Both myself and my boyfriend absolutely love travelling to new places. So, since we hadn’t been abroad since back in August 2016 (Venice), we decided to book a short getaway that fell within my week off of college. After browsing through numerous holiday deals on the internet, we eventually came across one that caught our attention..’Return flights and a three night-stay‘ at, not just any old hotel, but a Spa hotel, in Catalonia’s beautiful Capital city, Barcelona. Perfect!
Day One: Arrival
Our adventure began in the early hours of Sunday morning. The pair of us were surprisingly wide awake considering it was 3 am! This was probably down to the fact that in a matter of hours we were due to fly away from the cold and dull weather of South Wales, and into a warmer climate. Barcelona, here we come!!
Halfway through our 3 and a 1/2 hour car journey we stopped at the services and grabbed ourselves some coffee in hope that it would keep us as awake as we were when we woke up full of excitement. Whilst we were being served coffee, there was another customer next to us waving his coffee mug at the people who worked there asking for more coffee. He was either an actual coffee addict or just completely insane. I think he was a mixture of both. So yes, it was a fairly entertaining stop at the services.
With no traffic whatsoever on the roads towards Gatwick airport, we were there in what seemed like no time at all. We arrived at the car park first to drop off the car at around 8 am and then took off with our suitcases and jumped onto a shuttle bus to the airport.
We must have arrived and checked ourselves in at the airport at around 9 am, and with our flight departing at 10:40, this gave us plenty of time to browse through the busy shops of the airport before take-off. Woo!
As we checked ourselves in, weighing our suitcases was a little complicated as the weighing system wanted us to pay for the luggage. Problem with this was that we’d already paid for our luggage with the company we booked the holiday with and not the company we were flying with, easyJet. Thankfully a lady that worked at the airport sorted it out for us so we wouldn’t have to pay twice for luggage. So, all was well up until we were queuing to board the plane..
We spotted a familiar black suitcase with a Welsh dragon name-and-address tag attached to the handle..stood on it’s own.. and not on the plane with the rest.. Yep, it was ours. We panicked as someone had attached another tag with the word ‘ID’ on it, but were soon reassured as the luggage guys just took that tag off without question and loaded it onto the plane. If we hadn’t spotted it, we may have been facing a few days without any fresh clothes other than the ones on our backs. Wouldn’t have been a good look.
This was my first time flying with Easy jet, and sure, it wasn’t no Virgin Atlantic plane (best flying experience ever with those guys!) But it was a smooth and short flight, so I couldn’t really complain.
Finding the Hotel
As we arrived at Barcelona’s airport, we were that typical confused tourist couple with no clue of where to go and how to get to our hotel.
We asked for help at an information desk and were finally directed towards something helpful; an underground Metro station. The ticket machines to buy our tickets to board the Metro were pretty confusing to use at first, but we soon got the hang of the system with the help of the Spanish locals.
By being speedier than our typical UK trains, arriving every three minutes after the previous PLUS the beautiful benefit of arriving perfectly on time (unlike Arriva Trains Wales, but that’s a whole other topic), they never seemed to disappoint! I liked these Metros.
As we strolled off of the Metro and up the many escalators of the underground station, we were stood in a little town full of locals, no clue of the whereabouts of the hotel we were staying at.
So after asking about five different people if they knew where “Hotel Senator Barcelona Spa” was we finally found our hotel, which was of course hidden behind a massive building, completely out of sight!
The outside of the hotel didn’t represent the pictures on the website, but do they ever??
With this in mind I gave the place a benefit of the doubt and the Reception are soon reassured me with its promising ‘Spa’ hotel vibe. We were also made to feel welcome with free lemon water! (Winning.)
It wasn’t until we swiped the room card and into our home for the next four days was revealed where I began to regret giving the hotel a chance. Instead of a king sized bed (which we did ask for), we were instead presented with two single beds put together to imitate one. The wallpaper really complimented the rooms ‘run-down’ look. Dark, dull and horrifically old-fashioned.
Of course I could put it down to us building our hopes up seeming as the past few hotels we have stayed at have been amazing (I mean c’mon, we have stayed at a suite room in the Celtic Manor hotel.)
ANYWAYYYY.. Our hotel room here didn’t resemble the photos at all, and it gets worse.. As we were going back to our hotel room after a day out, we stepped over a CIRCLE OF ANTS, which appeared to be coming from another hotel room just down the corridor of ours!
I won’t completely slag the hotel off as it thankfully made it up to us with the benefits of the Spa itself. It was incredible in there. It had several different pools such as; a Turkish bath pool, a fruit pool, a Jacuzzi, and so much more.
So this did make up for our not so great hotel room. Plus, we weren’t there for the hotel. We were there to explore Barcelona!
We ventured into the town that was right by our hotel first of all, and as we were pretty hungry by this time we planned on finding somewhere to eat. After bumping into two other English tourists who’d been to Barcelona before, they recommended us this burger place in that town, and I’m so glad they did, my burger was great!
