I’m going to be honest, I’ve been a little bit nervous to post this blog, because it’s my first one that isn’t a glowing review of a city. However it is my blog so it makes sense to talk about my own experience!
So hear goes. Sorry in advance if you love Spain like most of the human population does.
You know a good way to slightly ruin a city you’ve never been to? Super high expectations.
We headed to Spain with nothing but the highest expectations, thanks to everyone we know and their dogs telling us San Sebastián and Barcelona were their ‘ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE cities in Europe oh my god so jealous you’re going there you will loveeee it!’
Let’s get one thing clear; I’ll probably go back to Spain, but unfortunately our experience was average, due largely to the fact that tourists were clearly not welcome in either of the places we went.
We found out locals are being kicked out of their homes to make way for Airbnbs for tourists, so of course I can sympathise from that side, and the reception wasn’t warm.
I stick out of the crowd as the most touristy looking person ever in places like Spain; thanks to my hair colour and my delightful pale Melbourne winter skin, so the locals didn’t give us much (one guy spat at us, that was nice, and another yelled something in Spanish which we later translated to something not very friendly while we walked our suitcases to the train station), but we soldiered on and tried to enjoy the city.
San Sebastián was our first stop of Spain, and it consisted of a whole lot of tapas (the ones with the meat and cheese on the little piece of bread are a clear favourite) and a massive walking day up viewpoints and along a very packed La Concha beach.
I actually really loved the look of San Sebastián, and there was no shortage of places to eat and drink. We also found this great bar along the river where we spent hours people/dog watching over glasses of sangria. Sangria is another great thing about Spain, I don’t even like wine but that stuff tasted like the tears of baby Jesus, especially when served ice cold on a hot day.
Just chucking in this delicious sunset we got flying from Faro to San Sebastián via Madrid. So juicy.
After a couple of nights in San Sebastián , we headed to the bustling Barcelona. It was hectic. So so so so many people bumping into each other, people trying to sell tacky souvenirs everywhere, hosts trying to get you into their restaurants, and on top of all the nonsense, it was HOT.
We were staying just off La Ramblas, which is the central point of Barcelona, so the upside was it was easy to get everywhere we needed to be thanks to the handy location and a fantastic metro system.
Days were spent exploring the streets, doing free walking tours (we did ours through Sandemans, it was okay but our guide was possibly on drugs??), eating tasty food, going to La Boqueria Mercat- which was my favourite place- about 6 times a day for prosciutto in a cup and cheap freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, a hop on hop off bus tour of the entire city which we loved, checking out Park Guell and some of Gaudi’s beautiful work, more sangria, a tapas tour where I accidentally spent too much on drinks and we got drunk and met some great people, and best of all- discovering Nutella and Kinder flavoured gelato. Now this was a real game changer. If a gelato shop doesn’t have these flavours on offer, we must move on to the next one.
There is obviously no shortage of things to do in Spain, I think sadly we just went at a bad time where tourists were becoming a strain on the city, but I’m so glad everyone else loves it, gives me inspiration to try it again one day!