Riding High in Barcelona, Spain

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Lack of sleep is an incredible thing. Go too long and it can be quite dangerous, but hang on to it for those beginning side effects and the world is a pretty interesting place. My teen and I arrived to Barcelona a day before our cruise with the Carnival Sunshine was scheduled to depart.

I wanted to arrive a day early because I had never been to this great Spanish city, and my son had never been to Europe. I never sleep on planes, I try to but just can’t, so I knew that it would be an interesting day for me.

We thought the best way to explore the city, in just one day, would be to take a hop on/hop off tour bus. The cost was about US$32.00 each, an inexpensive option for what you get which is access to three different lines that showcase three different main points of the city. Our ambition was big, but our energy was low. Something I later learned about as well, were the free walking tours that get together in Barcelona (and other parts of Europe), which have received high ratings, have been described as one of the best tour experiences, and really only require that you tip the guide at the end.

Barcelona_girlgonetravelThe stops for the tour buses are easy to find and get to.

Barcelona_girlgonetravelUpper deck baby! So happy! So sleepy!

Because of the jet lag, I remember Barcelona in somewhat psychedelic colors. I was riding high on the top of the tour bus, as the hot sun beat upon us. The haze of sleeplessness took a city of beauty and made it even more fascinating. The most impressive memory of Barcelona and why I can’t wait to return, is the work of art that it is. The architecture, the sculptures, the historic sights; they envelope you every where you go. I fell in love with Barcelona, it’s energy and people, who were all so friendly and generous with their smiles. It’s always a highlight for me when I can speak Spanish freely to everyone, but they almost always speak English as well.

Barcelona_girlgonetravelBarcelona_girlgonetravelBarcelona_girlgonetravelInside view of the post office. The POST OFFICE, people!

The downfall to a one-day visit to Barcelona, while jet lagged especially, is that it’s just not enough. It’s like taking a small bite off an already small sweet chocolate. A mere tasting. What is good about our tour bus experience is that we got to mark all the places to go back to, and got enough of a feeling for the place to not only want to return, but also feel comfortable in recommending it as  destination to others.

Barcelona_girlgonetravelBarcelona is so easy to navigate. It’s a busy city, large in size, but everything from public transport to traffic runs smoothly, and walking the city is a lot of fun and manageable.

Barcelona_girlgonetravel Barcelona_girlgonetravelMercat Santa Caterina was an unexpected find. Delicious, fresh, authentic treats and delicacies for an affordable price.

Where We Stayed

The Hotel Miramar Barcelona, a member of Preferred Boutique, was our one night stay, and I can’t think of a more ideal location not only because of its proximity to the port, but also because of its distance from the city center. I believe the taxi driver called it “the country”, which really it’s not, but it isn’t right in the thick of it all. The views however make none of that matter, especially from the comfort of your balcony. barcelona_girlgonetravelIMG_9686barcelona_girlgonetravelbarcelona_girlgonetravel

The hotel is located just steps away from the gorgeous Petra Kelly Gardens, a wonderful refuge for early morning runs or walks and romantic sunset strolls. We had a wonderful breakfast experience in the hotel’s restaurant, the Forestier, which we enjoyed on the outer deck overlooking the garden. It was easy to walk to our tour bus stop from the hotel, discounted tickets for which we were able to purchase at the hotel’s concierge.barcelonaIMG_9689 IMG_9688 IMG_9687My time in Barcelona felt like a dream. It was short and sweet and full of beauty. We saw a lot thanks to that tour without having exhausted ourselves, and we even got to eat some great food. If I were to return I would spend my money on two things: museums and food (though note that most museums get really busy, really fast – we saw lines for a lot of them) and whether you take a tour like we did, or decide to venture out on your own, you won’t be disappointed. The city sights will entrance you and make you want to take your time, or as in my case, want to make you come back.

barcelonaFlamenco dancers came on board the Carnival Sunshine to send us off as we departed the port from Barcelona. It was beautiful. A must see when in the city.

All photos are property of Girl Gone Travel and may not be used with permission from the publisher. To see more photos check our or Mediterranean adventure through photos follow our Instagram for future adventures.

Disclosure: We received a discounted stay courtesy of Hotel Miramar Barcelona. My teen and I were guests on the Carnival Cruise Sunshine during their Mediterranean voyage. This was one of our stops. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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6 Responses to Riding High in Barcelona, Spain

  1. Señora López says:

    Beautiful trip and so much to see. I went to Spain as part of a package vacation as a teenager with my school and we were herded from one place to another way too quickly. Now that my Spanish is much better than it was back then, I'd love to give it another try at a more leisurely pace. The breakfast looked delicious and so fresh. How great that you got to share this adventure with your son.

    • caincarol says:

      Thank you! Yes, that breakfast was AMAZING. I see that picture and still crave it : )) I do hope you get to visit again soon. Barcelona just needs time to see as much as possible.

  2. travellersoul76 says:

    Ah Barcelona!

    It is such a beautiful city, I certainly did fall in love 😉

    Your photos are gorgeous! Great details and colors.

    I certainly can't wait to go back. Visca Catalunya!
    My recent post Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

  3. Ramon says:

    Barcelona is my dream destination. I just love that city of Spain. I've stayed more than 2 years in Spain but not got any chance to travel Barcelona. Although overall Spain most cities are historic and adventurous. I really like these photos. Thanks girl gone travel for sharing an amazing post.

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