Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh, Barcelona: Where the Men Are Yummy and the Architecture Is Breathtaking

It seems like a decade has gone by since my wonderful trip to Barcelona, the capital of Spain, located right on the Mediterranean coast. I threw in going to Ibiza for good measure, beautiful beaches, and some additional, over-the-top party time. Ibiza is an island 80km from Spain, so roughly an hour plane ride, directly in the Mediterranean Sea. Although, my trip was not a decade ago, it went quickly. My journey for “the unexpected” kicked off on the evening of August 26th. I had to meet my friend, Miss ST at JFK Airport. Well, here is where the fun began…

I’m not great with getting to places on time with the exception of the airport, the annual Dolce & Gabbana sample sale in November and work (occasionally). However, I am a stickler for being at airport in a timely manner. Trust, it’s a royal pain in the ass to miss a flight, especially an international flight. You would think that I got to JFK at least an hour before my plane would pull off. Negative. I appeared 35 minutes before take off with an arsenal of luggage. I approached the red cap services outside with a clam and delightful attitude. I took out my passport with the hideous picture and itinerary.

“Hi, I’m here for the 7pm flight to Barcelona,” I said with a smile.

“Oh, you’re going to Barcelona, let me get you checked in,” Mr. Red Cap replied.

By the end of our conversation, Mr. Red Cap informed me that I could not check in my very heavy luggage since it was 30 minutes before the flight, but I could still catch the plane with me and my carry on.

My mind was racing as I only had about 2 minutes to make a decision. My friend who drove me to the airport encouraged me to get on the plane. He offered to ship my suitcase to the hotel.

I got my ticket and raced to the gate. Miss ST was waiting for me as I had told her all of the details on my friend’s cell phone while checking in to get a ticket. Yes!!! I was happy that I’d made it to Spain. But, I had no cell phone (lost it a few weeks before the trip…very long story) and no clothes. Hey, a trip isn’t a trip if you don’t have some exciting stories to tell when you return. This vacation was starting off lovely for me (I meant that in a sarcastic way…haha).

I’m sure that you don’t want to read a long, boring, blog post about Spain. If you can get out of the country, I would certainly recommend an escape to Barcelona and Ibiza if you can squeeze in an island for a totally different vibe. Honestly, I prefer Barcelona. I’m a city girl at heart. It’s a huge city with a lot of flavor.

So, here are Joi’s rules for a great trip in Barcelona and Ibiza:

Rule #1: You have to do a tour or two. Barcelona is a city filled with fruitful and detailed architectural design. There are historic buildings everywhere that are preserved and still used today.

First, we went on a city on and off bus tour. Yes, with the double decker buses. You can take fabulous photos and get on and off the bus as you please. In addition
, we did another tour from Catalunya Bus Turistic Company to Torres Wine Vineyard, Montserrat, and Sitges.
-Torres is a family owned business the produces and distributes wine throughout Spain.
-Montserrat is a mountain 40km from Barcelona, where a thousand-year-old benedictine monastery is housed. Monks live in this area. It’s like a mini town on top of the mountains. The view is spectacular.
-Sitges is 20 minutes outside of Barcelona. Known for it’s inheritances to the “americanos”. It has a rich architectural heritage with gorgeous mansions that were converted into hotels.

Warning: The tour was from 8am-5pm.You can imagine how we felt the morning of the tour after a night of clubbing, but it was worth it.

Rule #2: You got to go to the beach! Ok, so we were a little lazy on this tip and I had no clothes for part of my trip. We only went to one beach in Barceloneta. Note: Just ignore the beach vendors selling trinkets.

Ibiza: We went to the beach everyday in Playa d’en Bossa. We got a free beach bed, free drinks and free ice cream. Now, that’s what I call a successful day at the beach.

Rule #3: Don’t get henna tattoos on the beaches in Barcelona!!!!! I broke out into a rash and so did Miss ST.

