Traveling Solo – Barcelona
At this point in my trip, I had become a mini genius traveling solo, and an expert partying all day and night!! A detox was necessary, but not until I devoured the city of BARCCAAAA!!!!! What happens in Barcelona, comes alive in this post!!
Where I visited and stayed:
I arrived Barcelona at 9pm. I took the local bus from the airport to the city center, then took a taxi to the hotel. I was actually looking forward to my trip to Barcelona because I had booked two nights at the W Barcelona. I was getting ready to be pampered by my favorite hotel chain. I loved the W Barcelona; it was the perfect place for me to relax and unwind in the middle of my backpacking trip. It has a really nice rooftop bar (they have the best rooftop parties on Sundays, the last rooftop party is the end of September, don’t miss it). Tip: when backpacking for an extended period, you may want to book 1 o r 2 nights at a hotel, to get pampered and have some ME time.
I had an amazing view of the city and the beach from my room (I really wish I could have captured it better). Although, I loved the hotel and the ambiance, I just didn’t enjoy staying there alone. After one day at the hotel, I felt really bored (hotel stays are usually better with a group). I needed to meet new people in Barcelona and staying in a hotel wasn’t the best place for that (I had become a “meet new people” addict LOL). So I canceled my reservation and booked a night at this hostel called San Jordi (German roomies in Madrid told me about it).
San Jordi was a nice hostel, very friendly and helpful staff, decently clean and safe, and most importantly a “party hostel”. If you want to party in Barcelona, please stay here. They didn’t have any female only rooms so I ended up staying in a room with a guy ( from Chicago) and a girl ( from Texas). After a night at San Jordi, I moved to Christopher’s Inn, another hostel in Barcelona. This was closer to Las Ramblas, the main tourist street. It was very clean and safe, the staff is also very helpful. The beds are designed so you have your own space, you get a lil more privacy. It is not much of a party hostel, but they have a nice bar at the hostel called Belushi’s, and they have happy hour for hostel residents.
My one day trip to Paris was good. Initially I didn’t like Paris because it reminded me so much of NYC – that no one really cares about you feel. They didn’t even try to communicate in English. Thank God I understand french, so I was able to get by. I stayed at Christopher’s Inn Paris Hostel ( it’s a chain, and they have really good hostels). The staff here was really friendly and helpful. They showed be the train station and how I could get around. Christopher’s Inn is pretty much the same everywhere.
How I spent my days:
I’m really really trying to remember how I spent my days in Barcelona. I think the only thing I remember was partying all night and sleeping during the day for the 4days I was there (please excuse my non touristy pictures, at this point, everything was a blur – I promise to do better). My entire post will be very blurry, because my days in Barca were just that *wink*. My first night in Barcelona, I chilled at the hotel, went to the rooftop bar (you get a free drink at the bar if you are an SPG member), came back to my room and slept in.
The next day, I washed my hair, did some fancy stuff to it so I could look pretty for night time :). Day 2 in Barca; I packed my bag and headed out to the hostel. I had this weird pain in my stomach that got me so freaked out because I was in so much pain. Everyone at the hostel was pretty nice when they heard I was sick. I started looking for Ibuprofen. Luckily for me a very kind American gave me some Advil. I was so glad it was Advil, cos I’m very paranoid about any kind of Ibuprofen. Some guy from NY who was a doctor advised me to rest for the night.
In my mind I’m like “stay in??, heck no, I’m going out, pain or not”….. At about 10pm, everyone started getting ready to go out. I got ready too and they were like, “You should get some rest, are you sure you want to go out?” I said YES, You Only Live Once (so foolish for that LOL). They started calling me a trooper!! And some guys were like, yeah you probably need to go out and then you’d feel better. As you may have it, after a couple of hours out, I was feeling great. Apparently, I was suffering from “a normal day” syndrome. I needed a wild day to be normal again :).
The night life in Barca is just terrific. We went pub crawling as a group – the hostel staff took us to 2 bars to pregame and 2 clubs after – this was the routine every night. Yup we pregame at 11pm, because the clubs don’t get busy till about 4-5am. I really wish I could remember the places I went to my 2nd night in Barcelona, I remember getting on the train to go out and heading to this nice beach bar, then to the next bar, then to the club, then to the house. Oh I remember them playing Nigerian music and I was so hypedd!!! Everyone knew I was Nigerian from that point. I don’t remember much but I remember waking up in the morning tired as heck (Sunglasses and Advil kinda day)
Day 3 in Barca; I moved hostels to Christopher’s Inn. I met this very nice girl from Atlanta, Georgia, we added each other on Facebook. It was a very cool place but I enjoyed the feel at San Jordi more, I ended up visiting San Jordi everyday. I had made a lot of friends there. A lot from the US – California, Chicago, Texas and New York, then London, Australia (love my Aussies), and Algeria. Some folks I met the night before were leaving to their next destination, everyone was backpacking.
Most of us were really on a Sunglasses and Advil p that morning, so we just stayed in the lounge and started talking about the night before and getting to know each other better. One amazing thing about traveling you quickly learn is that human being around the world are the same, just in different geographical locations, shaped by different cultures and beliefs. For the most part a lot of people you meet have similar stories and experiences in their normal life.
