Barcelona, Catalonia or Spain?

Barcelona, Catalonia or Spain?

Barcelona, in the region of Catalonia, may not be part of Spain much longer.  Throughout our entire trip, we saw peaceful protesters throughout the city who want Catalonia to become its own country and who were pushing for a referendum.  A vote was declared illegal by Spain.  They held one anyway this past weekend, which led to police raiding the polling stations to seize ballot boxes and remove voters and left 850 injured.  We were thankful that we weren’t a part of the violence while we were there just a week before, but it was a great reminder to always be alert when traveling.

These are experiences you won’t get by sitting in a hotel or resort all day.  These experiences are real, tangible, life changing, and worth every penny.

Expenses (just for Barcelona, excluding the flight)

Date Cost Description
7/19/2017 $227.74 AirBnB – Barcelona – 3 nights
9/19/2017 $44.37 Taxi to AirBnB in Barcelona
9/22/2017 $10.80 Subway in Barcelona back to the Airport – two tickets
$282.91 Lodging and Transportation Cost
9/20/2017 $42.60 Brunch in Barcelona – Chicken Paella and Breakfast Eggs
9/20/2017 $9.99 Gelato outside the Gaudi Cathedral
9/20/2017 $45.85 Dinner in Barcelona – Tapas near the Beach
9/21/2017 $16.36 Lunch at the Olympic Stadium
9/21/2017 $10.76 Gelato along the main corridor
9/21/2017 $52.08 Dinner in Barcelona – Baked Chicken
9/22/2017 $6.60 Breakfast at Starbucks
$184.24 Total Food Cost
9/20/2017 $97.57 Barcelona Bus Tour – two tickets
9/20/2017 $19.13 Magnet and Statue of the Gaudi Cathedral
$116.70 Total Extra Cost
$583.85 Total Spent
  $291.93 per person


See the details in the Oslo post.


False advertising.  I didn’t realize it when booking but you can see the shower head was already down and she had opened the window to hide the chipping paint.

I aimed for a location in the Gothic quarter, and filtered the AirBnBs based on this.  I found a listing for a private room in a shared apartment that seemed decently rated (for the few ratings it did have), with clean white-washed photos, located one block from the Cathedral.  When we arrived, we unfortunately discovered that “shared” didn’t mean us and the host.  It meant us, the host, and three other occupied rooms, with one bathroom.  Nine people, one apartment.  The shower head had broken off the wall, the bathroom wasn’t as clean as an OCD human would prefer, and it felt like a hostel.  This was my first negative AirBnB experience as a traveler.  It definitely did not meet our expectations.  Remember that this risk can be negated by finding a listing with 20+ reviews and a high score for accuracy.  One negative experience doesn’t turn me off to AirBnBs!  Hotels would have cost double to triple in the location we wanted, so we toughed it out for the three nights.


So pretty! Until we got there… footprints on the walls, a dirty comforter, no sheets.

Our plane landed pretty late (almost 9pm) and were having trouble with the city subway system maps. Unfortunately no one was around to ask for assistance.  We weren’t quite sure where we needed to go to get to our AirBnB.  Rather than risk getting lost, we took a taxi.  $34 more, but we felt it was worth it since we didn’t arrive with our backpacks at the AirBnB until 10pm.  Now that we are familiar with the subway system, we’d definitely take it in.  It was very easy to navigate!  We did take the subway back to the airport when we left, and it was only about $5 per ticket.

During the trip, we had a two day pass for the Barcelona Bus Tour.  We were able to hop on, hop off, and see all the popular sites.  The buses only go one-way, so it did require a bit of planning to make sure we saw everything we were interested in.  In the evenings, we made sure to get off the bus within walking distance of our AirBnB before going to find dinner.


We had run out of groceries in Rome, so we aimed for two meals a day: one in the later morning, and one in the early evening.  Our first day, we had brunch around 10am next to our AirBnB (the portions were huge) and then dinner down by the beach around 7pm.  The second day, we had lunch around noon at the Olympic Stadium, and we had dinner around 7pm near the Picasso museum.  The morning before we left, we grabbed breakfast at the Starbucks next to the AirBnB.  Even with no planning or groceries (and two stops for gelato), we still spent less than $50 per person per day.


The Gaudi Cathedral, still being built

We slept in for our first morning since we had arrived late the night before and hadn’t settled in until after midnight.  We started the day by watching a protest outside from our AirBnB balcony before finding a restaurant for brunch.  Then we walked to the Cathedral and got tickets for the Hop on Hop off bus tour.  We saw the main market square, shopping areas, the pier, the beach area, and all manner of interesting architecture before we jumped off at the Gaudi cathedral.  We walked around the exterior, admiring the work they did to build it.  We didn’t get tickets to go in due to the long line.  However, we did enjoy Gelato on the bench across the street.  Back on the bus, we headed up to the Park Guell and then walked around the free areas.  We got back on the bus to head back into the main city area after, and got off on the main street.  There, we walked through shops and looked at various Gaudi buildings.  We navigated around the protesters, who were multiplying as the day wore on.  Then we got back on the bus and headed down to the beach again, where we found a dinner spot.  We walked back to the AirBnB when we finished up.

Beneath the torch at the Olympic Stadium

The second day, we walked back to the bus route and got on the second available route.  It took us along the pier again but then went up toward the Olympic Stadium where we got out and walked around the grounds.  It was beautiful, very well maintained (they were repairing a lamp post as we walked around), and you could tell the city took great pride in hosting the Olympics back in 1992.  We got lunch at the café right on the grounds, including sandwiches and orange Fanta.  Then it was back on the bus to the Mies van der Rohe house.  We rode past more interesting architecture on our way back into the city, and took a couple detours due to protesters.  Then we got gelato along the main corridor before finding dinner.  We ended the night in the Picasso museum, which happened to have free entry that evening.  Then a walk back to the AirBnB to pack and sleep.  We left early in the morning, got breakfast at Starbucks, and then took the subway to the airport.

The Olympic Stadium in Barcelona

More frugal travel…

2 Replies to “Barcelona, Catalonia or Spain?”

  1. Nice blog site. We were in Barcelona in March. My husband was there for a conference and our 14-year old and I tagged along. We also stayed in the Gothic quarter. Beautiful, huh? Back in March, there were no protests yet. But there was a very large police presence. It will be interesting to see how the politics unfold.

    1. Agreed! We have been watching the political events closely. That’s awesome that you and your 14 year old were able to tag along, and the Gothic quarter was definitely gorgeous. 🙂

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