Travel Journal: Barcelona

My lovely other half & I went to Barcelona for my birthday.

WE HAD THE BEST TIME EVER! We were there for a few days, but we did so much! It was genuinely one of the best times of my life ūüėÄ

It’s such a beautiful place, and the vibe is amazing.

We checked in at our hotel, The Hotel Praktik Vinoteca when we arrived. I would recommend the hotel to anyone as not only was it a good price, it was immaculate. It’s a wine themed hotel (as you can tell by the name) so you get a free glass of wine when you get there. Nice! We¬†arrived in the afternoon, so we explored La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter, and took it easy. I went to La Rambla as a kid, so it was great to revisit it. I was very excited to see that they had an NBA Cafe down there. I loved Basketball when I was younger, especially the Houston Rockets. I really enjoyed my burger too, so even though it was a little expensive, it was great fun to eat there. Afterwards we went to Casa Batllo, a house designed by the architect¬†Antoni Gaud√≠. I would highly reccomened this, as it is pretty surreal how much detail is in this house, but it is very expensive too, so if you’re on budget then the outside looks just as good as the inside!

On the second day we went to¬†Park G√ľell, which was disappointing as we didn’t realise that you had to pay to get into the main bit, and there wasn’t a time slot for hours, so we went for a little walk before getting the bus and changing plan. We had a look on our trusty tourist map, and chose to go to Montjuic, and ride a cable car to Montjuic Castle, much to the horror of my fella, who doesn’t like heights ūüėõ When we got to the top we had a lovely view over Barcelona. We then went for a couple of pints down La Rambla, before going for some food.

On the third day we went to Camp Nou, which is FC Barcelona’s ground. I did this as a kid with my Mum and Dad, so I already had very fond memories of the place. I was so young when I went, under 10, so I didn’t remember most of it, and obviously it has been updated since then… I think going back as an adult has made me appreciate the sheer size of the place, it’s an absolute beast! Even if you don’t like football, I’d make sure you visit, because it really is a great place.

The forth and final day = the best day, and possibly even one of the best days of my life…We visited the¬†Sagrada Fam√≠lia, a large Catholic church designed by the Catalan architect I previously mentioned, Antoni Gaud√≠. I didn’t know too much about¬†Gaud√≠ before I came, but after visiting a couple of his work whilst in Barcelona, I now consider him to be an absolute genius. ¬†I have never seen a building like it, ¬†and even after¬†135 years in the making, it’s still not complete! If you see the building you’d understand the immense level of detail that is in this building. When it finishes in around 10 years, I hope to visit again to see the finished project!

Afterwards, we went to¬†Parc de la Ciutadella, which we wasn’t going to do, but we saw in our guidebook that it looked really pretty. Wow, this place is amazing I wish we had a place like this at home, I’d spend so much time there! I loved the fact that nobody really gave a fuck what people thought, people were tightroping between the trees, juggling, jamming out on their guitars with not a care in the world. The best part was the Cascada Monumental, a beautiful fountain.

After we explored some more bits of Barcelona we hadn’t seen, we headed the our hotel to relax after a lot of walking. About 8.30pm, we headed back to the Montjuic area to view the amazing Magic Fountain! I actually saw this as a kid and I was mesmerised, so I couldn’t wait to experience this with the man I love ūüôā ¬†They were just as spectacular as I remember, and played some awesome music in the background, for example Wonderwall by Oasis, which were one of my all time favourite bands, due to my Dad being a massive fan whilst I was growing up!

What a perfect ending to a perfect holiday ūüôā

I would recommend Barcelona to anyone, I’d say it’s my favourite european city I’ve visited so far.