Myself and two guys from NY went to get lunch before one of the guys headed to Amsterdam. It was pretty cool, we had Paellas, Pasta, and Sangria for about 10euros. I spent Day 3 walking around downtown with a buddy from the hostel. We were supposed to join the free walking tour but we got lost trying to navigate to the start location, so we ended up doing our own tour of the city. We visited Antoni Gaudi’s building Casa Batllo (I love his Architectural Style and color play; this man has the best Architecture in Spain) on Passeig de Gràcia, walked around Passeig de Gracia and Las Ramblas, walked the little corner shops and roads. It was very beautiful. Later in the evening, we came back to take a nap – getting ready for night 3.
My texan roomie went scooter riding in the city. I wish I had gone with her but I went out with some other folks touring the city. I had a lot of sight seeing actitivies planned but I didn’t make them, ‘cos I spent half my day sleeping :(. I decided that I’d do some major city tours on Day 4 – Sagrada Familia, Montjuic, and Picasso. Day 3 at night, we continued with the same routine, new folks had come from all over the world, repeat of night 2, but even crazier.
We all ordered this huge jar of Sangria. This was how it started (I didn’t know Sangria could have this effect on people, only in Barcelona). Let’s just say the night was a good one. We went to some nice bars on the beach then headed to the beach club. I quickly made friends with this gorgeous girl from Algeria. We realized we had a lot in common, and we just bonded immediately (yes we still talk, we plan on taking another Euro trip together).
I really wish I could remember the name of the places we went to. All I remember seeing was lights, humans, the beach and then my bed (this was about 7am). I remember messaging my friend in the US, and she stayed on the phone till I got to my room. Not sure what happened in between all that, but somehow I made it :). Tip: When I travel and I’m going out, especially at night, I don’t usually take my phone or camera because people steal a lot. Be very careful when you travel, always have a cross-body bag, it’s easier to manage. A lot of people lost their phones and cameras.
I woke up to Day4, Thank you Lord!! It was raining like crazy, my plan of sightseeing was obviously shattered. Anyways, I went from my hostel to San Jordi hostel to meet my Algerian friend since we had planned to go sight seeing today (I finally used the umbrella I got in Milan). Everyone at San Jordi was still sleeping, this was about 2pm hahah….pretty much wasted!! We headed out to go find food and do some sightseeing under the rain.
We walked around Las Ramblas, went to this really nice restaurant, ate and drank (water lol). We planned to visit Sagrada Familia and Picasso Museum. We ended up only going to see Picasso’s work ( a must visit museum, we paid about 6euros to get in, they have a free day on Sunday). It was raining hard and already getting late, most tourist sites were closing. Around 7pm, we went to get some Thai food from Wok to Walk. I really love that place. Anytime I go to Europe, it is my favorite place to get fast food.
We decided we were going to take a nap, then I’d go meet up the group at San Jordi for one last night of fun before leaving Barcelona. I ended up taking a nap till 2am. I didn’t go out that night, I missed the group. I was really sad about this because I didn’t get to say my final goodbyes to all the cool people I met, but my body was too tired to do anything at this point. I needed to rest. The next morning, I stopped by San Jordi hostel before heading to the airport to leave my email address so people could contact me. My vacation was gradually coming to an end. I had 2 more days before heading back to NYC. My next stop was famous Paris.
I got to Paris at about 2pm. I took the train from CDG airport to my hostel. After settling in, I decided to go sight seeing since I had 1 day in Paris. I took the train to Champs Elysee, walked down the street with the intention of window shopping, but I somehow ended up actually shopping. My opinion of Paris changed at this point when I immersed myself in the shopping life. I loved it!!
I kept walking around till I got to the Eiffel Tower. Word of Advice: Do not get to the Eiffel Tower early, you’d stand in line either way, get there like 2 hours before they close, so you won’t have to wait for long. Especially when it’s cold. It was freezing in Paris. I came from Barcelona where it was warmer. I loved the view from the tower (great place to get the perfect view of the city). To me, a visit to the Eiffel Tower is overrated, as with many other touristy things I guess. After freezing for about 4 hours standing in line, I finally got to the top of the tower. It costs about 14 Euros to get in.
After a long cold day, I was craving Thai food. I hadn’t had spicy food in so long. I started looking for a Thai Restaurant. I bumped into this nice Thai restaurant and that was my dinner. The food here was amazing!!
I had so many random moments on my trip. I remember being stopped by this random couple who was fascinated by me and wanted to take a picture with this Exotic Nigerian girl traveling alone. We smiled for the cameras after exchanging pleasantries in French.
After dinner, I headed back to the hostel via train, took a nice warm shower, set my alarm and zzzzzz, I was asleep. I had a morning flight out of Paris to NYC.
I headed to the airport via train (that wasn’t a good idea, that is what I get trying to be cheap). It took me more than an hour to get to the airport and I almost missed my flight -Thank God I didn’t. This is one day Delta Sky Priority access definitely paid off!! I settled in on the plane and off I was on the plane back to NYC!!
My Euro Trip was over. I didn’t want it to end, though I missed my semi normal life in NYC. It’s back to reality till my next trip.
Bye Europe, See you again in 2013!!