5 Things to Do in Barcelona

In November, I visited Barcelona for the first time with my friend Sarah before she left London for Australia (😭😭). It has taken me a little while to write this post, but here are five things to do in the city!

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Visit… the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Park Güell

Gaudí is everywhere in Barcelona. The Catalan architect’s work is unusual, for this Londoner, and a delight. These spots are pretty standard for any traveller to Barcelona. I particularly enjoyed the stained glass windows (spring, summer, autumn and winter-inspired) of the Sagrada. It’s worth checking out the audio guide and taking a trip up the spire. Casa Batlló was stunning – so much blue and green and turquoise! – and my favourite out of the three, whilst Park Güell is perfect for a sunny day. Don’t forget to book your tickets for all three in advance!

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Go on… The Shadow of the Wind walking tour

Sarah loves Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s popular series for bookworms and so we booked places on The Shadow of the Wind walking tour. It was fascinating to visit places mentioned in the book (such as the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books). As we weren’t in tourist season, we were the only two on the tour and so could ask plenty of questions. Our guide kindly kept it spoiler-free for me, too, seeing as I was only halfway through the book (silly, silly Stacey).

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Eat brunch at… Federal Café

We visited this Australian café in Barcelona twice because we loved it so much – and I had avocado and poached egg on toast both times. It’s certainly a ‘hipster coffee shop’ but, honestly, those are my favourites.

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Drink gin cocktails at… Dux

After dinner, we stumbled across this gorgeous, elegant cocktail bar and it was the perfect spot to sit and chat. I enjoy fruity cocktails (although they don’t love me…) and hanging out at Dux was a great way to spend our evening. In Spain, people eat and drink very, very late and so everywhere you go is super quiet and you can always get a table! Dux had a lovely piano in the corner, the tables were candlelit, and the menu offered pop culture-inspired cocktails.

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Browse… Barcelona’s many bookshops

Barcelona is a haven for bibliophiles and I was fortunate to go on holiday with a fellow book industry friend, so bookshops were at the top of our list. One of my favourites was Altaïr. This travel bookshop was cosy, homely and had a little café with sofas. I buy a copy of Le Petit Prince every time I visit a new country and I bought El Principito in La Central. We drank coffee outside and I enjoy playing around on the swing seat. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go to Gigamesh, the popular sci-fi bookshop – next time! (I used a handy Guardian article to plan our bookish adventure).

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We only tried churros twice so I wouldn’t dare recommend the best place to eat them! But a few places on our list to go to were Xurreria Dels Banys Nous, Chok – The Chocolate Kitchen, Granja M Viader, and La Nena.

Autumn TBR 🍂

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It’s finally autumn, my favourite time of the year. Hot chocolate. Cosy jumpers. Blankets. And curling up with a new book. I finished my summer TBR in August, so it’s time to pick a new TBR!

I’m really looking forward to working my way through these 10 books over the next few months. There’s an exciting mix of contemporary and sci-fi, LGBT+ and translated fiction, and YA, non-fiction & literary fiction. I love having a diverse TBR after my recent stint of YA contemporary romances.

I’ve already read Emery Lord’s The Start of Me and You, about sixteen-year-old Paige, who’s mostly known for being the girlfriend of a boy who drowned… and she wants to claim her life back. For my work book club this month, we’re reading Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West: ‘In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, Saeed and Nadia share a cup of coffee, and their story begins’. I rarely pick up literary fiction, so it’ll be a nice little challenge for me.

I’m pretty intrigued about Naomi Alderman’s The Power since it won the Women’s Prize this year (awesome women with electric shock powers, what’s not to like?), plus Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (translated by Deborah Smith). It won the Man Booker International Prize and is described as a ‘fraught, disturbing and beautiful’ story set in modern day South Korea.

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I cannot believe that I’ve not yet read Patrick Ness’ Release – a story inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever – because I normally read his new books straight away. I’ve also heard excellent things about David Owen’s The Fallen Children – inspired by John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos – and Lisa Heathfield’s Flight of a Starling

In October, I’m taking a trip to Berlin and so I want to re-read Anna Funder’s Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall. It’s a captivating collection of interviews with people who have first-hand experience of the Berlin wall, such as 16-year-old Miriam, who attempted to escape West Berlin.

And lastly, I cannot wait to read Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End – I loved History is All You Left Me (and I’m sure this one will make me cry, too) – and Nina LaCour’s beautiful We Are Okay because I recently fell in love with Everything Leads to You.

Phew!

Have you read any of these?

Added to My Bookshelves: July & August


I love book-shopping and in July and August, I visited four bookshops. I walked with a friend through Edinburgh’s beautiful streets to browse the shelves at Golden Hare Books. I’d love to get back into adult fiction and so I bought a short novel that I’ve heard so much about, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian. It’s described as a ‘fraught, disturbing and beautiful’ story set in modern day South Korea.

I went on an adventure to see Lucy and we visited three bookshops in Bath, where I bought Lobsters (one of my favourite books that I only owned a proof of), How to Be Danish (because I’m obsessed with all things Scandi), and Becoming Betty (written by Eleanor Wood, who I met at Chris Russell’s launch and who was absolutely lovely). Lucy also kindly gave me a copy of Will Hill’s After the Fire. (See Lucy’s book haul here). I adore Bath and have previously blogged about my visits to Toppings & Co. and Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.

I was also sent a bunch of books for review. I’m particularly excited to read Here We Are Now, all about music, family and friendship, and The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night, because I’ve been thinking about giving short stories another go. Jen Campbell’s new book is described as a collection of ‘twelve haunting stories’. I was also sent Another Place, Everybody Hurts, Alex Approximately, Ringer(although I still need to pick up Replica), The Treatment and a sampler of Leigh Bardugo’s The Language of Thorns. It’ll be a busy autumn!

And lastly, my lovely housemate Charlie gave me a copy of A Change is Gonna Come, which I’ve heard nothing but excellent things about. I can’t wait to delve into this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers.

Are any of these books on your TBR or wishlist?

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