The restaurant also looked quite cool with the walls plastered full of posters of different rock and movie stars as well as frames holding old-fashioned records inside them. It was basically a cheap version of Planet Hollywood. But still, the food was incredible and I loved its quirkiness.
With our hotel being near the ‘Camp Nou Barcelona FC‘ football ground, we walked over to see that in the night (mainly because we wanted to buy snacks from a corner shop we’d heard of that was near it.)
By now we were pretty tired from our early morning journey, so we spent the rest of the night in our hotel room and stuffing our faces with Spanish corner-shop snacks.
Day Two: The Zoo
Our second day in Barcelona was our first full day spent in Barcelona. I was extremely excited for this, especially seeming as we were heading to Barcelona Zoo! It sounded like a really good Zoo that was benefiting the animals as the Zoo had a strong focus on conservation projects and research, which is great! This Zoo also happened to have my favorite animals there.. Grizzly Brown Bears! I love them.
We walked through the ‘Arc de Triomf‘ towards the Zoo, which was very pretty to look at!
Barcelona Zoo is actually in ‘Parc de la Ciutadella‘, which is also a beautiful place with it offering pretty lakes and lots of trees everywhere.
When we did come across the bears in Barcelona Zoo, I weren’t expecting to see them and even if I did, I was expecting them to be sleeping. But I ended up seeing not just one bear, not even two bears..but THREE brown bears! They were even walking about and not being the usual sleepy bears.
I also came across an adorable Orangutan that looked very content. Definitely now one of my favourite animals!
After the Zoo, we decided to explore more of Barcelona on foot- bad idea I tell you. Both my legs and feet were killing afterwards, which made me walk really oddly for the next few days (I even visited my GP when I returned home, just to check that my knee wasn’t broken from walking too much. When I expressed this concern to my GP he gave me an odd look. Turns out that it was just a sprain so I was all good to go! Although it still hurts to this day..)
During our walking adventures through the city, we did manage to see the famous ‘Sagrada Familia‘. It’s extremely tall which made it impossible for me to fit the whole building into a photo. It started being built on the 19th of March 1882..And it’s still being built!
Day Three: The Fantastic Tour Bus
We decided to hop on and off a tour bus on our third day there, which was the best idea we had as the previous day was exhausting (y’know, the what I thought was a broken knee dilemma.) As it was a ‘hop on/off’ kinda tour bus, this allowed us to really make the most of seeing as much as we could in Barcelona.
It led us to several amazing places worth seeing..
..And to really cool activities we could take part in, such as the cable cars that gave us a perfectly breathtaking view of Barcelona beach.
The cable car drop-off led us to discover another place full of even more pretty lakes!
So yeah, even though this day required less walking, it was still pretty tiring considering that we did spend the whole day on tour buses. It was pretty cool because we realized that the tour even drove near to our hotel. We took advantage of this and just hopped onto the last tour bus to take us back!
So yeah. For those of you who are planning on visiting Barcelona I’d 120% recommend the ‘Barcelona Bus Turístic.’ I think we paid around 20-25 euros for just the day, but for two days the price is around 40 euros, which is definitely worth it for what you’ll end up seeing and doing!
If we hadn’t had done it we most certainly wouldn’t have seen all of the incredible buildings and monuments we did see. Plus it’s a ‘hop-on-hop-off’ service, allowing you to get on and off wherever and whenever you please to!Along with this beautiful benefit, when you hop back on board you can listen to all of the facts about Barcelona and its history for every place that you pass whilst on the bus, which is the perfect way to familiarize yourself with the city.
Day Four: A Walk Through a Very Long Street Towards Barcelona Beach!
We started the day off with some breakfast at a cafe near our hotel, and planned on spending the rest of our last few hours in Barcelona by visiting the beach.
We walked through ‘Las Ramblas‘ to get to the beach, and along the way we picked up some cute holiday friendship bracelets!
After some time walking we eventually reached the beach. It was a pretty hot day, so we grabbed ourselves an ice cream to refuel ourselves after such a long walk!
The beach was incredibly pretty to look at..
Even though we weren’t sat next to each other on the plane, we were both kept entertained by a cute little kid that was pulling faces at us. I was glued to my ‘We Bought A Zoo’ book by Benjamin Mee (who I’ve met!) It’s based on the true story of how he and his family bought a run-down Zoo back to life and how they saved the animals that lived in it. It’s worth a read!
And that was our time done in Barcelona! A stunning place full of amazing places to see.
Things I’d do Differently if I Were to Visit Barcelona Again:
- Teach myself some helpful lingo! My Spanish was limited between “Hola!” and “El
oso!” Very helpful Jem.
- Arrange transport to and from the airport (It did take us a while to arrange our own transport, but the Metro was easy enough to get the hang of in the end!)
- Educate myself more on what’s in Barcelona (Though the Barcelona bus tour really helped us out with this!)
Our Barcelona Holiday Video!
P.S. My boyfriend made a short video summarising our four days in Barcelona. Check it out!