I don't usually make a habit of revisiting places; it's not in my nature to spend money seeing somewhere I've already planted my flag when there's a whole world at my disposal. However, with 17,000 islands in Indonesia alone, it can sometimes be easier to forgo the long selection process and make a beeline for a place you know and love.
Faced with a dizzying number of potential routes for my whirlwind tour of Europe, I decided to visit somewhere I'd always wanted to go, somewhere that would take me on a comforting trip down memory lane and somewhere entirely new to me; somewhere a bit spontaneous. Paris, Barcelona and Venice: three countries in two weeks and if I'm being honest, I was most excited about returning to my beloved Barcelona, where I feel right at home with tapas, tinto and temperate climes. My other motive for coming back, aside from the fact I quite simply fell in love with the place at 15, is down to one of my favourtie Almodovar films, Todo Sobre Mi Madre. For a reason I'll never be able to explain, the scene in which the main character travels from Madrid to Barcelona after losing her son in a car accident moves me to tears, particularly when the camera pans over the city and the breathtakingly beautiful Sagrada Familia. I found myself gawking at this incredible feat of architecture on three occasions during my trip, twice at around 4am when the crowds had long dispersed and the darkness shrouded it in an added layer of mystery and splendour that made it difficult to tear myself away.
I revisited a few spots I hit with the fam a decade (gulp) ago: Park Guell was just as gorgeous as I remember, the Magic Fountain brought back nice memories and the weird and wonderful buildings that flank the leafy boulevards are still as fabulously eccentric as I remember - I love that in the middle of your fairly average looking street you'll suddenly spot a conical orange tower rising like something out of a fairy tale, or an oddly shaped façade decorated in a style entirely inconsistent with the rest of the calle. While I was keen to go back to some of the tourist magnets, the majority of the trip consisted of chillaxing to the max. If you can block out the constant drone of 'mojito mojito', the beach is a cool place to spend the day, and Parc de la Ciutadella is an excellent place to lie in a heap on a hangover (sorry Leigh!).
*LOVE how cheap everything is here - €1.19 for a bottle of wine (bordering on drinkable) and €4.50 for a 20 pack of cigs. Epic!