For me, step one when organising a holiday is booking the flights. Flights are the most expensive component (if you plan on staying in a cheap hostel, that is) and if you book the hostel first but have no way of getting there, well… that’s not ideal. If you have flights booked already, then you’re as good as halfway there.
The next step is sorting out where you’re going to sleep and personally, I live and breathe Hostelworld when it comes to this. After sifting through the different ways one can order their search (would you like to have the hostels with the worst reviews at the top or those that are the furthest from the city centre?), I finally found my match – Fabrizzio’s Guesthouse. I recommend this hostel to any small groups that wish to stay in Barça: in my case there were 3 of us and we managed to find a dorm for only 3 people which, believe me, is very difficult. At Fabrizzio’s there are only 5 bedrooms and therefore the spacious living room, 2 bathrooms and generous kitchen provide its few guests with plenty of space to spread out and unwind.
The only issue that we encountered with Fabrizzio’s was finding it: we ended up blundering into a huge Modernista tenement, asking in faltering Spanish where we could dump our bags. Being no fault of the hostel’s – considering that we had the address, had been provided with numerous maps and even a photo of the front doorbell – this should not discourage you from staying here. Eventually we found it, and its authenticity made up for the puddles of sweat forming on the floor around us. There are many original multiple-occupancy buildings still in Barcelona and they have a very specific feel to them: dark, cool entrance halls; cold marble stairways winding round an old and creaky lift which still has a grate and no real closing mechanism; huge oak doors with rusty knockers leading to the individual flats. Fabrizzio’s is located in one of these apartments, giving you a fix of Old Barça before you even leave the hostel. Oh, and the shower is fantastically powerful.
Having relieved ourselves of our bags we headed out for a meander. The walk from the hostel on Carrer del Consell de Cent to La Rambla – Barcelona’s busiest and most famous pedestrianised street – takes a good half hour but you get to see much of the city’s Gothic Quarter on the way, so it’s well worth it. La Rambla is a bizarre street filled with an amalgamation of strange curiosities, with one of its most notable quirks being that it sells animals along the side of the road. After cooing at the tiny bunnies and laughing at the baby tortoises who were climbing on each other in an attempt to escape, we found ourselves outside the Museu de l’Erotica (Museum of Sex). We decided to forgo a visit to this particular establishment because situated on the opposite side of the street is the famous Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, or simply La Boqueria. This huge market promised to be an absolutely delicious way to while away an afternoon, and so that’s exactly what we found ourselves doing. Eating a nectarine the size of my face and washing it down with freshly made passion fruit juice was indeed much my idea of a perfect afternoon – marginally better than staring gormlessly at a statue of a giant penis, perhaps.