Hidden Barcelona and HouseTrip

We arrived in Barcelona a bit flustered. We had been to Madrid, Spain before and honestly, we weren’t super impressed with Spain. We had come over to find out if this was the life we wanted – teaching English – and we went back home and didn’t look back. It wasn’t that it was horrible. It just wasn’t us.

So when we got to Barcelona we were a little concerned that we weren’t going to like it. Spain had a lot to catch up on and I wasn’t sure it could come up from such a loss. With our trek across town in a humid city and a train strike, it wasn’t looking good. That was until we reached our HouseTrip property near the Sagrada Familia.

 

Can you imagine being down the street from this?!

This HouseTrip apartment is super close to the Joanic metro station. Little did we know that it was HUGE! With 6 bedrooms it can keep up to 12 people (without stepping on each other’s toes). I seriously had no clue there were properties so big that could fit such a massive group. The really awesome thing about these guys is that you can rent an entire apartment for the price of a hotel. Now if I can convince get my family to get their passports…

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Refreshed and revived we were ready to give Spain another change. Little did we know that we were in Catalonia country – a side of Spain that prides itself on being different – a side that made itself quite apparent while we were walking around with Urban Adventures and their Hidden Barcelona tour.

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One of the things I really loved about Barcelona was that the people who lived there were out enjoying the city – not just us very obvious tourists taking a city break in Barcelona; we saw quite a few tourists from the UK. Barcelona seems to be a popular get away for UK residents looking for a taste of something different. I’m thinking the city should be renamed the “City of Pensive Girls”.

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Our guide Elisabeth gave us some great advice about wandering around Barcelona – Keep your eyes open for the various dragons you can find decorating the city. Catalonia’s patron saint, Sant Jordi (Saint George), as the story would have it – slayed a dragon to rescue not only a town, but a princess. You can find the iconography EVERYWHERE. It is the small things like this that helps you understand the history and culture of the city.

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We peeked our heads into Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia – the other patron saint of Barcelona. This saint was martyred by refusing to give up Christianity during the Roman times and suffered 13 tortures (which I will not name here because they are gruesome even for ME but you can read about them here). The thing that is unique about this is that there is a fountain and garden with geese in it. Some say that a goose showed up at her time of death. Some say they represent her virginity, her age of death, or the number of tortures she went through – regardless, they are an installment for Saint Eulalia. In true Erica fashion, I geeked out over the cathedral. It. Was. Spectacular.

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We were looking around every corner and found details that would be passed over if you weren’t looking closely enough. From the decorations of the millions of hand painted tiles to the sense of Catalonian pride (flags are everywhere!), we had a permanent smile on our face.

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We were offered slices of life – from the crazy streets of Las Ramblas to the quiet moments of walking through the Gotic district where guitar notes playfully bounce across the alleys and dance in the air.

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We finished with a round of sangria and tapas. I was one happy girl.

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It apparently didn’t take much for me to fall in love with Barcelona. I could have happily been lost throughout the windy, charming streets of the old city.

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The city oozes love and art. I wish we had more time to explore it more intimately.

This. This is our city in Spain. We were falling in love.

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Disclosure: This trip was provided by the awesome guys over at HouseTrip.com, however all opinions are our own.

21 Responses to “Hidden Barcelona and HouseTrip”

  1. Randy Bullis October 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    FYI, I applied for my passport.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

      I am SO PROUD. SO PROUS.

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures October 22, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    OMG do you know you two are the first people I’ve ever met that didn’t like Spain?! Eeeeek I would move to Barcelona in a heartbeat. LOVE the shots! Glad you fell in love with the city.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Andi, I apparently don’t like so many of the places you love lol! >.< I did love it after seeing it in a different light!

  3. Kieu October 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Ah Barcelona. Easily Gerard’s favorite city. I can use a some sangria and tapas right now instead of papa fritas. Lol

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Not my favorite but definitely a gem. I would kill for sangria as well… although I’ll take a margarita and chips and salsa over anything else.

  4. Addison S. October 24, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    If you are to fall in love with anywhere in Spain then it would have to be Barcelona. The city never fails to amaze me and I’m glad it made an impression on you guys. It is still easily one of my favorite destinations, and I’ve been to over 50 countries.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      YAY! I’m glad we picked the “good” city to fall in love with. We just felt so comfortable there and Shaun was flexing his Spanish muscles left and right.

  5. Dennis Marcotte October 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    We have a lovely boathotel in Port Olimpic. Very central to the city and lots of things to do right next door. Come and visit us some time. You wont be dissapointed. Dennis

  6. Maria October 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    One of my favorite cities. I’m excited for you and simultaneously, envious. :-)

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      I think that is can be so hard as a blogger to see everyone else go to places you love. *sigh*

  7. Caanan @ No Vacation Required October 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Barcelona is just a cool city. Take it form us, just when you decide which city in Spain is “your” city, another one will come along and claim that title. It is a sick cycle. :)

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      HAHA! I’m not so sure about that one. We shall see!

  8. Natalie October 29, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Looks like the guided tour turned out to be a good move. Great pictures

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

      Right?! Either that or Barcelona really has amazing things around every corner.

  9. Laurel October 29, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I’m not much a city person, but I love Barcelona and enjoyed discovering some of the things I would have passed by on my own – like the dragons. I have no idea how I hadn’t noticed them before.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      I loved the dragon lore! I feel like I would have missed out on so much and made me love the city even more.

  10. Emma @ Emma's Travel Tales October 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    These pictures are absolutely gorgeous. Makes me ache for Barcelona, I love it there :)

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Thank you Emma! I wish it wasn’t so cloudy on us all the time. I am curious to see how the light falls on some of these buildings.

  11. Ali November 6, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    I’m glad you guys enjoyed Barcelona, we really did when we were there a few months ago. Great touristy things, but also great local stuff and great vibe. I could see myself spending more time there for sure.

    • Erica November 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      I like to see it all! Touristy, local – it doesn’t matter. They all add to the flavor.

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