An Ode to the Wonder that is Barcelona

I visited Barcelona for the second time in September and I fell in love even more. I wish I could pick up my home and plonk it there but that is not gonna happen. I have just decided that someday I will live there, it just has to happen! Below is a list of why I just love this city so much.

1. Sagrada Familia





The first reason for why I love Barcelona has to be the architecture that is all around the city but the utmost example of the architecture has to be the Sagrada Familia. Antoni Gaudi's vision is just breathtakingly stunning, where every little corner has some form of detail, that is both visually stunning and has relevance to Catholicism; making it easy to see why he is called God's architect. I especially liked how beautiful and serene it was inside, how the stained windows allowed for numerous colours to stretch through the cathedral and how on the outside, the story of Jesus was told in seven stages, the image just above shows one.

2. Zaa'tar Vegetariano

I was staying on Avenue Diagonal and just nearby was this superb vegetarian restaurant, Zaa'tar Vegetariano. We visited this restaurant twice in 4 days, says it all really. Everything is made inhouse, is fresh and innovative and their mint tea is the best I have ever tasted. Above is a picture of a dessert I had at the restaurant, a buckwheat pancake that is filled with apple compote and carob sauce on top, it was sweet and savoury but the pancake just melted in my mouth. Looking at it now, I just want some more! I also posted a few images on my Instagram of the starters and mains that I had, so beyond delicious! Definitely a must to dine in if you go to Barcelona, great for mint teas, juices and basically everything!

3. The weather

 

I am English so of course the weather is a major draw to the Catalonian city. When I visited it was around 28 degrees and on the days it was overcast, the locals were saying it is like their winter already, they obviously do not know winter in England!

4. The relaxed vibe


Similar to Marrakech, Barcelona is really relaxed. Shops and restaurants are open late, no one is rushing around and the streets, around Avenue Diagonal at least, were safe enough for us to walk around at 1am.

5. Wilson Boutique Hotel



My theory is as long as you have a comfortable bed, a good shower and a fulfilling breakfast, you can face anything in your day. That's why it is important to pick good hotel and I have to say I loved mine. In a great location that allows you to take public transport, from the front of the hotel, to anywhere in the city, a great breakfast but with various restaurants and cafes literally next door, it isn't hard to find a place for breakfast or lunch, if you don't want to pay the prices in the hotel. There was also a comfortable bed and power shower, as well as a strong WiFi connection. What else do you need?! Oh yeah, the image above is of the view from my room, jealous?

6. Buenas Migas


One of the cafes next to the hotel and next to the Sagrada Familia, as well as all around Barcelona, is Buenas Migas. Basically it is the city's version of Pret but 10 times better. The best thing about this cafe was how they label allergens in their food and their dairy-free, sugar-free and veggie options. The labels are mini images of the food themselves, for example if dairy is contained within something it has a picture of a milk carton, if nuts are contained then it has an image of a nut and so on. I wish I had a picture to show you but I fell in love with this place and most of the time I was too busy scoffing my face to take one. Above is a cookie that was vegan and sugar free, it may not look like much but it tasted damn good.

7. Juice


Barcelona seems to be rife with juices but not like we know in England. There is no artificial flavours, the ingredients are of a slightly different mixture and they are available EVERYWHERE! My favourite place to have juice was Bopan, they had an amazing display of pastries and salads, as well as coffee but the juices were just beyond amazing. Maybe it was being on holiday and being in the sun but it just tasted so much fresher and tastier.

8. Gelato



I struggle to find dairy-free dessert options wherever I go, so when I saw on TripAdvisor that Gelaaati Di Marco in the Gothic Quarter had vegan options, I knew I had to pay it a visit and man, was I not disappointed. I went for coconut ice-cream, made from coconut milk and coconut pieces, and mango sorbet. You can tell it is made from fruit and there are no additives. The coconut ice-cream was to die for and I want more, right now, by the bucketload. If anyone is going soon then please bring me back a tub!


9. The Magic Fountain


We went to the fountain on our last day because the shows only take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week, in the summer. It was the best end to our trip that there could be. Water, music and an atmosphere that was of awe and celebration, as the Merce Festival was to take place the next day, that made for a great evening. The thing that I liked was how there was no security around and although people were having a good time, no one was getting rowdy or causing a nuisance.

10. Fruit lollies


Another option to my dairy-free dessert conundrum is the 100 percent fruit lollies that are available in many places around Placa de Catalunya, Parc Guell and the Gothic Quarter. They taste great and you can tell that they are from fruit. Last time I visited Barcelona I tried the kiwi and mango version and this time I tried the coconut and strawberry one. Again, the coconut had shavings of coconut in it and was creamy without the use of dairy, which made for pure awesomeness.

I also liked how clean the city was, there are bins everywhere but people just don't litter and take pride in their city, something that people in Small Heath need to take notice of!

And that's it folks.

Have you been to Barcelona? What would you add?

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