Exploring….it’s what we do best. It has become the main part of life here in Barcelona and I do have a brief moment almost everyday when I think about how hard it will be to go back to work. BUT not to worry, I quickly put that thought aside because 1. There are many more things I need to be exploring and 2. I’m still hoping that I’ll get sponsored to keep traveling by Patagonia or some travel agency and then the dream would keep on living. So….here’s to keeping the dream alive.
Planning it out
Exploring in Barcelona is a little different than our volunteering time spent in Central America and like anything new and exciting, I had to sit down and make a game plan.
So…here’s what “we” did (and when I say “we”, I mean my over-planning, organizational, make a list for everything just so I can cross things off said list, self) ….. so again the best thing that “we” did, was make a Google Maps that was complete with a starred list of places “we” really wanted to go. How did “we” do this you ask?!?!
Well first, I took a list of the top 100 things to do/see in Barcelona found on a trillion different websites online, or look here, and added activities we personally wanted to do, as well as recommendations from friends. We combined all said items into a fairly long list of “Things WE WANT to do in Barcelona”. The “we want” is very important because out of the list of 100, we chose maybe 55 things that actually interested us… because frankly riding the crowded gondola to a vista point… wasn’t high on the priority list…
Then, I started to check the items that were vague such as “eat churros and chocolate, eat tapas, drink cava”. I then researched the best places to do the checked vague items that were on my list and wrote those places down as well.
Next, drumroll please… because if you weren’t excited by the masterpiece of planning you have read about yet… you’re about to be……. I started finding them on Google Maps and starring them. Boom. Not impressed? Keep reading.
The best thing about this technique is that Google Maps saves the map as long as you open it when you have wifi. So even if you’re like us (broke) and refuse to get data and are walking around all day without wifi, you still have a complete map of everywhere you want to go, at your fingertips!
Now a couple other reasons this map was helpful.
We could cross multiple items off the list in one outing because we could see what places were around each other (insert sigh of happiness here).
Also, because I love crossing items off the list and exploring, it helped us map out the explorer days and helped us get to know the lay of the land.
Not only would I recommend this method for Barcelona but anywhere that you plan on staying longer than a week and plan to check out everything. I know I plan on continuing this method of madness for the next few places we visit (get excited Mom, Dad, Amanda, Hunter, Rachel, Masha, Jake and whoever else decides to join this epic journey… I know the list will be MUCH longer now that you all know how exciting my list-making skills are 😉
So after the week and a half adjustment period it took us to get over our jetlag (I like to call this time “the dark ages”, because we slept all the time) our day to day life generally looks like this…
We wake up and go on a run (hopefully…if you know… motivation and the weather conditions are just absolutely PERFECT). Then we come home, take a shower, cook some ham and cheese sandwiches, sip some coffee and decide what we want to cross off the list that day. We then make a game plan, full with restaurants/cafes we want to hit up… museums/parks we want to visit or neighborhoods worth exploring. We then spend the majority of our day walking/exploring those main events. When the sun starts to set we either decide to stay in and cook something at home or try out a new restaurant. If we eat in, we jump from bakery to charcuterie to small market trying to find the perfect baguette, cheese, meat and vegetables that will be good enough for Chef Daniel to cook. We grab a two dollar bottle of wine and prepare for the adventure in the kitchen. If we go out, then we generally walk to a new district, find a restaurant at 8 or 9, grab a bite and afterwards find a cute little wine bar to have a drink at and head back home.
Then, we wake up and do it all again… not the worst way to spend a couple months in a new city and a pretty cool way to experience one of the most sought after places to travel and live in the world.
Mondays and Thursdays I have Spanish class in the mornings and some nights we head out to big events like fútbol/basketball games or concerts/shows but all in all it pretty much looks like this. Sometimes we just find a cafe and read, research or practice Spanish..but overall the days are relaxing and quite enjoyable.
Next week our friend Jacob arrives and we spend a couple of days in Barca with him and then we all head to Sweden to freeze and enjoy looking at really good looking Nordic people. 🙂
Then our month of travel continues and we head to Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Italy all within the shortest month of the year (February) and get back to Barcelona just in time for a tour around Spain/Portugal with my family.
Check out our slideshow for a look into the day to day!