Rule #4: You got to eat at some cool spots. I had two favorite places:
-Morelia Restaurant, great wine, great pasta, and great salad. All of the food was fresh.
-Shoko Restaurant,
http://www.shoko.biz/, it’s a beach front place with tasty mojitos, trendy atmosphere, good-looking men (staff and customers), and delicious East Asian cuisine.

Rule #5: You got to go shopping. Yes, I know that our country is in a recession and as a result the Dollar to the Euro sucks right now. But break out your piggy bank and try to shop, shop, and shop. I would suggest shopping at stores that are not in the US. I purchased a chic coat from Desigual,
http://www.desigual.com/ (the “S” in this is actually faces backwards on the logo). The designers for this brand use vivid colors, prints and the fit is amazing. This is definitely my favorite store in Spain.

Rule #6: You got to hit the club scene. Yeah, I partied hard in Barcelona and Ibiza. I did realize that the club circuit is very small in Barc
elona. Certain men that I met during my trip, I saw more than once thanks to the club scene. From Biki in Barcelona to Pacha in Ibiza, it was awesome! We found venues that played hip-hop which made my day.
Bonus: If you want to start the party early than go to Bora Bora in Ibiza. It’s like a daytime party on the beach. It felt similar to Wet Willies in Miami.
Rule #7: You got to stay in a comfortable place. Whether you’re staying at a friend’s house or in a hotel, just make sure that you are happy and relaxed where you sleep.We stayed at the Grand Hotel Central,
http://www.grandhotelcentral.com/ near Las Ramblas. It had complementary breakfast, free business center, rooftop pool, soft beds and an attractive male staff. Oh, and did I mention a rooftop pool with a view of the city. What more could you want?

Ibiza: We stayed at the Palladium Palace Ibiza Resort,
http://www.fiestahotelgroup.com/. This place is more of a family resort. I actually enjoyed the experience. The meals were included and it was right on the beach. Be careful: the beds are hard. But you get to drink free alcohol all day.

Rule #8: Last but not least, you got to meet new people. Hey, you’re on vacation. So got out there and mingle! Miss ST and I had the ball in our court. Honestly, there are no Black people out there, especially sistas. We were rare. Trust, you are more noti
ceable when you are different from everyone else and we played it to our advantage. Most of all, we had fun!!!
I met some cool and beautiful people while visiting Spain. I partied with some, had dinner with some and even exchanged some email addresses along the way. My new friend, Carlos (aka Carlito or Los) whom I later discovered is Latin American, a model and a soccer (futbol) player living in Barcelona. We had a
brief encounter on my first night in Barcelona at Club Biki. Maybe it was his big, brown eyes, maybe it was just my excitement to be in Spain, but there’s a mesmerizing energy from men who live overseas. I ran into him a few times on the club scene. Another example would be Sarah and Miguel, a couple from London who were fun, spontaneous, and down-to-earth that I met on the magnificent beach in Ibiza.

I became acquainted with many people from places like Switzerland to Florence to Holland to Liverpool. Best of all, everyone had great things to say about Presidential Candidate, Senator Obama once they discovered that I was from the US. Go Obama!!!

Barcelona and Ibiza, What else can I say? I’m ready to go back, so call me when you book the plane tickets (wink, wink).


  1. yo, i hit Barcelona back in 2005, best week of my life....EVER..

    def met cool new people every single day... great city.. glad you had a blast

  2. Barcelona has BEAUTIFUL people and the kind of architecture that makes one want to become a storyteller! It's the kind of place where the party never ends from the food, to the futbol(soccer), to the bars & clubs.. Joi! Did you notice the big fat ice cubes that stack on top of each other in the long, thin glasses while you're squeezing blood from your purse to afford a cocktail?! Oh, wait..., two beautiful, unique-looking women strolling around with open hearts and no cares in the world but a good party? You probably left your purses at home! Yay Barcelona! xoxo, Phyllis

  3. A very good post to enjoy the movement of nature and know the god creativity.