The menu is short, simple and healthy. Sarah and I both ordered the pesto toast with fresh cherry tomatoes, washed down with ice-cold rose lemonades.

We quickly relaxed before dashing off into the sunlight, ready to explore the Gothic Quarter architecture.

Temperatures soar well above 30'C in the Barcelona city heat and so wearing as little as possible is a must (to a certain extent, cheeky things!).

Sarah kept cool in a pair of turned-up shorts, adding bohemian vibes with a brown floral crop top. Teamed with a classically cool pair of black Converse and pink round-frame Ray Bans, the look was cool, laid-back and free-spirited.

I'm a jeans and a t-shirt girl, always. Its an easy, carefree livin' kinda look that I love and requires little thought. This look didn't stem too far from my usual uniform, with a Pull & Bear sleeveless tee and denim skirt. I accessorized it with a straw bag from Zara, Topshop leopard print sliders and Ray Ban aviators.

Barcelona Cathedral. A beautiful Gothic creation.

The El Born area offers plenty of great shopping from premium high-street classics such as Levi's, to local bohemian shops and handmade jewellery stores. Meander around the winding streets and find a goodie on every corner.

A sneaky little purchase made by each of us in Brandy Melville later, we headed to La Boqueira Market, just off of Las Ramblas (Barca's version of Oxford Street).

This food market is one of Europe's largest and most famous, having been in full swing since 1826. It's a true pilgrimage destination for any food lover.

We had seen on our instagram feeds that the market stalls offer the freshest juices in every fruit flavour imaginable. So in need of major hydration, we searched out the best.

 The market offers a vast variety of foods, both local and international. While it specialises in meats, vegetables, fruits, spices and dry ingredients, you'll also find tapas bars and sweet stalls too.

It's crowded, loud and dropped food lies on the floor, but this all adds to the charm.

As a tourist attraction in its own right, head here early in the morning for the freshest produce and quietest surroundings. We headed here late in the afternoon when a lot of the stalls had closed for siesta, but it was still incredible to see so many beautiful foods all under one roof.

Juices in tow, we headed back towards our base, Hotel Granados 83, an exquisite 4*S bohemian hotel in Eixample.

We stopped by to admire some of Gaudi's beautiful works on our way.

Dusk approached and we were greeted with the humid air of summer evenings.

Time for tapas, baby.

Much too eager to wear our new matching Brandy Melville dresses, we slipped them on, wrapped them around (oh the comfort!), and headed into town.

This wrap dress oozes Parisian allure and so naturally red lipstick and messy hair were perfect partners to this look. Add to that my ChloƩ-esque bag from Zara, Accessorize gold jewellery, tan sandals and a classically chic Daniel Wellington watch, and the outfit was simple and effortless. Voila.

Sarah in the same dress in a differing print, teamed with a Longchamp bag and round-frame Ray Bans. This has to be my favourite photo of Sarah, ever.

Tapas 24 is one of Barcelona's best and most-loved restaurants. You'll understand why when you see the queue extending beyond a couple of blocks.

The Spanish usually eat around 10:00pm, so if you want to make sure you grab a seat and not wait too long, head here around 8:30pm. However, the queue does seem to move pretty fast.

There's a healthy dose of locals and tourists at this hangout - always a good sign for anyone in need of a darn good meal.

Wine already in hand, we cautiously ordered, making sure to order the very best tapas dishes possible.

Naturally we ordered all the carbs, from patatas bravas to smashed eggs and bread with tomato (with a plate of ham and rosti for the meat-loving fiend I am).

I wish these long, late dinners could exist in London, where large groups of family or friends sit outside over tapas and wine until midnight arrives. It's just such a slow, relaxed and carefree way of living that creates a peace within me that I wish I could translate back home.

We finished our wines and popped by to the La Isabela Terrace at Hotel 1898 for some rooftop sangria, overlooking the beach and the mountains. A few hours later, and we slung ourselves into a marshmallow bed of dreams.

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