The flight was long and going into the new year while being frisked by an equally resentful border security guard in Doha airport wasn’t ideal, but, I was so excited that I really didn’t care. Arriving 27 hours to the gleaming face of Marine who’d arrived a few hours before me was a relief and even though We were both deprived of sleep we were jumping around, eager to explore the streets of Barcelona. We were both in a place that we’d spoken and dreamed about for so long so we didn’t want to waste a single second. Barcelona would be the starting block to a journey that would take us to snowy peaks, vertical faces and show me a very different side of a continent I knew very little about.
We shedded our bags in our little Air BnB (tip #1: Air BnB is the way to find accommodation in Barcelona. Hostels and regular hotels are pricy, crowded and boring. You can find awesome little rooms that are central and our host was an invaluable resource of information).
Barcelona is famed for its tapas, quaint little hand paved streets, churros and, quite simply, the vibe. We immediately went and got ourselves lost. There was gentle Spanish guitar illuminating our path as we wandered the maze that makes up the city. As a Cape Townion it’s pretty easy to navigate because we have a thousand meter mountain in the middle, but I had no chance in this labyrinth. That being said, you don’t want to know where you’re going, that’s the best way to see the city (tip #2: invest in a good pair of walking shoes, because you’re going to do a lot of that). It was magical and at night the city wakes up and Cafes light up. We tried to stayed clear of Las Ramblas (the most touristy spot of BCN ) and found cozy and delicious tapas joints that forced us to speak Spanish. An entire meal for two was no more expensive than back home, which made me feel even more satisfied.
We digested our dinner by getting lost again and bumped into a small crowd where two compact Spanish men bundled up in woolly scarves and hats sang opera with lungs like you’d never heard.
We have since escaped to the mountains to do what we came here to do- climb rocks!