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LA Travel Blog

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CALIFORNIA LOVE

Ever since I remember, I’ve always wanted to visit the United States. Every time my parents spoke of going on holiday, I always cheekily hinted at America. My Mum never fancied it, and I doubt they’d be able to afford it anyway. The good thing about growing up is that you get a job and you earn money, and then you can go follow your dreams. I saved for about a year, at the time I was working at ASDA and so money was really tight and my social life declined, but it was worth it in the end. I went with my cousin who earned quite a bit more than me, so in hindsight I would’ve picked a cheaper hotel, but as it was my first time I was desperate to go. I bit the bullet and saved saved saved! So here is my action packed week in Los Angeles..
DAY ONE:¬†I arrived about midday and checked into my hotel nice and quickly, I stayed in the iconic Roosevelt hotel on Hollywood Boulevard, I couldn’t wait to see it as I’ve always been interested in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the 60’s, and the hotel was actually where the first Academy Awards was held, so this was very exciting for me. I wasn’t disappointed, it looked amazing and the path outside the entrance was the hall of fame, it felt a million miles away from the cold and rainy Yorkshire that I am used too. I was equally impressed with how beautiful the interior is, it felt so glamorous and classy. I’m far from a classy girl, and it was a world away from my local pub.

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Outside Hotel Roosevelt

When we arrived ¬†in our rooms we was extremely tired, so we opted for an early night after we’d eaten. We was across the road from the Hard Rock Cafe, so we got some food from there. I got a beer and some nachos, which are the two things that I love to consume the most. The nachos were so nice, but I prefer lager back at home. We then checked out the Chinese theatre, as it was just across the road. We went back to the hotel and relaxed by the pool, the pool is absolutely amazing! It had fairy lights on the tree as you go in, palm trees and a real exclusive feel to it! I never ate from the pool bar as I found it overpriced, but I did enjoy some cocktails when the weekend came along. I slept like a log that night, the room was very spacious and had a lovely bathroom. The room was overlooking the Chinese theatre which was pretty cool, and I woke up to the most gorgeous sunset.

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Our hotel pool
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Our hotel lobby

DAY 2:¬†As I said above, I woke up to the most gorgeous sunset. I didn’t even feel jet lagged or tired. I was buzzing! We looked at a few stars down the Walk Of Fame, I screamed every time I saw an actor that ¬†I loved :’) I was probably the most annoying tourist in a long time, but this was so surreal to me. I am a massive Tom Hanks fan, he’s my childhood hero and I’ve always wanted to see his star, I couldn’t see it but I knew I’d find it at some point but there was more stars than I could ever imagine! Firstly, we went into a cool little souvenir shop called Lalaland, there was so much to choose from and I bought some novelty Oscar statues for my Mum, Brother, Grandma and Boyfriend, so I didn’t have to worry about what to get them. It’s safe to say that the presents went down a treat, and made them all laugh when I got back. We headed to the Chinese theatre again, and in my opinion this is so much better than the stars down the Walk Of Fame, it has their hands and feet printed onto cement and their signatures, and had old legends from Marilyn Monroe,to modern legends like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint from the Harry Potter films. I’m just going to point out that the second time I came to the theatre was so much better, the first time I got there it was absolutely packed, but on the second day I came very early and avoided the large crowds and was a much calmer experience and there was a very polite worker showing us around so I managed to find who I was looking for with ease.

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We went for a walk around the shopping mall, and to my delight I found a Hot Topic store. We need this store in the UK, it’s full of band merch and nerdy things. I am a massive fan of twentyonepilots, and so of course my first purchases in the USA looked a lot like this…

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Can you save my heavydirtysoul?

Fast forward a few hours of exploring Hollywood Blvd, I now proceed with my plans for the evening, which are pretty awesome to say the least. My cousin managed to get us some tickets to see The Hollywood Vampires at the Roxy theatre, and for anyone who isn’t sure who The Hollywood Vampires are then it’s basically a supergroup that consists of Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and Matt and Duff from Guns N Roses. Pretty awesome, right? There was also surprise guest appearances from Ke$ha and Marilyn Manson, the latter being pretty hilarious, as it was the end of the gig and an American couple who loved my Yorkshire accent had bought me sooooo many free drinks and I felt absolutely wrecked, ¬†I had so many beers and jagerbombs, and by the time Manson came on drunk me just couldn’t handle the fact I was in the same room of him!¬†What I really liked about the Roxy was that it was so small, it’s something like a 500 people capacity venue, and I was right at the front, but I must say that it was full with absolute CRAZYS! I’ve been to so many gigs in my lifetime, but this was the rowdiest. I witnessed drinks being poured on people, pulling of hair, people throwing punches and all sorts. I have never seen this in the UK, but to be honest I don’t even think it was anything to do with the fact it was in the US, I think it was the Johnny Depp fans, they were acting like they were thirsty for his blood, man they were the true vampires of the night. I mean he’s a great actor and attractive and all that jazz, but Alice was the star of the show for me, he’s 68 now, and still as rock and roll as ever. I feel genuinely blessed to have seen him live.

