Let me say this right off the bat . . . Barcelona was a lot of fun, but not my most favorite place in the world. (That would be Paris.) Barcelona, however, will definitely be one of my most favorite places for eating. Ham? Cheese? Eggs? Potatoes? Wine? My Italian butt loves this diet.
Where we stayed: Hotel Balmes (loved it! Clean, nice staff, internet access, etc.)
Our friends stayed at Hotel Universal. While this hotel was nice and modern, I didn't love the part of town it was in.
On our first day (Saturday), we arrived around 10 am and our hotel let us check in early, which was fabulous since we hadn't showered in a while (we left straight from work the day before.) We relaxed for a bit then wandered around Las Ramblas. We walked all the way down to the water, which was really lovely. We pretty much spent the rest of our first day exploring Las Ramblas, then met up with our friends for dinner. We then tried to go to these fountains that light up to music . . . we walked miles (literally) and when we got there we found out they were being renovated! Luckily, we got over this quickly by drinking lots of wine at a nearby bar.
On our second day (Sunday), we had tickets to the Barcelona/Valencia game. Because we knew it'd be a late night, we had sort of a relaxing day. We went to Taller de Tapas (SO yummy!) for brunch (we slept pretty late) then walked back down Las Ramblas to meet up with our friends for . . . you guessed it, more wine! We ate at a Spanish diner for dinner that night (and it was really yummy, but I don't remember the name) then headed to the game (I had a lot more fun than I was expecting, since I know nothing about soccer.)
On Monday, we were planning to go to the Picasso museum, until we realized it was closed. Instead, we headed to La Sagrada Familia, which was absolutely amazing. I don't think I'll ever see anything like that in my life. From there, we subwayed it to Parc Guell. We stopped for lunch at a small bakery and then spent the rest of the day at Parc Guell, just wandering around, etc.
On Tuesday, we headed to the Picasso Museum. After the museum, we went to Bubo to eat the world's best chocolate cake (seriously, it won the award in 2005) and then to this wine bar across the street that had over 300 wines (we stayed there for a while . . . the wine was very yummy.) That night, we found a bar that was showing all the big soccer games that night (my husband and our friends are big fans) and we hunkered down there for the night.
On our last day, we spent the day in the Barri Gotic. (Not before I did some damage shopping on La Placa de Catalunya, though.) We spent some time wandering around, ate some tapas, drank some wine, took some pictures, etc. (We were supposed to go to the Dali museum, but none of us felt like being on the train for an hour each way, especially since our friends don't love art and I don't like modern art.) We then headed over to La Boquiera and did a little shopping before heading out for more pre-dinner drinks. (Did I mention we drank a lot?)
For breakfast on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we ate at Cerveceria Catalana. Uhm . . . most delicious breakfast ever. Scratch that. Most delicious food ever. We ate dinner there on Wednesday, as well . . . their bravas? TO DIE FOR.
While we were there, the weather was fabulous - in the 50s everyday. Some days, I didn't even bring a coat out.
If you're renting an apartment, definitely go to El Corte Ingles and stock up on some groceries (and if you're not, go there just to wander around a ginormous grocery store unlike anything ever . . . beware! They are closed on Sundays.)
So, that's Barcelona in a nutshell! My travel journal has a lot more details that only my DH and I (and our friends) could appreciate (like this stag party of Brits trying to kiss me at the bar while my husband just stood and laughed . . .) All in all, it was a really fabulous, really needed vacation.
I have to thank cheeky and the rest of you ladies for recommendations of things to do, see, etc.