Reflections From My Solo Trip To Barcelona
I went to Barcelona alone.
I stayed at a hostel alone.
I went sightseeing alone.
I ate alone.
This was my second-ever solo trip. The first time I traveled alone was two years ago to a small Italian town called Sperlonga. This trip was different because I stayed in a communal environment (shoutout Hostel World) and was more receptive to meeting new people. On the trip to Italy, I was just trying to get in one more new city before having to go back home from an amazing study abroad experience.
I really love my solitude so the idea of solo traveling doesn’t scare me much. I’m usually just concerned about my safety when I’m alone because there’s always strength in numbers. I felt super comfortable as a solo, woman traveling through Barcelona. This time of year is a lot less touristy than in the summer so pickpockets weren’t as much of a worry as they are in peak season. I was thankful for that.
I went for the wine & tapas.
Top Tips for Park Guell
Get there early - I went at 8 AM because if you get there before 8:30 AM it’s completely free. Be sure to check their website as I think the time might change in the summer but its worth waking up with the sun to get in for free. Also, you’ll never regret seeing the sunrise in a new city - it’s one of my favorite ways to connect with a place.
Bring your camera - The park is brimming with colorful textiles and perky plants that are way too picture perfect. Gaudi is really the man in Barcelona and it’s easy to see why. The entrance is grand and you’ll feel like a queen/king walking up the staircase. When you finally make it to the top, the views are impeccable.
One of the best parts of my trip was seeing a traditional flamenco show with Fat Tire Tours (oh yeah & I’m the London ambassador for them!) We roamed the Gothic Quarter seeing endless captivating churches and plazas galore. Tapas were flowing as we hopped from restaurant-to-restaurant indulging in the cities best small plates. Traveling with Fat Tire gave me the insider’s feel because we arrived a popular spot, El Xampanyet (where Anthony Bourdain once ate) and were the first ones in a very long line.
When the restaurant opened its doors we were greeted by friendly, warm locals. We had first dibs and got some of the comfiest seats in the house. This place is so popular that people stand up and enjoy their tapas when seats runs out - its an intimate feel that I really enjoyed. It was one of those ‘ahh, I’m really in Barcelona’ moments.
Perhaps the most profound moment I had in BCN was during the filming of my visual (which I did through this amazing Airbnb experience) where I ended up at ‘Plaça del Rei’, the plaza where Columbus came to tell the Spanish King and Queen that he had “discovered the new world”. It was a moment of shock for me. I felt pain and oddly enough, pride (proud to be a black woman walking freely in the colonizers land because damn we have come a long way).
Obviously, Columbus discovered nothing at all. What he did was make way for mass genocide to happen to the indigenous people of the land. On top of that, he gave way for the transatlantic slave trade to happen which is how my people ended up in America - a place that has yet to feel like home should. How ironic is it that there I was frolicking through the land of the oppressors while being ignorant regarding some of the deep history that’s happened there. It was one of the craziest moments, that I’ve experienced as a Black American woman thus far during my travels.
Travel is the ultimate teacher and for that I’m grateful.
I can’t wait to have kids so I can teach them the real. Through books & global travel. We ain’t stopping at what schools teach to indoctrinate us. Ignorance is a choice. When we educate ourselves, only then are we closer to freedom. Oh and f*ck Columbus.
Despite that moment, I throughly enjoyed Barcelona. I didn’t get any weird stares so that’s always a plus, I drank cheap wine and indulged in a Spanish culture. Most of all, I left inspired to write about the stories from this trip.
Below is a list of the places & things that made this trip special and that I’d recommend to you:
Accommodation: Saint Jordi Hostel
This hostel is cozy and inviting. The staff was friendly and made the stay that much better. As for the rooms, all the furniture was modern and appeared to be new. I also really liked that the lockers had a digital fob on them which you can open using the key card they give you at check-in (€10 deposit).
Places I ate:
Bar Jai-ca - This was recommended to me by my lovely Airbnb experience host ( a Barcelona native) and it didn’t disappoint. The red house wine was only 2 Euros and I had some of the most delicious pasta bravas (crispy potatoes with a tangy sauce) I’ve ever had. My bill was only 6 Euros. I don’t ever have meals that cheap while living in London so I was quite happy.
What to order: House Red Wine and Pasta Bravas
Vinitus - I came here after receiving the recommendation for this tapas bar from the hostel staff (locals actually come here). I ended up ordering the assorted tapas because I was starving and wanted to eat everything in sight. Wine was also €3 - so of course I had a few glasses (cannot get over how cheap the wine is in Spain). The vibe of the place is intimate and cozy. It’s perfect for a date night or even solo bar-dining like I did.
What to order: Any wine (they’re all reasonable), cheese board and tapas assortment
Brunch & Cake: The reputation of this place precedes itself - known for their pretty plates - Brunch & Cake is an Instagram hotspot worth popping in to. From acai bowls to eggs benedict. They have all the classics with a fresh twist.
What to order: acai bowl or shrimp egg benedict
This was a very quick trip due to my school/work schedule but now I can’t wait to go back in the summer. I hear Barcelona is lit in summer (what city isn’t?!) with their terraces and al fresco dining. I can’t wait!