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After the gig my cousin wanted to meet Johnny, but I was too drunk to care and wanted to party, so I went next door into a bar called Rainbow. I’m not going to talk too much about it because I am so naive going into a bar in an unfamiliar place thousands of miles away, but I got freaked out because it’s such a different lifestyle to mine, and I felt so out of place and didn’t really feel safe. I couldn’t find my cousin after and panicked, and so when I did I called an Uber and went to bed.

DAY 3:¬†I’m pretty certain day 3 was my favourite day, I felt soooo hungover and so a big breakfast and a lazy day by the pool was definitely on the cards, as I wanted to feel fresh for our night time plans ¬†which was something I’ve been looking forward to for ages. I’ve been a big fan of American sport for years now, especially NFL. I got into it by playing a Madden game on my Playstation religiously, I learnt the rules and I’ve always enjoyed watching ¬†the Super Bowl, but unfortunately LA doesn’t have a team, which I thought was crazy, and the whole franchise thing is so weird to me.I had a look at the other sports and there wasn’t a Basketball game on either, so I chose Baseball. I didn’t know anything about baseball, so wasn’t as excited as I would have been for another sport, but I fell in love. I was confused as hell at first, but I figured out the rules and had a great time! What I loved was the kiss cam and the mini games they had with the crowd, it’s just so different to the way the knobheads in England behave at sport events. If you go, then I highly recommend trying out a Dodger dog, it was the best hotdog I’ve ever tasted. I wouldn’t recommend drinking alcohol though, it was so expensive so I didn’t bother. The Dodgers won, and we went on the pitch at the end to watch Friday night fireworks. I follow the Dodgers on Twitter now, I consider myself a fan ūüėÄ I even bought myself a jersey, I got talked out of buying a foam hand though, I think that’d be getting too¬†into it ūüėČ

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Dodger Stadium

DAY 4:¬†On the forth day we went to Universal studios with some American friends we’ve met over there, we had such good fun with these guys! I had a great day with everyone, but all in all I am not theme park fan, nor do I like to spend long queuing, so it was my least favourite day. ¬†I wouldn’t of gone if my cousin didn’t want to go. The highlight of the day was the fire show, although we got soaked! And the studio tour was good, we saw sets and props from the likes of War Of The Worlds, JAWS, Fast & Furious and many more, so that was interesting. I ate in Krusty Burger (Simpson’s) and that was good fun, purely for novelty reasons and not really the quality of the burger.

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After Universal, we still had plenty of the day left and so I suggested that we went for food. I’ve always wanted to try Taco bell, and my American friends found that hilarious so we went. In England, we’ve literally got about 2 in the whole country and they’re far away, so this was exciting for me. I had a hard shell Doritos taco with a cool ranch sauce, put it this way, I had 3 in a row for the next 2 days. It was beautiful, and so worth the $1, and even the soda was amazing! I never knew you could get Strawberry and Blueberry sprite, why don’t we have all these cool flavours in the UK? I envy you so much, the citizens of America! ¬†=/ ¬†¬†That night we had drinks by the hotel pool and it was absolutely amazing, it was packed and the DJ had all the tunes going out, it felt surreal because everyone was so posh! The only downside was that the drinks were a little on the expensive side at $14 a cocktail, but that’s expected at somewhere like the Roosevelt. I can’t say I remember much of this night. I certainly made the most of my Saturday night in Hollywood, that’s for ¬†sure.

