Oh Barcelona. The dreamiest of weeks even without the fairy-tale ending. I’ve never been to Barcelona before, even though I studied Spanish at university and lived in Murcia in the south of Spain for a whole year. I’ve been banging on about wanting to go for years and so one evening in April while I was casually looking at flights to various destinations I found some super cheap ones for the middle of August. To my surprise Fraser said ‘shall we just book it?’ and that was that! The major plus was that the flights were with British Airways – result.
I am one of those people who could never do inter-railing or live out of a backpack – the stress of not knowing where I’d be sleeping that night or what city I’ll be in tomorrow is too much for me. I think I’m spontaneous in other parts of my life, just not travelling – it scares the hell out of me. Plus, call me a prude, but I’d rather stay in a chic hotel than share a dorm with strangers in a hostel. So as soon as we’d booked our flights I got searching for a hotel and started booking tickets to all the major sites so we could get cheaper entrance and avoid all those tourist queues – this totally converted our trip and I would definitely recommend doing this.
We only took hand luggage but thankfully BA’s 23kg allowance (?!) and the rolling technique which has seriously revolutionised packing for me, I strolled through security without a worry. Fraser on the hand, unbeknownst to me, had beads of sweat on his forehead as the ring was tucked into his t-shirts and he thought that he might have to propose in Gatwick airport if his bag was checked. Luckily, all was good and we sailed on through to duty free where Fraser had the genius idea of buying a rucksack to carry around with us because all I had was a small day bag with me. I thought he was being super savvy because of all the horror stories about pickpockets in Barcelona but no, what he really wanted to do was have somewhere to put the ring instead of carrying it out of its box in his pocket for a week.
As soon as we arrived in the heart of the city I knew I was going to love it; the architecture, the atmosphere and most of all the sun. I am a total sun baby so I could not have been happier to see the forecast in the mid-30s. We spent the whole week visiting sites like the Sagrada Familia (which you must go inside – it is just beautiful), Casa Batlló, Park Guell, Mercat de Boqueria and La Rambla. At the end of the week we counted up on Fraser’s Fitbit that we had walked a total of 77 miles – I think that deserves a medal.
The food was incredible. Again, I had made reservations in advance to guarantee a table at the restaurants we knew we wanted to visit and had the advantage of asking to be put on a table with good views. We ate at:
El Nacional – delicious fish and the best atmosphere. It’s worth going for the décor alone.
Barraca – situated on Barceloneta beach and we were given a table that looked out to sea. The paella was good but not the best of the week.
La Boqueria – this place is tucked away on La Rambla and so worth a visit. The paella was so so tasty and the tapas were yummy as hell
Brunch & Cake – not very Spanish sounding I know, but the queue outside the restaurant snaked halfway down the street, which speaks for the quality and popularity of the food. Fraser had Nutella pancakes which were stacked up so high that they practically made a full-sized cake. And it was b.e.a.u.tiful. A super insta-worthy exterior too which gets a thumbs up from me.
Surf House – Fraser claims this was the best burger he has ever eaten. It had a fried egg, crispy straw potatoes and truffle mayo. I mean, I’m drooling just typing it. It was called ‘infarto’ which means heart attack but who’s counting calories on holiday? I went for a salad and although it was delicious, I regretted my decision when I saw his food come out. Sangria was great though. (The food was so good we ate it all before I could take any pictures so here are some of other foodie bits from our week).
Accés – probably the most high-end of our meals but my god, we ate so well. I had booked this to fall on our final night in Barcelona, little did I know that it would become a celebratory dinner! The food was out of this world – Fraser’s lemon meringue pie was the best we’ve ever tasted (I obviously had to try it).
Anyway, now for the good bit. On the Sunday, the hottest day yet, we had a lazy morning because our feet were still aching from all the walking the day before but decided to grab the cable car up to Montjuic in the after brunch. Castell de Montjuic lives up there, a military fortress with stunning views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Fraser had mentioned wanting to spend the day up there and come back down after sunset which I thought was a lovely idea, we could find a supermarket, buy bits for a picnic and have a late lunch in the grounds overlooking the city. Except, the only thing on Montjuic is the castle and nothing else. No shops, no supermarkets and the one restaurant that was there was closed. I could tell Fraser was a bit annoyed about this but I put this down to the fact he needs at least 3 meals a day or he gets a serious case of ‘hanger’. I later on found out that he wanted to propose up there with the sun setting – super romantic idea but his tummy rumbling messed ground this idea to a halt. Reluctantly, after what had been a lovely afternoon, we decided to get the cable car back down to the city.
Fraser told me that it had crossed his mind to jump into an empty cable car and propose on our descent which still had the most beautiful views but his plans were scuppered when, at the last minute, a German family of 4 jumped in the cable car with us. All the while, I was just trying to get a perfect instagrammable picture and completely none the wiser.
We went back to our hotel to freshen up and decided to eat somewhere along the beach and a couple of nights ago I had spotted a restaurant called ‘Surf House’ that was full and looked like it had a great atmosphere. We were in luck when they had a table for two and went on to have a scrumptious meal when Fraser suggested we go for a stroll along the beach afterwards. I wasn’t about to decline as having my feet in the sand is my happy place.
We were laughing and enjoying ourselves when Fraser stopped and said ‘I have a confession to make – I’ve been lying to you’. Now, I don’t know about you guys and your other halves but typical me, I immediately went into ‘oh what have you done now?’ mode. He reached into the rucksack and pulled out the box. Cue floods and floods of tears. I think this totally stumped Fraser, I’m sure he thought I would cry at some point but he hadn’t even said anything yet and I was crying like a baby. After his little speech he got down on one knee and opened it and I died there and then and went to heaven for a split second.
We’ve been together for so long, I’ve bored him with endless tales about the events I’ve attended and the posts I’ve written about weddings, shown him numerous pictures of things I like and asked him his opinion on particular flower arrangements and finally, the moment I have literally been dreaming and talking about for years was happening.
It was just the most incredible evening, I’ve never felt so happy in all my life and I’m pretty sure that the only words I could form for about an hour were ‘oh my god’. He did have to check with me that it was a yes because he couldn’t make it out from all the blubbering but on the 19th August 2018 I officially became engaged to the love of my life.
Wow. That was a long one but I got chills reliving it all as I typed. I love having this space where I work but can also share with you my own personal journey and I hope you want to join me on the ride!
Next you get to meet my Bride Tribe!