A beach holiday in Barcelona?! You might be forgiven for thinking you read that wrong. However, I stand by it.
I’ve had a quite a few holidays which took me to the beach- New Zealand’s deserted beaches with thermal springs, the famous Bondi Beach in Sydney was our weekend haunt for some formative years of my childhood, Northumberland’s fantastic coast with long sandy beaches and rockpooling fun, hitchhiking to Bournemouth beach on a scorching summer’s day during my first visit to the UK, watching families enjoy the cooling Mediterranean Sea in Beirut, and I could go on! So many amazing memories linked to holidays by the sea or by water in general.
What made Barcelona special?
It was probably the element of the unexpected. I never realised, just how much the beach life is part of Barcelona life. (Now at least, not that it used to be some 20 or so years ago apparently. Luckily that’s history.)
The first time we visited I had a 2 year old Angelina and Hugo was just 9 month old, we were tagging along as Dadonthebrink had a conference in the beautiful city. We spent the first two days exploring together as a family, going to the “essential” tourist spots: the old city, Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.
We wandered along the promenade on the 2nd evening and watched as families came to the beach to enjoy a fun evening after a long hot day. We dipped our legs in the warm sea, but we’d left our swimwear in the hotel so we couldn’t find our much yearned refreshment from a full dip in the water.
Next day, as Dadonthebrink put on business attire for his conference, the Littlins and I bid him farewell as we continued to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Once done, I loaded our double-decker pushchair with food, drinks, baby paraphernalia, swimwear and beach towel. My intention: take the bus to La Rambla and then late afternoon meet Dadonthebrink on the beach.
I was going to see so much, be a real tourist!
Then as I got off the bus and was getting ready to cross the road and head into the concrete jungle, human jumble and chaos that is La Ramble, a light sea breeze tempted me in the opposite direction.
I found myself wandering down by the Harbour, looking at the luxury yachts and Angelina chasing pigeons. We then went onto the promenade and found a spot with a boardwalk over the sand towards the water. I pushed the pushchair down and into the lovely sand.
Angelina, Hugo and I spent the day on the beach and had a fantastic time. We made friends with others, shared toys, built sandcastles. When it was the Littlins’ afternoon nap time I tore myself away from the soft sand and went to discover a bit more of the city, wandering for a couple of hours.
That evening Dadonthebrink did meet us down on the beach for a bit of family fun and a picnic dinner that we enjoyed after splashing around.
The next four days were spent in a very similar manner, except I bought a pop up UV tent and thereon I enjoyed reading a book while the Littlins had their midday nap in there. My city holiday with 2 Littlins in tow turned into a beach holiday.
We explored Barcelona with Dadonthebrink in the cool of the evening, pushing two sleeping Littlins around in the pushchair.
I fell in love with Barcelona!
The city is so easy to get around. The public transport is excellent. I avoided the underground both for fear of pick pockets (3 friends attending the conference lost money and documents in that week we were there) and because it is absolutely impossible with a pushchair. The buses were great, I just needed to avoid rush hour. Sometimes the drivers would even let me get on at the middle door, which is access to the disabled and buggy designated spots. I used a travel card, which made it very easy to get about.
Despite the sometime less than spotless reputation of Barcelona, I felt safe in the city. (I also got stopped by lots of tourists asking directions, so I must’ve looked local at least a little bit.)
During subsequent visits to the city I decided to take a similar, slow paced approach to sightseeing, soaking in the atmosphere as a mum instead of as a tourist. We visited more playgrounds (of which there are plenty) than famous sites of Barcelona.
On one rainy day we spent most of the day at the Barcelona Aquarium. Angelina, then 3, and Hugo toddling around were fascinated by the fish. We had our packed lunches watching the huge sharks swim past in the shark tank. (If you are visiting Barcelona with children I would definitely recommend going to the aquarium.) After the visit we fed our sandwich ends to the fish in the harbour and the Littlins squealed with glee at the frenzy of the fish feeding on our scraps of bread.
Barcelona we will be back next year: This time with 1 Littlin and 2 not so Littlins and I hope we can enjoy the beach, the city and maybe even test our sea legs with some sailing.
Do you have a favourite beach destination? Why is it special to you?
I am so dozy: I wrote this post last week and then forgot to press publish: This opportunity to reminisce came because of Low Cost Holidays’ competition to write a short blog post about a favourite beach memory/ experience (anything from sand castle building as a child to first time surfing, jet skiing to snorkeling). The prize, a scuba diving holiday to Malta.
The deadline was today, 21st June noon. Dooh!
As my entry, I deliberately choose not to tell you about my first scuba diving experience while on honeymoon in Egypt or some other funny moments I’ve had since in my sporadic diving exploits. I thought I’d bore you with those if had won…Since I’m a non-contestant, I’ll put it to you, my dear readers:
Would you like to hear some of my diving exploits?