Spring Break+Revision Prep
Among the bucket list wishes for the 3rd year was to go to Barcelona with my best friend as we would always imagine ourselves on Spanish territory drinking sangria, eating paella and hearing the sound of the waves on the Barceloneta beach at sunset under a palm tree. Late February we booked our flights, accommodation and we were already eagerly doing our research and planning our itinerary for ‘the completion of dissertation reward’: four off-days to recharge and get a breath of fresh air away from the lib, revision lectures, study sessions, final assignments, and presentations. Before describing how our trip went, I would also like to mention that for four out of the five weeks of spring break I went every single day to the library to polish my dissertation and to revise with my friends and fellow course mates (they can testify regarding this too, haha).
Barcelona was utterly fascinating. The beach, the Mediterranean, the food, the breath-taking parks, palm trees, the breeze, the fact that for four days I didn’t have to check the weather app because it was so sunny all of the time. Among the touristy and fun things to do that I thoroughly enjoyed were: the Camp Nou Experience, Casa Battlo, The History Museum of Catalunya, the Picasso Museum, Sagrada Familia at sunset, strolling in Parc della Ciutadela, The Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral, walking along the Barceloneta beach and the port, walking along the streets of Gracia to Parc Guell, taking coffee breaks at local bistros and cafes in the Gothic Quarter, eating paella on La Rambla, drinking sangria at IceBarcelona next to the sea and partying at Opium for a ladies’ night event.
We made some amazing memories and all in all I can happily declare that we had no issues whatsoever: the flights were extremely cheap (around £50 return from BHX), the Airbnb was next to Sagrada Familia (about £70 for 3 nights; I suggest you stay in a location closer to the beach i.e. Gothic Quarter, La Rambla, El Raval as Sagrada Familia is more up north and it takes about 30-40 minutes walking distance to get to the more central attractions), the airport transfer was also cheap (we bought it online, about £10 to city centre and back to the airport), however the metro and food is more on the expensive side, especially if you want to indulge yourself to the most delicious traditional Catalan dishes: Pa Amb Tomaquet (Pan Con Tomate): Bread rubbed with fresh tomatoes and drizzled with oil and salt. A true Catalan staple; Escalivada: A warm side dish of grilled vegetables (normally aubergines, red peppers, onions and tomatoes) skinned and de-seeded and served with oil; Fideuas: Like a seafood paella, but served with short noodles, rather than rice; Romesco: A sauce made from almonds, roasted garlic, olive oil and dried red peppers; Alioli: A sauce made from garlic and olive oil. The ingredients are whipped up for a long time to make a white paste; Crema Catalana: Similar to the French Crème Brulée. It is made with sugar, egg yolks and cinnamon and burnt on the top; Mel I Mato: A soft, unsalted goats cheese served with honey and sometimes walnuts; Panellets: Small round sweets made with almonds, sugar, eggs and pine nuts. They can be rolled in any number of coatings, but the traditional ones are rolled in pine nuts. Moreover, if you intend to visit Barcelona soon you should also keep in mind that museums entries, the Camp Nou experience and other tourist attractions are pricey as well, so I would suggest budgeting toward some of the key attractions too as you won’t be disappointed.