Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A PARK GÜELL BIRTHDAY

Birthday post time! I'm so happy that I celebrated my birthday abroad. I'm not one for big birthday parties because I fear that no one will turn up, so I'm still really amazed that I managed to gather a bunch of my oldest friends together for a birthday escape! My friends and I decided to spend the day at Gaudi's Park Güell which was about a 40 minute walk from our apartment. On the way, we stopped for pictures with my birthday balloon at Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, an amazing modernist building which was a hospital but now a medical faculty and Catalan state library. 

In all honesty, my birthday all rolled into one in Barcelona, I was in such a happy holiday bubble that  I could easily have ignored my birthday all together - in fact I forgot it was my birthday for most of it! I really dreaded turning 30 and I STILL can't believe I've reached that age. It's one of those birthdays which is full of expectations and as a kid, you always build a picture in your mind of where you think you'll be - probably playing happy families, owning your own house and just fitting that cookie cutter mould. I've learnt that it's OK not to have those things, reality doesn't always fit the story that you have in your head and we still have SO much more life to live than to worry about the little things. It's ok, honest!
Park Güell is a public park but there are some areas where you need to buy a ticket to visit. These are the more iconic parts of the park including the terrace where the famous mosaic benches are located. The tickets have timed entry slots so we went in search of lunch before we explored the park. We were really lucky to find a random tapas place which turned out to be decent. For someone who loves to eat, I'm still kicking myself for not researching more food places but I'm glad that it worked out in the end. After lunch, we stopped by a bakery for some traditional sweet Spanish pastries which we planned to eat at Park Güell.
Pastries in hand, we walked back up to Park Güell and had a wander around and explored the park. Park Güell was originally meant to be a luxury housing site which proved to be unsuccessful and was eventually repurposed, becoming the municipal park that it is today. It was awesome to finally sit on those mosaic benches and marvel at Gaudi's crazy creations that look like they belong on a filmset. It's such a fun place to explore because everything goes against conventions and nothing here is an accident - everything from the structures to the mosaics are so detailed and thought out. Gaudi was nothing short of a genius.
Before we left Park Güell  we climbed up to the Cross monument at the top of the hill. I highly recommend that everyone does this! It's in the public area of the park and so you don't actually need tickets to reach this area. The view of Barcelona up there is amazing and a great way to end the afternoon. I think I'll always remember sitting there with my friends on my birthday and soaking up that incredible view of the city. You can see a whole panorama of Barcelona - from the spires of La Sagrada Familia to the tree flanked avenue, Las Rambla.
Later on we returned back to the apartment for outfit changes before heading out to explore the Gothic Quarter. It's the most amazing spot at night as all the alleys and the squares are so historical that it almost doesn't feel real, it's as if you're on a set for a medieval TV show. We discovered a square where a live band was playing and we watched as random couples filled the square and danced along to Toy Story's 'You got a friend in me'. It was SUCH a lovely discovery.
We stopped for dinner in one of the main squares and eventually went in search for some birthday cocktails. My friend located Rubi Bar which was recommended to us and I'll always remember the tiny little bar with some pretty fond memories! It's one of those bars which you'd never find if you didn't know about it and was full of locals sipping on the house Mojitos. I imagine that usually, it would be hard to find a space to sit but I had birthday luck on my side and we managed to find a corner table at the back of the bar. It was the perfect position for people watching! I had been oblivious to my friend's insistence of chocolate cake for dessert (I told you guys I had forgotten it was my birthday!) and instead they whipped out some candles and popped them into a birthday Mojito - probably the most unique way to celebrate ever. I felt so lucky to be spending my birthday with my friends in Barcelona and this evening is a serious contender as one of my favourite ever memories.

So that was my birthday! It really was the best birthday to date, which made turning the big 30 so much easier. Exploring a new city with such good company was definitely the most awesome birthday gift. I'm so glad I have a blog to be able to scrapbook my memories, and even better that I get to take you guys along too!
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