Tapas, Sun & Sightseeing

A few months ago my mum was diagnosed as being Vitamin D deficient, and so was told – ‘Go get some sun!’ by the doctor. She asked me if I’d accompany her on a little trip to Spain, and of course I said yes!

Our main aim for the getaway was to relax in the sun, however we did decide to do a couple of excursions. We were staying just south of Barcelona, and had planned to take a trip up to the city, I was particularly looking forward to this as it’s a city I’ve wanted to visit for a long while.

The weather forecast for the town we were staying in wasn’t particularly great for our second day {gutted!} and Barcelona looked beautiful so that was the day we decided to venture out. Mum speaks French very well however doesn’t really have any experience in the spanish language, so accompanied with a phrase book we set off to the train station, a short walk away, to catch the train into the city. Between us we successfully bought 2 return tickets on the train from the mischievous ticket conductor and settled into the journey, the train left at around 08.30 and we arrived into Barcelona just before 10.30. It was quite a long train ride however it was the perfect opportunity to squeeze in a nap, the previous day we’d had a 4.30am start, with a late-ish night and another early start.

Coming out of the underground station and up into the heat of the city the first thing we were greeted with was the Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera or “The stone quarry”, a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance, is a modernist building in Barcelona. Designed by the famous spanish architect Antoni Gaudí; the first thing that struck me was the immense amount of colour in his design. It was this that quickly informed my opinion that Barcelona would be a very colourful and vibrant city {I wasn’t wrong}!

We then headed along the streets amongst the Monday morning hustle and bustle to our first planned ‘tourist sight seeing’ spot, Sagrada Família, another Gaudí-designed landmark, this time a church renowned for being his ‘unfinished church’, started in the 1880s. It soon came into view, and I, forgetting this well known fact said “Oh it’s such a shame we’ve come while there’s scaffolding up!” Cue mum’s laughter and a gentle reminder that this is partly why it’s so famous, a landmark still unfinished after over 100 years of building. Despite the scaffolding there was still a lot of beauty to be found in this beautiful building.
Before taking a proper look around the Sagrada, we found a cute little coffee shop just on the corner with a perfect view of the church. A coffee for mum, tea for me and a chocolate croissant to share.

After our pit stop we did a complete circle of the outside of the church, deciding not to queue up to go inside but to make the most of the glorious sunshine instead.

Here’s a couple of example of the incredible design and craftsmanship that has gone into this beauty! (oh and note that my mum turned into the photographer, taking holiday snaps for other people!)

We then started a walk up to Park Güell to check out more of Gaudí’s work, it was a looooong old walk, uphill. Thankfully we had water and fruit to keep us hydrated!
Frustratingly when we got there, the next entrance to the mosaic sculptures and buildings wasn’t until 5pm, but a walk around the park was on the cards, so we decided to book in for 5pm, have a wander around the rest of the park and come back later on.

There were musicians dotted around the park playing traditional music, beautiful plants, cleverly stone carved walks and stunning views of the city.

After enjoying the sun and panoramic views we headed back down into the city centre.

We took a stroll along La Rambla,  I’m sure you’ll all be aware of this famous street in the centre of the city, popular with tourists and locals alike. A tree-lined pedestrian mall, it stretches for 1.2 kilometres connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Sadly it was thrust into the public eye after the atrocious terror attack there back in 2017, it was horrible to think back to the devestation caused that day. I thought about how everyone was enjoying themselves in the sun, looking at the markets, enjoing a drink out in the terraced eating & drinking areas, or simply walking from A – B as we were, but that on that day all that was suddenly interupted in such a tragic way.

You can see the physical effects of that attack, large concrete blocks strategically in place, which is now a common sight in most major cities, however the spirit of the people who live, work and visit the area has not had a lasting impact – certainly not to the tourist eye. It’s still bustling, vibrant and happy.

The Cathedral was also a piece of craftsman ship to be admired, walking through the gothic section of the city without really referring to our map for guidance we came across some lovely buildings and then the cathedral – which seemed to just appear out of nowhere! The front main entrance is set in a lovely square with trees, cafe’s and shops surrounding it.

A little further along and we reached the harbour, where we sat having an ice-cream (& I had to follow in my dad’s footsteps and pose for a daft photo with the statues who were placed looking out to see – see iPhone photo below).

After we’d finished our ice creams we did the long walk back up to Park Güel for our time slot to visit the mosaic part of the park. This is where Barcelona really began to show off its colourful artistry. And I loved it!!

31 thousand steps later and we were back at our hotel, with achy calves and sore feet, but with big smiles and a succesful day out!

The next day we were so ready for some chill out time by the pool, so that’s exactly what we did.

The following day, after some rest and relaxation, we headed out on our second excursion to the medieval city of Tarragona. Equally as beautiful as Barcelona but in that ancient, warm, historical way, contrasting with the colourful, moderness of the big city.

We wandered freely, taking in the sights of the sea, the amphitheatre, the cathedral and the other beautiful buildings within the ancient city walls.

We wandered for several hours, eventually stopping at a cafe called Urban, for some lunch. Since we were in Spain we thought it only right that we ordered tapas! It was a really cute little lunch spot, with lovely service.

Once we’d finished our tapas, we got back on the bus and headed back to our hotel. The late afternoon into early evening was spent, again, by the pool, reading by the pool.
This was our last evening here, so we enjoyed ourselves with a few cocktails and a bottle of wine, playing several different games with a pack of cards.
Our last day we walked all the way along the coast to the next town of Cambrils and back again, where we stopped for a delicious lunch at the same place we went to when we first arrived.

So thank you to my mum for bringing me along, and spending a wonderful few days together for some mother/daughter time in the sun.
Here’s a couple of silly selfie’s of us having far too much fun!

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