Oh, Barcelona

La Sagrada Famillia, Barcelona

I was introduced to her a few years ago and was blown away by her beauty, she had a charisma I’d never experienced before, an effortlessly cool vibe.

She introduced me to architecture by Gaudi and paintings by Picasso, I spent days wandering the many cobbled streets, sun on my face, eyes open in awe. I felt in the strangest of ways that I was home.

Now I eagerly await my return, soaking up Spanish words and phrases; my tongue loves to twist its way through the different vowels and sounds.

I look forward to playing with her down Las Ramblas, and relaxing with a coffee in L’Eixample District, maybe in the afternoons I’d laze under the warm sun with her in Guell park.

I think I left my heart in Barcelona. xo

Madrid

A few weeks ago my very generous fiance treated me to a trip to Madrid for my birthday. It was also a great opportunity to spend some quality time together away from the wedding planning chaos that has taken over these past few months. We called it our ‘pre-moon’ holiday and it was every bit as lovely and romantic as I’m sure our actual honeymoon will be in just 5 months time. We’re thinking Edinburgh or Paris at the moment.

For anyone considering a trip to Madrid, I thought I’d post a few details about our experience there in an attempt to encourage you to visit such an interesting city…. all pictures taken by me on my phone so apologies in advance!

When to go and where to stay…

We got a good deal through the online travel company www.lastminute.com, where we booked at the end of July and flew out 5th September for 5 nights, costing just shy of £500 for the two of us. I think we hit the jackpot with our hotel, ME Madrid Reina Victoria a 5* hotel in the bustling square of the  Plaza de Santa Ana, a great area full of tapas bars and restaurants plus a theatre.  (When we were there, there was an incredible orchestra practicing outside for everyone to enjoy.)   The hotel was pretty much perfect, smack bang in the middle of the city, within walking distance to all the main tourist attractions and minutes from the nearest metro stop.

Me Madrid Reina Victoria, all lit up at night

 The hotel itself was gorgeous and very modern with excellent staff. Good customer service makes all the difference doesn’t it? There were some pretty nifty features in our room including a massage shower with water jets- a godsend after a long day sightseeing and a light feature called ‘sexy time’ which gave the room a purple glow.

The Reina Victoria also has an amazing restaurant called Midnight Rose and a rooftop bar called The Penthouse, which seems quite the place to be seen for the local residents judging by the queue to enter; they do a mean mohito for sure!

Things to do…

There was a lot to see and do here, so I’ll mention the highlights of the trip.

1. Museo De Prado – A fantastic museum housing one of the largest classical art collection I’ve seen. You could easily spend days wandering around to view it all. *Tip* If you visit after 6 on weeknights it’s free entry.

2. Reina Sofia – For me this was my favourite part of the trip. Reina Sofia is a contemporary arts museum housing the works of infamous artists such as Dali and Picasso. Currently it’s home to Picasso’s Guernica. A masterpiece of modern art and surprisingly moving when you stand before it.

3. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu– The home of the football club, Real Madrid. I did this tour mainly for my footie mad other half, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Especially the trophy room, all that pomp!

4. Retina park – This sprawling park was once owned by the Spanish Royal family. It has beautiful landscaped gardens, a lake where you can hire a boat and bob along peacefully under the bright blue sky and entertaining street performers. We visited the park frequently and spent our last day picnicking on the grass watching the world pass by.

I’ll return one day…

I loved the architecture, every building had its own history and they were beautiful.

Plus I loved the weather….

and the vibrant nightlife…

So whetted your appetite yet?

If anyone has any recommendations on Paris or Edinburgh to share, I’d be most grateful, may help me make up my mind on where to book next. X

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