Yep, this one is long overdue. Last half-term I spent a week exploring Spain, and oh my was it glorious. And in all honesty, I think the only way I can excuse the tardiness of this blog post is by saying that it was very hard to attempt to re-live a holiday full of sunshine, festivals and long walks when I knew I was stuck at work for another five weeks. Nonetheless I must stick to this commitment of a travel blog (if only when it suits me).
We started off in Madrid. We definitely got the epitome of a red-eye flight, if ever there were one – Leaving Gatwick at 11:35pm and arriving just before 2am. And did I mention that we had spent the previous night celebrating a friends 18th? Needless to say it was a struggle. But we arrived in the far too early hours of the morning, grabbed some liquid energy to replace lack of sleep and headed off to our hostel. That night, the city was really buzzing as it happened to be the night of Real Madrid’s Championship win. So after dropping our bags off, we ventured for a walk around the city at 3am. We happily basked in the ambience and gawked at the plethora of gorgeous tanned men for about 45 minutes before well and truly hitting the wall. Thankfully the hostel worker then let us crash on the couches downstairs for a few hours, before kindly waking us up for breakfast.
During the following days, Chloe, Serena, Georgia x2 and I spent most of our time wondering. In doing so we managed to see: Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Villa, the Royal Palace, Jardines de Sabatini, the Temple of Debod, Buen Retiro Park and the Crystal Palace. Unsurprisingly, our park visits were among some of my favourite moments, as we lay in the sun and had a few more of those existential “life is great” moments that we had become oh-so-fond of this year. However, my favourite part by far was being shown around the city by Chloe’s Spanish friend Tatiana. You can’t say it doesn’t help having someone who speaks the local language and who knows the best non-touristy tapas joints to visit!
We also attempted to grasp the concept of Spanish nightlife a few times. Attempted being the operative word, as the girls, Nico & Barney and I struggled through our lack of sleep to head out to a nearby club at 11. Only to realise that nobody in Spain goes out until 2am. Once everyone started piling in at his time, we realised that we had peaked too early, and soon headed home.The following night we skipped the clubs and decided on aiming to grasp Spanish culture in a different way. I mean I’m not totally sure that siestas are meant to last from 4pm to 9pm. But hey, we ended up being much more functional human beings the next day than we had all week. However, our attempt at a regular amount of sleep was made redundant the next night as we headed to Barcelona on the overnight bus. Which for some reason felt the need to take a gas station stop every hour, interrupting my already uncomfortable slumber.
Nonetheless, Barcelona exceeded all my expectations. Although the city was inconveniently much more spread out than Madrid, the atmosphere couldn’t be beaten. It’s a city filled to the brim with art and culture (and I don’t think I need to mention my love for men with accents again). One of the most notable evenings was one we spent with other people from our hostel, where we went to a free music festival and sat in the sun and drank beer until it was time to go back to catch the free burritos for dinner. Despite the fact that we understood none of the lyrics and didn’t recognise any songs, being there on the first night of Primavera music festival certainly gave us a taste of Spanish culture. It was one of the most relaxing and mellow afternoons I’ve had all year, and was made all the more better by being with excellent mates.
In the following days we managed to see: Sagrada Familia, Montjuïc Park, Las Ramblas, Park Guell, La Boqueria and many other sites. The Sagrada Familia in particular filled my art-geek needs for the holiday – admiring the Gothic architecture of a cathedral that is 134 years under construction was definitely a highlight. We also further tested the waters of the Spanish night life. My favourite part of which was a shots bar that had options upon options of drinks with wacky names. This was made all the more better by the fact that they were all only €2. Gap budget approved ✔️
Although I seem to be saying this every time I go anywhere, Spain has been one of my favourite trips so far. I once again was lucky enough to travel with an incredible group of girls, and experienced more incredible hearty European food.
What more could you ask for in a holiday?
Until next time Spain. Bring on Summer!