A Backpacker’s Honest Review Of Barcelona, Spain

Hello explorers, Felicia here! In this blog I’m going to give an overview of our Barcelona experience. From the good to the bad, from the people to the food. We stayed 3 and a half days and with that little amount of time, we really got the vibe and culture of Barcelona.

First Impression Of Barcelona

Our first impression of Barcelona was much different than the lasting impression it had in us. We arrived in the Barcelona airport around midnight. It seemed deserted. It was barely lit with hardly any workers or people in it at all. By this time, it was too late to try and find a hostel, so we decided to try to find a more secure place to sleep in the airport. Luckily, we walked a few doors down and found an airport that was better lit and had more people. They were also in sleeping bags, camping out in the airport. A few security guards walked around, so we figured it was a normal thing to sleep in the airport, waiting for flights and trains. So we busted out our sleeping mats and bags and took a nap.

We were woken up at about 4:50 A.M by security guards. They were telling all of the campers to leave as more people arrived for flights. We began looking for a train station and found one only a few minutes away from the airport. We waited about an hour for the train, it was quite cold outside in the beginning of May.  I would recommend bringing layers for Barcelona if you go, it feels nice in the afternoon but cold in the mornings and nights. Finally, after a few stops on the train we made it into the city center of Barcelona where our hostel was located.

We arrived in the city center about 7 A.M. There were a good amount of people walking around the streets, obviously drunk, some still with a red beer can in their hand. They were yelling and laughing, a crowd of boys whistling at girls walking by. This was really odd for us to see, as America our parties stop usually around 3 A.M. We decided to hide away for a bit in a sandwich shop and eat. The sandwich was similar to a Subway sandwich, but in my opinion tasted better. The bread and vegetables were delicious. This would be the first time out of many that we noticed the people of Barcelona do not clean up after themselves at restaurants. At a place like this, Americans would throw the trash away, however, we could not find a clean spot to sit at. All of the tables were filled with trash. This is something we continued to see here and throughout Europe.

As we ventured back into the city, we decided to walk down some of the side streets to find our hostel. I was around 8 A.M at this time. The side streets were filled with people begging for money. Within a 10 minute walk, we had 1 nearly every minute walk up to us. Most were people our age, who looked really rough. They got very close and even touched us at times. This for me was not a good first impression and was scary for me. At this time I was beginning to regret coming to Barcelona. Luckily, as the day carried on, more people came out of the streets, more businesses started opening, and everything seemed more normal and safe. The bad first impression we had started to wear off and we started to see the main attraction of Barcelona.

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Food & Markets

The first thing we experienced along the main road was a ton of markets. Fruit, vegetables, gelato, plants, plant seeds, clothing, and my favorite, fresh fruit juice. The fruit juice was quite expensive, €2.50 for a small cup, but it was well worth it and I would buy it many times again. However, later through out the day, I saw the same style fruit juice for only €1. They had a variety of flavors, the one I tried being Strawberry Pineapple. By far the best and most refreshing juice I have ever had.  They also had another market that was hidden off the main street and somewhat inside a building. This market was definitely priced higher but they had a lot of great quality food to offer. Sweets, meat, fish, fruits, veggies, nuts, juice, and much more. It was an interesting place to see and I would recommend having a look even if you can’t afford the prices.

The restaurants and little shops still had a home grown type of feeling. They had plenty of affordable bakeries that offered bread, pastries, breakfast items, and dessert. You could get 3 long pieces of fresh bread for only one euro! We have many people carrying these around in little brown bags in the streets and it seemed like a such a simple, old fashioned type lifestyle. The bread was delicious as were the pastries. We bought the ingredients and made our own sandwiches which tasted really fresh! We had 3 sandwiches a pieces for $3 total. Such a good deal! Side note: Barcelona has the most delicious looking desserts that we have yet to see, out of 11 countries!

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Mount Montserrat

We spent a whole day exploring the church and the hiking trail of Mount Montserrat. We took a tram ride up to the part with the church and little shops. The view from that point was amazing! You were so high up the city below looked small. The church was one of the most beautiful I have seen. It was hard to imagine it getting more beautiful than the spot we were already in, but we decided to take the trail up to the top of the mountain and it got a million times more beautiful.

There is two different trail types you can take. One with all stairs, or one with a trail. We did not know this originally and unfortunately went the route of all stairs. It was about a two hour hike up very steep staircases. Depending on the shape you are in, it can be pretty brutal. But the end view is so worth it! The top is so high up that it looks nearly like an airplane view. You are skimming the clouds and the city buildings look as tiny as ants. It is very windy and pretty cold at the top. It is a amazing feeling to be on top of the world. This is a must see if you go to Barcelona. I recommend taking the trail and not the stairs though!

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The Beach

We went to a beach on our last day to relax from the trail we did the day before. It wasn’t very busy and nobody was in the water – but there were people laying out on beach towels in the dark tan sand. We discovered nobody was in the weather because it was freezing! It was early May when we went and the weather was sunny but about 65-70 degrees. The beach was nothing spectacular, the water was quite clear though. I don’t recommend it if you are trying to relax though. There is someone walking by every few minutes trying to sell you something. From alcohol, towels, massages, and more. This is something I am not used to being from America and going to the Florida beaches where you are left alone from people trying to sell things.

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Overall Atmosphere & Experience

We both enjoyed Barcelona and would go again. The people were pretty nice, though always pushing to sell something. The atmosphere was nice and seemed like it had something to offer for everyone. Whether you want to shop in the city, go out and party with friends, go to the beach, or go for a hike, there is something for everyone. The food and drinks were at the top of my list. It is a interesting and simple culture that takes you a step back in time. It is a place I would watch your back at certain times and certain streets, but other than that, I recommend taking a trip to see what this beautiful city has to offer!

Adventure Awaits!

Felicia

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