Lately I’ve been reminiscing a lot about my trip to Europe. One of the highlights of the trip was the day we got to spend in Barcelona before catching the ferry to Italy.
My adventurous and knowledgeable travel buddy, A, and I didn’t do any Barcelona research before landing in Catalonia. Our bad.
BUT if there’s one thing you learn when you travel, it’s that the unplanned trips can be the best ones!
Not knowing what we should do or where to go, A and I decided to hop on a guided tour bus – with headphones to give us the tour in English! Even if you are pretty sharp with Spanish, you could be stuck in Barcelona. For the most part, they speak Catalonian.
By hopping on the bus, we were able to learn about the city and see the sights, without spending all day wandering around with a map. It was definitely the most efficient use of our time. Barcelona is known for its architecture. I’ve got hundreds of photos of buildings just like this one:
It’s snazzy, right?
Each building had taken the curve to a new place, offering an architecture lover like myself plenty for my eyes to feast on.
Yes, that is a super cool, turbo-ish McDonald’s.
Now that I think about it. We got a really good feel for Barcelona – and packed a TON in – and we weren’t even there for a day. We took the train in from Madrid in the morning, and caught the boat out in the evening. In Madrid, we hadn’t been savvy enough to drop our bags (featured in the photo) at the hostel before exploring, and in Barcelona we didn’t get a hostel because we weren’t staying the night. The tour bus and the buggy that we chose to hop a ride in were literal feet savers. The blue skies, sunshine and sore feet were no match for our buggy driven by an expat from Kansas!
Finding a “local” that you can get suggestions from is key to a successful unplanned trip. Our friend knew just the place to take us when we asked for seafood on the beach, and took us right down the beautiful shore line to it.
A and I rested our feet on the warm sand and soaked up some Vitamin D as we devoured a plate piled with fresh seafood on a white table cloth. I’m not even sure what we ordered, other than that it came from the sea, there was a wide variety and there was an enormous pile on our plate. Before, during and after eating, we enjoyed this view of the real life Jack Sparrow:
After feasting, we continued to wander around the area of town that rested on the beach. But, nothing was accessible. What was going on? We couldn’t shop in the local shops, we couldn’t get a snack or drink anywhere!
Crap. We had totally forgotten. We continued to walk around and look like tourists because, where else would we go?
(Mom, stop reading for a minute, ok? Everyone else, proceed.)
We noticed a shop open across the street and went in. Sex toys. Oh fun. We pandered through the shop reading the various labels and examining the difference of offerings in Spain versus the US. Toward the back of the shop, we noticed a curtain.
I’m going to take a moment to talk to you about curiosity. Curiosity is fine, it didn’t really kill the cat, but when you’re curious you really need to be open to what ever you may find by being curious. Stay open-minded folks.
We peeked. Behind the curtain was two or three men sitting in chairs around the room watching (staring) at a seeming show that we walked in on. We’ll say there were dancers. A and I didn’t move. Should we be standing here? We couldn’t look away. It was such an odd place for such a show. It would have been odder if it were, say, a coffee shop, but hey!
Finally, we pulled ourselves away and decided it was time for us to roll out.
(Mom, you can start reading again here! Everyone else, carry on.)
After a long day walking around in the perfect heat, our time in Barcelona had come to an end. Now it was time for us to find our boat and hop on! Our map reading skills weren’t exactly polished at this point, but we figured if we walked along the pier and looked for signs that indicated there might be something bigger than this:
… we could probably find our ferry. And eventually, we did.