We landed in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon and the last five days have been a blur!
How is it already Friday?! This first week has flown by, with mornings spent exploring different parts of the city, afternoons spent being productive (or at least trying to be), and evenings spent stuffing our faces with delicious food and binge watching Narcos Season 2.
For me, this new work-life balance has been a bit of a struggle - trying to indulge in everything Barcelona has to offer while also keeping focus on work and blogging. I enjoy being productive - it gives me a sense of accomplishment, but sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day!
In an effort to be as productive as possible I've tried to plan out the day as much as I can.
One evening I was excited to try this tapas bar I read rave reviews for. The plan was to meet outside the Passeig de Gràcia metro station (my partner in crime had been out exploring by himself in the afternoon) and head down to La Barceloneta where the restaurant was. I wanted to try and get there before it got too crowded. After making our way down to the neighborhood, we arrived at the restaurant only to find out that they're closed for renovations until the end of year. As the disappointment set in the thunder storm that had been looming all day began pouring down. Now I was disappointed and wet (mind you I had just straightened my hair so I was also getting annoyed that it was about to get frizzy).
There we were caught in the rain with no where to go. But, as it turned out, everything was ok. The rain let up a bit and we made our way down to the main drag along the marina. As we walked along the row of restaurants you could see the magnificent lightening display happening in the distance and the cool breeze felt nice after the heat of the first few days.
We ended up wandering into the maze-like alleys of the Gothic Quarter. The rain had cleared the streets of the crowds and tourists so it felt like we had the city all to ourselves. By this point we were still pretty hungry when we stumbled upon this tiny tapas bar called Sensi Bistro. It was packed with people, which as we all know is the universal sign of good food. Luckily we were able to get the last two seats at the bar before devouring what turned out to be one of the best meals of our trip.
All in all, things didn't go as planned - but they actually worked out better. If it wasn't for the restaurant being closed and the rain storm pushing us into a different part of town, we may not have ever gotten to try the bistro's Normandy-style casserole - which was absolutely amazing.
The next day we had a similar experience. We woke up early to head to Park Güell, expecting to beat the crowds and have the place mostly to ourselves. But, as it turned out, the park now utilizes a crowd management system with set entry times in order to limit capacity of the Monumental Zone, the main area of the park where the ornate fixtures are. When we arrived at 9:30am the next available entry time was 12:00pm. I was disappointed that we'd have to wait two and a half hours to get into the park - but there wasn't anything we could do about it. Luckily, the majority of the park is open to the public for free (it's only the Monumental Zone that requires an entry fee) so we wandered the well-maintained trails that take you around.
We ended up discovering other beautiful areas we probably wouldn’t have bothered exploring if we had gotten into the Monumental Zone right away. The free area has beautiful viewpoints, amazing architectural spaces, and scenic picnic and play areas. The best part? It's not nearly as crowded, which gave us a chance to capture some beautiful photographs.
This week has reminded me to relax. To be patient, and to stay open to what life throws your way. Things won't always work out as planned - and that's ok - because in some cases, it'll be better than what you could have imagined in the first place.