Pascua en Barcelona (Day 1)

In case I have not said it enough, I love Barcelona! In my almost 3 years in Geneva, I’ve been to over 20 cities in Europe and I must say, Barcelona remains my favorite city in Europe. Maybe it is the historical and cultural link; maybe it is the gastronomic treat; maybe it is the warmness of the people; maybe because it is the combination of a big city and beach. Whatever it is, Barcelona reminds me of home.

I spent my Easter weekend this year in Barcelona. Since it was my second time to be in this lovely city, I really didn’t want to tour around – I just wanted to rest and relax. My plan was to get some sun while reading a book in Parc Guell or Montjuic, go on a food trip, and see Montserrat since I missed that one on my first visit.

It was too early… only half of my brain was working!

SwissMy flight from Geneva to Barcelona via Swiss was on Friday, 29th of March, at 7:15 am. I checked in online so, I thought leaving my apartment at 6:00 am should be enough (don’t get me wrong, I’m usually one of those who’d rather wait for 2 hrs in the airport to board than come in at the last minute but I’ve been very tired the entire week so I thought I could use more sleep). Good thing the cab arrived at 5:45 am, instead of 6:00 am, because it was total chaos in the Geneva airport. Of course, it was a long weekend! Everyone was flying out of Geneva! (What was I thinking?!) Good thing the Geneva Airport was quite prepared – at least in my opinion. Despite the extremely long queue at the security check, I got through after 15-20 minutes (with that kind of line, in the Philippines, it would’ve take me at least an hour to pass through security).

I checked the departure board and saw that the gate for the flight to Barcelona is on the other side of the world. I told myself I was okay as I had at least 40 more minutes. After 20 minutes of walking and avoiding running people, when I was about to reach the gate, a girl asked me if she was on the right gate. She showed me her ticket and it’s Barcelona, departing at 7:00 am, via… Easyjet. I thought “crap! Swiss will never depart or land in this crappy part of the airport!” I looked at the departure board again and saw that the Swiss flight to Barcelona was on the other side of the airport, which was just after the security check. Thus, I had to run all the way back, with barely 20 minutes to spare. I reached the gate just as the passengers started boarding.

Lessons learned? Do not underestimate the queues at the Geneva airport, especially during long weekends. Also, when checking the departure board, double check the airline. Lastly, no matter what happens, I need to have coffee before heading out because only half of my brain tends to work at those early hours of the morning!

The Chic Hotel

Hotel Pulitzer Barcelona
Hotel Pulitzer Barcelona

The plane landed in Barcelona at around 8:30 am but I decided to stick around in the airport because I noted that there were several flights who landed a little earlier than ours – meaning, the queue for the aerobus will be quite long. I did some window shopping, got maps and a Barcelona card at the tourism office, and stopped buy a café for my second cup of coffee. After an hour, the airport seemed to have calmed down a bit, so I left the airport (true enough, there were few people lining up for the aerobus by that time). Travel time from the airport to Plaça Catalunya (where my hotel was) was around 30 minutes.

You know you love a city when you remember every detail of it from your first visit. Though it has been almost 2 years since my first visit in Barcelona, I didn’t need a map to get to my hotel. I knew exactly where to find my hotel.

I stayed in Hotel Pulitzer – I love this hotel! Although their check-in is at 2 pm, my room was ready by 11:00 am so, they allowed me check-in early. Once in my room, I did a video call with my mom and sister then rested for a bit.

Click here to see more about my experience with Hotel Pulitzer.

My Favorite Tapas Bar

grilled veal, fried salted green peppers, and a glass of rosé - my first batch of tapas at Cerveceria Catalana
grilled veal, fried salted green peppers, and a glass of rosé – my first batch of tapas at Cerveceria Catalana

For lunch, I started walking through the street of Ramblas de Catalunya to look for the best tapas bar I went to during my last visit… and I found it! Cerveceria Catalana is my favorite tapas bar in Barcelona! Good thing I came early enough to get a table in minutes because 15 minutes after I sat down, the waiting list started getting longer.

Click here to see how my lunch went in Cerveceria Catalana.

Taking the Bus

After having lunch at my favorite tapas bar, I decided to go to Montjuic to have a panoramic view of Barcelona.  I know when people ask on the best way to go from one landmark or another; they will tell you to take the metro – because that’s the fastest and easiest. I did that the last time and I realized, that you don’t exactly see anything when you are underground! So for this trip, I decided to take the bus, instead of the metro. By taking the bus, I saw not just the touristy part of Barcelona but the other parts of Barcelona as well.

Montjuic

View of the castle courtyard in Montjuic
View of the castle courtyard in Montjuic

From Plaça Catalunya, I took bus 55 which took me up to the cable car station.

During my first visit, I went to Montjuic to see a flamenco show (and have dinner) at El Tablao de Carmen Amaya in Poble Espanyol and watched the Magic Fountain. For this visit, I took the cable car and went up to Castell de Monjuic.  You don’t necessarily need to take the cable car to go up to the castle as I found the ticket to be a bit pricy – you can walk (quite a hike though) or take bus 50.

A panoramic view of Barcelona
A panoramic view of Barcelona

As the weather was really good that afternoon, I only looked around for short time and just sat by the castle courtyard (then I eventually transferred to the park) to read a book. There weren’t so many people in the area so it was a perfect relaxing afternoon for me. After a couple of hours, I started feeling exhausted from my lack of sleep so I headed back to my hotel.

Wrapping Up My Day

A kir and a book on the roof top of Hotel Pulitzer
A kir and a book on the roof top of Hotel Pulitzer

I wrapped up my day by having a kir at the hotel’s lovely terrace. I was thinking of going out for dinner but I was too tired to leave the hotel. After relaxing at the terrace, I went back to my room and ordered a club sandwich. The food was okay but it was too big (or maybe I was just too tired) that I only finished a quarter of it. I started watching a movie from my ipad but I immediately dozed off.

It was indeed a fantastic day 1!

Up Next: For day 2, I went out of Barcelona to check out the famous Montserrat in the morning, then I went on a food trip at the Boqueria!

Ciao! (for now)

~I.

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