Last week, I shared with you a breakdown of my 12 days, 5 cities, Spain trip through EF Ultimate Break. Today, I am sharing with you our first stop of the trip: Barcelona.
When we arrived at the airport in Barcelona, we were immediately greeted by our tour director, Jaime and the rest of the tour group who also flew in on the same day. I'm telling you, EF Ultimate Break is the real deal. As soon as Jaime got our headcount, we immediately stepped outside of the airport as a group and loaded ourselves into a tour bus. I was very impressed with the bus driver's ability to fit a tour bus in very tight streets as you would see all over Europe.
Our first stop: Casa Gracia Barcelona, located on the most expensive street in all of Barcelona. Casa Gracia is a hostel and to be completely honest, I didn't know what to expect because I've never stayed in a hostel before. After waiting for 40 something people, we finally received our assigned rooms. I personally shared a room with 5 other girls. 5 other girls with very different personalities and at first, I was a little apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. Our rooms had 6 single beds total, columns like you would see in palaces, a shower/restroom for all of us to share, but still enough space for us to run around without bumping into each other. Overall, the room definitely felt very luxurious. We also had housekeeping during the duration of our stay.
If you’re interested, check out their website HERE.
The rest of the afternoon/night was spent getting over jetlag and a walking tour to see the amazing architecture of Catedral de Barcelona (Barcelona Cathedral). After exploring the area, we walked our way to our WELCOME MIXER and I totally don't remember what it was called.
Due to Spain's siesta (afternoon rest/nap), dinner is usually very late and consists of courses. At our welcome mixer, we were offered wine, water or sangria, appetizers, a main course and dessert. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was light, yet fun. It was a great way to relax after an international flight, but it also allowed us to get to know the people who were in our tour.
We finished off the night at a local bar called Dow Jones Bar where we treated the drinks as stock (money). I was able to buy a beer for less than 1 euro. To this day, this is still one of the coolest bars I’ve ever visited.
The next day was absolutely terrible. The jetlag finally kicked in a little harder and we only slept 2 hours (because we were up all night drinking), so S/O to EF for putting us in a hostel that served complimentary breakfast. Hmm, chocolate croissants (where my addiction started lol) and fresh squeezed orange juice and not to mention, the ability to take coffee to-go in a very cute cup.
After breakfast, we were picked up by our tour bus in front of our hostel and were taken to the gothic quarters. If you know art, you know that Antoni Gaudi is a big deal around Spain. Gaudi's work is all over Barcelona.
We visited Parque Guell, saw Gaudi’s house from a distance and I was astonished by all the detail surrounding us.
We also visited Sagrada Familia which was a lifelong dream of mine. It was more than I ever imagined even with all the construction. It really looks like a melted candle and the intricate details tell a story of the Creation all the way to Resurrection.
We eventually finished our day tour at La Boqueria off of Las Ramblas where I gained heart eyes for all the fruits, vegetables and local produce. It was so colorful, I was excited the entire time!
We rode a bus to far, far away land. Just kidding, but seriously though, far enough to see the mountains separating Spain and France! We spent the day exploring Salvador Dali’s museum (where he’s buried!) and spent the rest of the day at one of the best beaches I’ve ever been to: Tossa De Mar, Costa Brava.
Tossa De Mar, Costa Brava is a municipality in Catalonia, Spain. Right at the edge of the Mediterranean is a castle, where you can walk up to (for free) and get an amazing view of the sea.
P.S. They serve amazing cava at the the very top of the castle! I highly recommend!
The first 3 days were definitely packed and exhausting, but I would not trade it for anything else in the world.
Stay tuned, our next stop will be Madrid, Spain!