So there I am at 3am in a Barcelona police station screaming, “How am I supposed to get home if I don’t know my address?!”
Alexa, play How Did I Get Here by ODESZA.
On the first night of my solo trip to Barcelona, my phone was stolen. Out of my hands. Like a hooded figure rode by on a bike at 3am and swiped my phone directly out of my hands.
Typically, my blog posts are a way to document my travel adventures as well as share recommendations and stories. However, I typed out the brief version of that night’s story… it was over four pages. I’ll save that story for another day. Trust me, it’s a STORY.
This blog post will be different because I learned that even with the most detailed spreadsheets and plans, it doesn’t matter if you’re disconnected.
It wasn’t an easy trip, but traveling alone never is. I didn’t have an appetite for two days. I got lost multiple times. I spent more than I budgeted. I once thought I was going to poop my pants, but I actually just started my period. I’m all about turning my can’ts into cans, and this was another experience to prove to myself that I’m so much stronger and more resilient than I ever realized.
So here’s me looking super carefree and not at all stressed.
No one, especially not me, ever thought I could survive a week without a phone alone in a foreign country. But, here I am (and it actually took 12 days to get a new phone, mind you).
I’ll spare you the lessons on petty theft and instead focus on my highlights:
I visited Park Guell and Sagrada Familia, which were both incredibly beautiful… and I got zero photos. You should book your tickets at least two weeks in advance because they will sell out. Other than that, I walked most of the city to see the main landmarks. Those are all documented on the paper map I used all week. Some will sneak up on you, though, and suddenly you’ll run into a vast cathedral tucked away. It’s awesome and reminded me of Rome.
Cooking Class with the Foodie Experience
Almost my entire trip was booked through Airbnb Experiences, which I highly recommend. This was last on my list of favorites, but when a friend recommended it, I signed up. In a group of 12, we made paella, tomato bread, Catalan cream, and of course, sangria. The instructor was phenomenal, I will never eat paella again unless it’s home-cooked, and I can’t wait to bake my own Catalan cream.
Montserrat Day Trip
Also through Airbnb, I did a day trip to Montserrat, a mountain about a 45-minute drive away. The highlight of the trip was supposed to be horseback riding, but honestly, I loved taking a cable car up to the historic monastery more. I definitely recommend trying a fresh pastry baked by their monks (this was when my appetite finally came back). Afterward, we drove to a ranch to ride horses with Montserrat views. I made the mistake of saying I had some experience riding horses, so they gave me a younger horse that immediately knew I had oversold my skills. Still, it was a unique way to see the countryside, and I had a lot of fun with our group.
First: the horse who didn’t like me. Second: the horse who was totally indifferent to my presence.
Since all of my photos would be from a disposable camera, I loved having a private photoshoot through an Airbnb Experience. Idaly was great (I actually had to rebook a second time because I was an hour off for two days and didn’t know it… therefore an hour late gah) and captured some amazing photos to document my trip.
Since it was late in the season, I was the only person on the sailboat, so it ended up being a private cruise/lesson on sailing. My guide was great, and we had fun relaxing on the boat for my last night in Barcelona. I’ll never again be able to listen to Despacito without thinking of how he went under the boat and gave me full control of sailing. I kept thinking welp, if I fuck this up, I’ll go down with Despacito and won’t even live to tell the tale.
Without much of an appetite, it worked out alright because it is such a meat-heavy country. 75 percent of my meals were at Soho, but otherwise, I do recommend trying chocolate churros at least once. I went to Petritxol Xocoa and loved theirs. Why does no one tell you that they’re regular churros you dip in chocolate and whipped cream? Amazing. I also loved gelato from Topping Circus. They had a Kinder Bueno flavor which is my favorite candy of all-time.
Stunning photo quality, right?
If you’re traveling during the week, I recommend eating the menu del dia to get a big midday meal for an affordable price. My favorite, however…
Was at Soho. For their “Refresh + Refuel” special, I got a massage at their Cowshed Spa, relaxed in their stunning spa pool (different than the rooftop — ya, I know!), then ate lunch at Cecconi’s. It’s open to the public, and it was the best thing for my last day in the city.
For my last night, I stayed at the Little Beach House in Garaff, which is about a 30-minute drive or 1-hour train ride. I had gone on Saturday for their first birthday party (so lit UGH but again, another story for another day) and this day was the ultimate vacation from a vacation. Let’s just say I spoiled the shit out of myself and loved every second of it. Sippin’ on house sangria (through a metal straw) at the beach like I AM THAT BITCH.
All things considered, I adored Barcelona. I’ve already considered making it a thing to go back again when I’m 30 for a week by myself to vacation, relax, and explore. Like most things in life, I realized that although it was way harder than I expected, it was so much better than I could have dreamed.
Enjoy the rest of my limited photos!