One thing you’ll learn about the kind of traveller I am is I have a disposition to plan and organise my days excessively. I use a website called Travefy to build my travel itineraries. The other thing you’ll learn about me as a traveller is I can only spend up to an hour at the beach – what I consider a holiday involves hours of trekking through cities, discovering all the different aromas of street food, exploring the non-tourist neighbourhoods, and getting to know and understand the culture. But food and cute cafes are definitely priorities.
At 9:15AM, Cora and I went to Brunch & Cake, an aesthetically pleasing breakfast restaurant in the centre of Barcelona with outdoor seating and instagrammable features.
I couldn’t tell you what we ordered because the menu was all in Spanish and I honestly don’t remember but the platter of banana bread with a colourful assortment of fruit was served to us on a massive wooden tray and so we ordered one to share. It was very much worth the early morning. TIP: this restaurant is usually swarmed with bloggers and photojournalists like us so if you want to get good seats, I suggest getting there as early as possible. We arrived at quarter past nine and still had to queue for the outdoor seats.
Finishing breakfast, we caught a bus to Park Guell, the journey totalling to 30 minutes. Upon arrival, we discovered that our booking wasn’t until 2:30PM, so we spent the following three hours walking as slow as we could through the entire compound to burn time. It helped that we stopped every so often to take pictures.
One of my favourite memories is buying a bottle of frozen water from one of the many sellers on the streets and thinking we’d been drugged when our legs started shaking uncontrollably. In reality, we had just sat down for too long after an eternity of being on our feet and our muscles weren’t ready for walking. Reaching the top of Park Güell, we filled our water bottles at the public fountain (they have these all over Barcelona or at least they do in the city).
The pictures you see here are the ones the locals didn’t stop me to take. Yes, being a foreign person of colour, the locals will take much interest in you. It’s not like there aren’t black people living in Barcelona – there are, they’re just mostly refugees and/or living rough, illegally selling cheap goods. Since, we clearly weren’t refugees nor sellers, many people were fascinated by us and stopped us to ask for pictures. Don’t let this scare you if pigment applies to you; they’re very friendly people and are kind and bashful in their approach. I remember one woman stopped us with a basket of compliments and her son looked so embarrassed as she enthusiastically gave the camera to him, posing next to us. It was sweet and endearing more than anything else. I took it as an opportunity to represent my people with class and grace.
I think the most threatening race-related event that happened at Park Güell was random men casually calling Cora ‘Michelle Obama’ and if anything, all it did was cause us to break into peals of laughter.
Finally, the time came for us to enter the paid part of Park Güell but unfortunately, it was under construction at the time and a lot of the beauty was stolen. It didn’t, however, stop us from having the Cheetah Girls 2 moment we’d been dreaming about since we planned the trip.
We took the metro to La Rambla and immersed ourselves in the busy hustle and bustle of the famous street where weird men tried to bring us to their coffee shops (where they do not sell coffee). Going into the markets, I was amazed by all the bright colours of the stalls: exotic fruit that you won’t find in the UK, smoothies, and ice cream.
We then took a brief stop at McDonald’s (remembering there was indeed a budget and it’s not everyday fancy restaurant) and went back to our hotel for a quick shower and rest. Getting ready to go to Opium, a hip hop nightclub by the beach, Cora exclaimed in panic that all the reviews said the same thing: black people were turned away at the door.
So what I said about race not being an issue? That strictly applied to my experience at Park Güell.
I immediately freaked out, having already bought the tickets and still wanting to go, but after speaking with my dad on the phone, we accepted that we had made our first mistake as young adults abroad by not reading the reviews ahead of purchasing entry. We decided to go to a fancy bar a couple streets away instead.
Artte from the outside
The music was soulful, the atmosphere was chill, and the customer service was on point. So yeah, it turned out to be a good night after all. I will be writing a short guide on how I plan my travels, including a step by step tutorial of Travefy, how I pack my suitcase, and how I shop.
Live in Peace,