Sagrada Família & Sailing Away

One of Barcelona’s most famous must-sees is the Basilica of the Sagrada Família, the largest church in the city designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. Although the construction of the church began in 1882 it is still unfinished… and it is insane. Your trip to Barcelona cannot be complete without seeing this amazing place– the details, combination of different architectural styles, and overall grand size of it is an amazing site. I was surprised my weeks in the city leading up to that point I never caught a glimpse of it, but after a quick 20 minute walk from my place my friend and I arrived. Be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time (only 15,00€)  because you are assigned specific entrance times into the cathedral- purchasing ahead will let you skip a big wait time to get in!

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If the outside of the Sagrada Família isn’t enough to make your jaw drop just wait until you get inside. It was so interesting to me that despite the fact the church is over 100 years old since its construction began, the inside felt extremely futuristic to me. I could probably lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling for hours, and the way the stained glass was arranged it gave the inside a complete spectrum flood of light.


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Later that day we decided to experience another amazing site in the city and were determined to find a great rooftop bar nearby. We ended up deciding on the Skybar on the rooftop of the Grand Hotel Central and it was the perfect place to relax with a glass (or two!) of Spanish wine and enjoy the sunset.
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The next day we had reserved a spot for a brunch sailing trip with Sailing Experience Barcelona. After browsing a lot of sailing options available in Barcelona we decided on this one because #1 the price was right, #2 it came with free drinks, and #3 it wasn’t a total booze cruise. You know you’re inching toward 30 when the idea of a booze cruise sounds like a crowded boat with a group of young people getting too drunk and being super annoying. I mean we wanted to do some nice day drinking like everyone does, but we also wanted it to be a relaxing experience. After a few croissants, cheese and cured meats, we set off out of the marina with glasses of white wine in hand. Our skipper was wonderful, not only was she very attentive (even provided us with fleece jackets when it got chilly out in the water) but she was extremely knowledgable about Barcelona’s history which we learned about while gazing back at the city from the water.




SauvignonBlue-Barcelona145When we returned safely to shore we took a short walk over to Barceloneta Beach, ordered  a bottle of Cava, and enjoyed some bubbles with more ocean views. For me it was so nice to actually take an entire day off from work, no laptop was opened that day. After an afternoon nap (much needed after a lot of sun and a little day buzz!) we ended the night with some delicious sushi.

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What did you think of Gaudí’s Sagrada Família? Pretty cool right?! The next day we went to another one of his famous places in Barcelona (another must-see of course). Check back at the next post to see our experience at the beautiful Park Güell.

Madrid Weekend Getaway

Last weekend I said goodbye to my new home in Barcelona for a few days to experience another city in Spain, Madrid! A friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since she moved from the U.S. to Amsterdam 2 years ago was there for work and invited me over to visit. Because that’s just what we do now… hangout in other countries… no big deal. I was excited to see another city and spend some time catching up over tapas and wine.


She suggested we go to the Rooftop Bar of the ME Madrid Reina Victoria hotel, and it was the best place we could have started the weekend. The views were so beautiful, overlooking the plaza as the sun came down over the rooftops. We enjoyed a few glasses of cava with her coworkers and because we are girls and this is what we do, got a few pictures taken with the picturesque scenery. The night ended with plenty of laughs, countless tapa dishes and a few bottles of wine at Max Madrid, just on the other side of the plaza below.
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The next day while my friend was busy being an adult and working, I set out on my own to explore the city. Before leaving the U.S. and for the first few days of being in Spain I planned on getting a SIM card for my iPhone so I could use it like normal while away from wifi. WELL, I ended up saying forget it and did the unthinkable… I can only use my phone on wifi out here. I know right, unplugging from technology, am I insane?! First of all it has been nice to be forced to disconnect while I’m out and about seeing these gorgeous places, but there are times when it would come in handy, like when trying to navigate new places. So to solve this I used my tech skills, screen-shotted a map of Madrid focusing on the main area I would be in, added stars to a few specific places I wanted to see, and saved the image to my phone. Gotta be resourceful in times of need.


I spent the day visiting all the places on my list plus stumbling across so much more. That is one of my favorite things about traveling– finding unexpected places. I tend to pin point a few key things but the rest is fun to encounter while you’re getting slightly lost in a whole new place. I will never be one of those travelers with a regimented, timed-out schedule, and I never want to be. Living fully in the moment is a key aspect of traveling for me, and too much planning sucks the fun and spontaneity out of that. There aren’t too many times in everyday life you can be so open and carefree so it’s important to cherish those times.

Museo Nacional Del Prado
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor

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Catedral de la Almudena

On my way to the Royal Palace Madrid I came across the Catedral de la Almudena, one that was not starred on my makeshift navigation map. It was my favorite place I saw in all of Madrid. I am a sucker for old churches anyway, they are so beautiful and detailed. But this one stood out to me because of the brightly patterned ceiling. Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with patterns so it was like this church was made for me. The soaring arches and ceiling took my breath away.

Catedral de la Almudena
Catedral de la Almudena
Catedral de la Almudena
Royal Palace of Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid
Basilica of San Francisco el Grande
San Jerónimo el Real

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Buen Retiro Park

These trees. were. ridiculous. I would love to meet the person who grooms these trees just so perfectly.

Buen Retiro Park
Buen Retiro Park
Buen Retiro Park
Basílica de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora
Basílica de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora
Basílica de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora
Basílica de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora
Basílica de la Concepción de Nuestra Señora

After my friend and I enjoyed a delicious and refreshing sushi dinner (which I am now craving just by typing the word sushi), we turned the corner from the restaurant and stumbled across this freaking BEAUTIFUL place. Its like the time of day and lighting perfectly aligned for this picture to be taken. I can’t get over the architecture and the complimentary orange and blue colors happening here.


The next day we were determined to enjoy yet another rooftop. But come on, you can never enjoy TOO many rooftop views. This specific place made it to pretty much every list for best views of the city, The Tartan Roof on top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes. I will say it’s very touristy up there. You have to wait in line to go up in the elevator, wait in a long line for drinks, wait in a line to leave. Lots of waiting. But the waits are totally worth these amazing views of Madrid. I never knew how vast the city was until that rooftop.

Tartan Roof on top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes
Tartan Roof on top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes
Tartan Roof on top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes

And because we are girls and this is what we do, we had to snap a few pictures to document the moment. Plus the light was absolutely perfect for some sunset snapshots, can’t pass up some good sunlight.

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Tartan Roof on top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes

The next day I returned to Barcelona where I’ll be until June 30th! A day after Madrid my friend came to stay with me for the rest of the week and we saw some amazing sights around the city. Be sure to check back for the next post to see our time at the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, two iconic parts of Barcelona.