I first visited Barcelona in 2012 with the SV team.
AND I HATED IT.
I disliked the fact that there were pickpockets everywhere; the fact that it was packed full of tourist traps and the fact that the food was so average.
So, when I was told that HS’ stag do was going to be in Barcelona, I almost decided not to go. Almost….
My flight into Barcelona with Norwegian Air was, given the budget nature, pretty awesome. The seats were wide and the foot room could rival any of the so-called “premium” airlines. We even arrived an hour early! All this for £35 too!
I arrived to see HS dressed like this…..
(This was one of the better outfits!)
As we headed out of the airport, the best man was notified of a problem: our Airbnb flat (NB: the Spanish HATE airbnb and UBER!) had been double booked, meaning we had nowhere to stay. Now, my previous experiences of Airbnb have been very good, so to say that I was surprised is an understatement.
We got a cab to the agent’s office and, after 3 hours of negotiating, we ended up booking a flat just off Ronda de la Universitat.
(Not a bad view, eh?)
Although all this hassle arose as a result of Airbnb’s mistake, I have to give credit to Airbnb for agreeing to a) fully refund our booking b) paying for all resulting expenses and c) giving us a credit equal to 20% of the original booking.
After some light (!) drinking, we headed out into town for dinner at Arcano. And what a dinner it was!
Located in a side street off Via Laietana in an underground cellar, Arcano offers ridiculous value for money: for 40 euros, we were provided with a three course meal (6 starters and 2 desserts!) and unlimited sangria:
(I don’t know what was on these potatoes, but they were BUFF!)
Just look at that steak! Cooked on a Josper oven too! (NB: I asked for medium rare and it came rare. If you like your meat well cooked, ask for medium-well).
Even the desserts were incredible (I think I had about 10 of these badboys!):
And a complimentary shot of Baileys…..
We ended up paying 45 euros each for dinner. In all honesty, a comparable meal in London would have costed £100+.
Feeling adequately full (and hammered), we headed off towards the pier for a night out at Shoko (meeting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the process!) to parade the stag (NB: get a cab, taxis are dirt cheap in Barcelona so don’t bother walking!)
The second day was spent sleeping off the sangria, playing zorb-football (aka bullying the stag) and, given the weather, checking out the beach (just watch out for the crazies trying to sell you beer/margaritas).
On the way to the beach, we stumbled across this gem:
(possibly the best ice-cream I have ever had, Gelupo included).
Dinner was booked at La Cholita, a cocktail and creperie bar located in the outskirts of Barcelona. Despite my initial reservations, I have to say that La Cholita won me over.
Freshly cooked savoury and sweet crepes (at under 8 euros for a crepe the size of a wok) coupled with great red and white sangria (7.5 euros for a jug!) made this an instant hit.
To top it off? The owner is (we suspect) Javier Bardem:
As no-one in Europe goes out until midnight, we spent the next 3 hours being “lads on tour”, eventually heading out to the W Hotel for our final night out.
Now, everyone I have met says that a night out at the W Hotel is a must. And on seeing the interior, I have to say that I was impressed! The clientele, however, is a bit older than we expected (45+) – not a surprise given the cost of a drink (15 euros for a vodka coke!).
(my memory after this point got a bit blurred….I blame the sangria)
We spent our final day in Barcelona touring the Nou Camp (stunning stadium and gave me the goosebumps!) and having a tapas lunch (like true tourists!). As our landlord agreed to allow us to leave our bags at the flat until we left (another reason why I would recommend the Serennia Apartments we stayed in), we were able to relax until it was time to go to the airport.
The stag do actually changed my mind about Barcelona and I can’t wait to go back (seeing as I missed out on visiting the Sagrada Familia (which is STILL getting rebuilt), Park Guell, the Picasso museum and riding the cable car)!
Some things to note though if you visit Barcelona:
- Pickpockets are rife – keep your belongings close to you and make sure you keep cash separate;
- The tube is really cheap and really efficient. However, given how cheap cabs are, I would recommend getting a cab (just make sure you write down the address of places you intend to visit – some cab drivers don’t speak English!);
- The airport at Barcelona is awful! Once you go through customs, you cannot access any of the shops!
- Stag and Hen dos are everywhere in Barcelona, so get involved;
- White wine sangria is awesome but lethal