It was sometime in the beginning of December when I started to feel ‘Christmassy’. This is a feeling which makes you want to go shopping, think of sumptuous food, drinks, and simply relax. Or in other words ‘festive’. To be honest, I had been doing all of these things even before it was “December”. Bought new shoes, new clothes, plenty make-up plus a useless hair-curling tong which sleeps in my drawer now. Somehow, I was not getting that real after-shopping-feeling. I wasn’t sad but not happy either. Then one fine day I saw the daylight. My husband came up with the idea of taking a small vacation around Christmas week and travel to Barcelona.
“What? Barcelona! Yeyy!!”, I exactly said that. Like an instant coffee, the not-so-cheerful face was now lit-up. Aah! Now I get it why I was feeling low even after my shopping therapy. Reason is that no amount of shopping is complete unless you flaunt its content. I am ready for the ramp. Hola Barcelona!
Having a Mediterranean climate, Barcelona is a bit but cold in December. To my surprise, it was quite sunny and warm as opposed to the grey skies in London. So after checking-in the hotel and relaxing a bit, I wore my pink lipstick with a blue dress and headed out to explore the city. But yes, I did wear a jacket but no coat.
We wandered around the Gothic Quarter which had a beautiful Christmas market in one of the squares. Some alley led us to the ‘La Ramblas’ the most over-hyped street I would say, but for some it might be a shopping paradise. To me, it was only a route to one of the most famous beaches ‘Barceloneta’. By the way, I had read a lot about pick-pocketing on ‘La Ramblas’ so most of the time my bag was tightly hugged(sort of) to my chest. Surprisingly, when I looked around for those pick-picketers and realised that there were none; I could have missed, may be. What I think is that it stands true for every Country and city you visit, you should take care of your belongings and that’s it.
Our walking took us to ‘Passeig de Gràcia’ (street name) and we decided to indulge in some gastronomy. We stopped by a restaurant called ‘QU QU’, I can’t remember its full form but were greeted by a gracious waiter who made us feel like the ‘Guest of honour’. We ordered ‘tapas’ and drinks, and put a hold on the main course for time being. Guess what? We were hooked to those finger foods so much so that it became our dinner. ‘Potato Bravas’ and ‘tomato bread’ were our favourites in the tapas menu.
I had read a good deal about Antoni Gaudí, the 18th century architect and his creations. I found the city is beautifully adorned with his work.
To me, ‘Casa Batllo’ is Gaudi’s most stunning and not-to-miss piece of work. ‘Casa Mila’ or ‘La-Pedrera’ as it is popularly called by the locals has a distinctive architecture. Another unique creation of Gaudi is ‘Park Guell’, but ‘La Sagrada Familia’ (Roman Catholic Church) considered as his masterpiece is the most amazing architectural works. But I feel sad he couldn’t finish his most passionate work.
Some cities are best explored on bike. We booked a guided bike tour and decided to explore the most interesting part of the city – the Gothic Quarter or Barri Gotic. We had already walked through some of the places in that area but a bike would be fun.
It was after almost three to four years, I was going to ride a bike. Initially, I was hesitant but the tour guide adjusted the bike exactly according to my petite height. Cycling through the narrow alleys, going up and down the streets was exciting and it also made me feel like a local.
Well, I asked my hubby to book a hop-on hop-off bus ride because I never did it in London. Now, it’s too late for me to do a touristy stuff when I am already living here. So why not do it in Barcelona? To my dismay the weather wasn’t conducive enough for such a ride on that particular day. But with a ‘Come what may’ attitude, I carried on with the ride. At least, my long term desire would be fulfilled.
Christmas at Magic Fountain
This one is the most memorable visit. There are certain days when the Magic Fountain is operational. My hubby and I were excited to learn that not just the fountain would be in operation but there will two hours long show too. Wow!! After all it was Christmas. In fact there was one more reason for my delight. We were going to be surrounded by the crowd and not feel lonely on Christmas being away from our family. Isn’t that a good feeling?
After coming back from the trip, I feel the shopaholic inside me is content with the display of the goods and clicking numerous selfies. Now I have plenty of pictures on my Nexus phone and an inexpensive Sony camera to go through and short-list the best ones to be shared with family and friends on the social media. Aarghhh…that’s a hell lot of work now!