“You are young, live in the moment!” This was the advice our taxi driver gave us as we said our goodbyes. She was full of the Spanish spirit that drives some of us to visit this country.
I’m sure her words strike a chord with most people so here are my top 5 tips on how to “Live in the moment!” in Barcelona.
1. Walk it. All of it.
Barcelona is made for walking. Spend the first day or two of your visit walking around this city, she will love you for it. Pick out a couple of your favourite places from the tourist guides/pamphlets and hit the road keeping your eyes open for the special places to write home about (or post on social media if you’re so inclined). Discover your own side of Barcelona.
2. Swim and take in the city from the Mediterranean
Don’t be shy if the water is chilly, it won’t kill you. Did you know it’s actually a magical hang-over cure? If you’ve had a big night or two then head to the beach in the morning, jump in, and reboot so you can have a proper conversation again. Back it up with a cortado (Spanish for macchiato) while you warm up in the sun and you’re set for a brand new day!
3. Engage in local banter
You can spot the local hang-out’s a mile off, you will probably hear their banter before you turn the corner. Stop and have a refreshment and strike up a conversation with a local.
If they don’t speak English use all means at your disposal to keep the conversation going: big hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions, drawing on your napkin and a quick look at Google translate for the important words won’t offend! Their stories and histories will form part of your travel tales.
4. Stock up on the good karma
Support the local businesses. If you love a restaurant, shop or any local business, let them know and give them a review. It’s fairly easy to leave one on Google maps or TripAdvisor. If you’re keen on the social media then check-in while you’re there and spread the word.
5. Night sights
As the sun sets, why not pack a picnic and head out? Go past a famous square or fountain, walk by a church, through a park or stroll by the beach that would normally be tourist packed during the day. It’s easier to capture the magic when everything is a bit quieter and there’s more space and time to enjoy.