DAY 5:¬†On day five ¬†went to Griffith Observatory and on a hike to the Hollywood sign (Which we didn’t make!) I must admit, I was very reluctant to do this as ¬†I felt like horrible from ¬†from all of the shots I did the night before, but it was the one thing the lass I went with wanted to do. We got an Uber ¬†up to the observatory, it was really high up and the view was breathtaking, easily the best view I’ve ever seen. I thought the inside was lovely, I love space so it was right up my street. After spending sometime exploring inside and around the grounds, we set off on our walk to the Hollywood sign. Admittedly, I moaned about this a lot, but I am so glad that I did it, as it was the most beautiful walk. I recommend that you go so you can see the sunset, it was so relaxing and I took some awesome photos on my DLSR. It was getting too dark too carry on, and after a few hours we was exhausted, so we made our way back down and phoned an Uber. I am just going to write a little bit on my experience of Uber, and in a nutshell it was diabolical! At least 6 cabs cancelled on us during the course of the week, and we even got in one and they got us lost! On this particular day we really didn’t need this trouble, we’ve been walking hours in the California heat and just wanted to rest, but our phones were on the last leg of battery. Uber cancelled on us, and we couldn’t ring them and had to walk ANOTHER hour to get home. What a bad ending to a great day. ūüė¶

Here a few photos I took on my DSLR from the hike

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DAY 6:¬†This was one of my favourite days, we went to Santa Monica pier and Venice Beach and had a nice, chilled day. We met up with our new American friends, and went swimming and attempted to build some sandcastles ūüėõ I was slightly disappointed with the sea, it wasn’t as blue as I thought. ¬†I think this is partly because I am from England, so countries like Greece and Cyprus are only a mere few hours away, and these countries have the most incredible beaches with the bluest Mediterranean¬†sea, but I didn’t come to the US for the beaches, I came for everything else, so I wasn’t too bothered.

To my delight I found a taco bell on the pier, so I had my favourite ¬†taco (or 3..) After eating we went on the rollercoaster, and as a gamer and a fan of GTA, this was cool as that’s an iconic spot in San Andreas ūüėÄ It was a fun ride too, and we also went ¬†carousel¬†which had starred in a bunch of films so that was really cool to experience.

 

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So since I came to America, I really wanted to get some cornrows after I saw a girl with 3 and it looked really nice, yet simple. I couldn’t see anywhere around Santa Monica, so we went to Venice Beach and I found a little shop that did it for $20 ¬†and it looked great! I wanted it to stay in forever, but my hairs really thin and it only lasted a week. Venice beach was an eyeopener, there was people doing all kinds of crazy shit to make a living, there was artists, a crazy man on rollerblades with a double electric guitar, even a man stood in a trolley (shopping cart) using a big stick to pull him selves along, asking if people want a go, and whilst this was hilarious, I felt bad for these people because it must be hard to get a job if they’re having to do that, but fair play to them. We went back to the hotels to have a drink or two, and to my shock my American friend brought in something that looked like a regular energy drink, but to my horror (ok wrong word, excitement;D) it was 12%! That’s insane! Surprisingly¬†¬†it tasted really good! I had a couple and that was enough for me, didn’t want to spoil the last day with a raging hangover.

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My hair, taken the next day.

DAY 7

 

So day 7 was the last day, it had been such an action packed week I was knackered by this point, and I missed my boyfriend tremendously so I was glad in a way that I was coming home. We was flying overnight, so we had time to do do something, and our plans were to go watch the Late Late Show with James Cordon live in the audience, this was a pretty awesome experience, especially since James is such a national treasure in England, it’s great to see him doing so well! I can’t actually remember the guests names, one was a comedian and one was an actress from American Horror Story, I have never seen that but my cousin was quite excited to see her, but it was the music guests that were the stars of the show for me, and to my delight I got asked to be on the backdrop whilst they’re singing my favourite song of theirs (Figure It Out) What an end to my Hollywood trip, being on TV! My Grandma also saw it from England a couple of hours later, how cool is that? Anyway, the show was very short and we headed back to the hotel to check out, and to make our way to the airport to go back to rainy England.

 

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Me on telly, perfect way to end a trip to LA!

Thanks for reading! It was my first travel blog, so apologies if it wasn’t as informative as others, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it. ¬†Next up, Malta! And then I’ll be back to LA in September as a part of my California trip.

Much love. Amy xx