I am finally taking the time to write about my trip to Spain last October. I have been busy with life and would not stay on my laptop long enough to do it, but you have to be intentional.
Last October, my boyfriend, Mark and I went to Spain. It is funny how things evolve. The trip to Spain was originally supposed to be with my sister and brother-in-law. We were supposed to have a layover in Vancouver long enough to see Niagara Falls. Fly from Vancouver to Barcelona, stay a few days there. Then take the train to Seville, stay a few days there. Fly from Seville to Lisbon, stay a few days there. Then fly Lisbon home but layover in Dublin for 24 hours. By the end of June, my sister and brother-in law had to back out. Then the free tickets (using sky mileage) changed and Dublin was out of the trip. Mark thought trying to see Niagara Falls in 12 hours would be too stress-full, we decided to just go to Barcelona and Seville. We will save Ireland, Lisbon and Niagara Falls for another trip.
We booked our trip to Barcelona and Seville, spending 5 days in each. We used our sky mileage for our flights. With tax and insurance we only spent $55 each.So far we were staying frugal. We stayed in Barcelona at a hotel on La Ramblas, a very popular street in Barcelona. A friend of mines, family member owned the hotel and gave us a wonderful deal. This hotel was right in the middle of the city center. Everything pretty much was within walking distance. The marina was right down the street, with the statue of Columbus, Gothic quarters, Roman ruins, La Boqueria, Gaudi’s buildings and many restaurants. We booked our tickets to the Segrada Familia before we left the United States (highly recommend doing this). I talked Mark into taking the hop on/off bus for 2 days (I always take these, I always see something I wouldn’t have). We used the bus and the subway to get to the far away places.
Months before the trip we used http://www.tripadvisor.com to map out what we wanted to see. You can see the top 100 places in any city you are visiting. Under each description you can put a “like” button to add it to your favorites list. Each listing will have reviews, you can read these if you are unsure about visiting certain places. My favorites in Barcelona were, walking thru the Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas, La Boqueria, Segrada Familia (naturally), renting bikes and riding thru the park with the waterfalls, all of the architecture, Gaudi’s Park Guell, Sangria and the food. There are so many places and things to see, I loved them all, those were the high lights for me. Of course, I went to Hard Rock Cafe to get my glass.
Barcelona also known as Catalonia is a very touristy city. They speak Spanish, English and primarily Catalan.Very friendly city, welcoming everyone.I loved the culture, vibrant color tiles, architecture, people, food and drink. It is a great city to wander around and take pictures. We met some amazing people. Some of them we are still friends on Facebook with.
After 5 days in Barcelona, we were on the train to Seville. We bought our train tickets before we left (you can book train tickets thru RailEurope, the link is right here on my blog). We rented a VRBO in Seville. This was one bedroom apartment with a great view. This was very affordable lodging. We quickly found out you can pretty much walk anywhere in Seville. The tiny narrow streets are easy to get lost in, but also a wonderful place to get lost in. We found so many interesting things that were not on our list, just by wandering around.
In Seville they speak Spanish and English. Communicating was not very hard. The colorful Spanish tiles seemed a little more predominate here. We also saw so many stores with the colorful pottery and flamenco dresses. There was the bull arena, a church on every corner, steeples everywhere and many architecture places as well. Another great city to take lots of pictures. My favorites places to see in Seville was the Mushroom, Giralda Tower, Plaza de Espana, and the Mercadillo de Jueves. We did not have the Mushroom structure on our list, we kind of ran into it. I was so glad we decided to go to the top. It had amazing views, even someone afraid of heights could probably handle. I did fine up there and at the top of Giralda Tower.
I loved my trip to Spain. I learned somethings a long the way. Helps with future trip planning. I think 5 days in any one city is a little too long. I think we would have been able to see everything in 3 days. We could have went to Lisbon or Madrid and experienced that too. Bring extra shoe inner soles. Mark had to buy some at the pharmacy. He said it was the best souvenir he bought. Make sure you travel with a credit card that does not charge international fees (knew that, but had to share anyway). If you have an ATM card from a bank that reimburses for ATM withdrawals, then use that for your exchange. This will save you the exchange fees. Do not order too many tapas. They can be shared even though they are smaller portions. You can always add-on to your order if you do not have enough food. Try the Sangria, local beer, and hot chocolate with churros. If you can become Facebook friends with the people you meet. You can message them about their trip and share tips along the way. My last tip: Enjoy every minute of it!