Choosing hostels to stay in while traveling abroad can become a hassle. Hostelworld.com ended up being my go-to website during the past five months and that is how I came across The Black Swan. The rating was great – understandably – as was the staff and location. In addition to offering paella and sangria making classes, they offered free dinner on certain days and free breakfast everyday. Not to mention it was a clean and friendly atmosphere. Of course, not all hostels and Airbnbs are up to par with their online reviews, but fortunately The Black Swan was much more than what I had expected.
Free breakfast came in handy when Ben and I dragged ourselves out of bed our second day in Barcelona. Adrianna and Kelly refused to wake up – we did have a crazy first night after all – and mumbled that they would meet us out in the city later in the day. Since we managed to pack most of our stuff in Ben’s Filson shoulder bag, we didn’t have to leave much at the hotel. We went downstairs to munch on pancakes and cereal before heading out into the city for brunch and a day of sightseeing. Prior to traveling to a new place, I usually look up at least one restaurant that I want to try out. For Barcelona, this was Brunch & Cake.
Anyone on Instagram following food and travel feeds has most likely come across photos of these incredibly beautiful brunch plates and drinks. Not only did Brunch & Cake serve artistic dishes, they were also healthy and definitely what I was craving after a long night out. For such a popular brunch place the wait wasn’t too long. We were seated inside and I ordered brie and strawberry mini baguettes with a salad full of spinach, tomatoes, fried eggs and pears. It was incredible. I tasted Ben’s pretzel baguette with homemade guacamole, chicken and chips and it was delicious as well.
The ingredients were inevitably fresh and the chefs knew what they were doing putting the different flavors together. We ordered a Nutella pancake as a starter, before realizing the size of our main dishes, but it was a yummy decision – they incorporated a whipped Nutella mousse onto the pancake and surrounded it with adorable edible flowers. Yum!
Full and happy we started the forty-minute walk to La Sagrada Familia. From a distance the cathedral looks like a gingerbread palace, but when you are close enough to see the incredible detail adorning the outside you realize that what you are about to walk into is something that will make the trip to Barcelona special.
Antoni Gaudi began the construction of the masterpiece in 1882. 133 years later, it is still under construction but looks absolutely out of this world. Rumor has it that there are only 11 years left until it is deemed complete, but I believe that this is one of those masterpieces where artists will continue to add to it infinitely.
To me personally, what made visiting La Sagrada Familia such a surreal experience was the modern and quirky personality that Gaudi put into it and the mastery with which he used the light from the stained glass windows. Through the angle the sunlight hit the windows, the entire cathedral basked in the glory of the bright colored lights that hit the floor, pews, altar and architecture, which made the cathedral something more than just a church. I spent a good amount of time inside, sitting on a pew and wondering how someone could have created such an astonishing place, playing up natural light and beauty.
After sitting in awe for a while, the four of us decided to head over to the playa and find a spot for dinner. Though most of our group had no recollection of this, we ended up eating dinner at the same place we had gone clubbing the night prior.
Pacha Barcelona was located right on the beach, and we sat looking out at the palm trees and beautiful blue ocean. It was too chilly to go in the water, but it was lovely to eat next to. We had paella and sangria again, and it was of course delicious.
Stay Classy! xx