Spain Sans Sangria

Believe me I get it- those Spanish fruits of the Gods are tantalizing. Those Spaniards really know how to dazzle our eyes and intrigue our taste buds- but Spain is not just about beaches and booze. It has so much more to offer and its just as appealing without the forbidden nectar.

Barcelona attracts a particular audience- what I like to call “the hipster-crowd.” Tattooed and pierced young adults in their mid-twenties are crawling the streets looking for some action. Thoughts of whirlwind romance and Spanish whispers linger in their ears. It brings liveliness to what would be a purely cultural and artsy city. Spain lives up to it’s expectations of flamenco dancing and sexy surprises with a modern twist. Here are some of my tips on how to live it up without the buzz!

The night-life– Barcelona is exciting! Grab a refreshing coke and hit the streets around 10pm to see the talent of the evening. There are street performers, light shows, and dancing fountains that will keep you entertained all night long.


The “Font Magica,” (The Magic Fountain) has over 2 million visitors a year! Choreographed to inspiring music such as Queen and Madonna, these fountains dance along changing colors as they go. Glorious blues, pinks and yellows reflect off the arches of the streams. It’s completely mesmerizing. You almost expect Mickey Mouse to pop up with his parade of friends at any moment. With almost 4,000 jet streams- there are over 7,000 million combinations of water and light. This really is a mini-Disneyworld. The show lasts about thirty minutes- just enough to give you a taste of Barcelona!

Click here to see show times and more information on the “Font Magica.”

Barcelona is filled with young aspiring optimistic youth dripping with talent. Brave acts set up along the streets perfecting their show each night. This is a time to admire the freedom of showcasing dreams of fame and glory. Imagine you are a judge on America’s Got Talent for a night- for every corner lies another enthusiast! I advise you to keep moving along and keep a little spare change in your pocket. Be warned there are street beer-venders that have cheap offers by the six-pack but just hold on to that coke my friend!

One of my biggest pieces of advice when enjoying the night life in Barcelona is avoiding the crowded bars. I spent most of my time roaming the streets and literally there was a pleasant surprise around every corner . I didn’t venture out alone or in alleyways but for the most part I felt pretty safe. There are many people out in the streets so it felt welcoming- not alarming. Though I caution- the use of fireworks here are liberal and unruly. So be alert and ready to jump out of the way!

Another smart tip is to keep an even walking pace. I didn’t stay at one event too long because I started to feel antsy. Gliding along and keeping the entertainment alive in important. Believe me, there is plenty. I went from live bands to “devil” parades and ended my evening with gymnasts and hula hoops. This way I was able to see everything and not feel the temptation of the cheap six-packs.

The historical aspect– now Barcelona is not all night-life. We have to give it up to the architectural geniuses who built these amazing landmarks and churches. Antoni Gaudi was the incredible visionary behind the famous Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. Rich in history, this religious masterpiece will continue being modified until 2026 as Gaudi died before he was able to complete his work. I recommend the audio tour to really learn more about the history of its making.

La Sagrada

La Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is not Gaudi’s only creation here in Barcelona, oh no, he also built a little gnome town called Park Guell. This beautiful garden fairy-tale looks like something out of a storybook. Built on Carmel Hill, it was Gaudi’s vision of “modernism.” Historically, it represents architectural elements that are unique and enchanting. It opened as a public park the year that Gaudi died, in 1926.


The food– tapas on every corner- a foodies dream! It’s the perfect town to snack throughout the day and try many different kinds of bites. Spain is known for their small sharable dishes called “tapas” that can be anything from French fries to French snails!

One stop we made was at “Taco Alto.” I don’t normally advertise businesses but this place is a must for mini tacos. With 5 different types of unique hot sauce and homemade guacamole, I had to make a quick stop each day and try every combination! An absolute must for any food lover!

Now I think that everyone should be able to enjoy the wonders of Barcelona regardless of its challenges of staying in recovery. Remember to be cautious and heed to the warning signs of temptation. Abort any mission that feels overwhelming or too daunting. As for the whirlwind romance, you’re more likely to run into a pony-tailed redneck named Joe from North Carolina than a sexy Spaniard with a passion for the Paso Doble. But we can all dream, can’t we?

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