June 20, 2016 |

Exploring Spain

New Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - SpainSpain! Where do we begin?! We’ve been back from our Mediterranean Cruise with Princess for a little over two weeks now and thinking back on it still feels like a dream. This was a trip we didn’t think we would take till much later on in our lives, so we’re still a little in shock about it all. We keep thinking, “Did that all really just happen?!” Our adventure began in Sitges, Spain…a charming little town about 40 minutes outside of Barcelona. We stayed there for the night before embarking on the ship the next day. Upon arriving at our hotel, we quickly freshened up from our 12 hour flight, thankfully caught a second wind (which was probably more like a third or forth one at that point) and hopped on a bus to Barcelona. We only had 24 hours in the city so we wanted to soak up as much as we could.

Read on to hear about some of our favorite places and see more photos from of our time in
Sitges, Barcelona, Cartagena, Marbella & Puerto Banus!

New Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - Barcelona, SpainNew Darlings - SpainBARCELONA
We really wish we had more time here. From wandering through the ancient streets with new friends, Olivia and Blake who we met on the ship, to grabbing tapas at MILaGRITOS (try the octopus!), and soaking in some of the must-see works of Gaudí, we couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear. We spent most of our afternoon at Parc Güell, which was built in the early 1900s, with its intricate stone work and winding steps, along with Gaudí’s home.  Each day in Europe was more eye opening and surreal than the last. These were places we studied back in college in Art History courses. At the time we very naively went through the motions of our classes, unfortunately not fully appreciating the photos in those books, and the words from our professors, but seeing it first hand was truly something else. The intricate detail and craftsmanship that went into every piece…the mosaic work… the color choices…it was something that left us absolutely speechless as we wandered through the park. For two people that would go to parks almost every day while dating, this was a real treat, complete with live music by some local string musicians. We also stopped at La Sagrada Familia, which is considered to be the most famous of Gaudí’s work and has been under construction since 1892. We didn’t climb the tower, although we hear the views are incredible! Standing infront of it for a few brief movements, in between the crowds and numerous tourist stops, was simply perfect. There was so much to see and do and we were sad to see the night come to an end, but we were lucky enough to run into some locals onour way to dinner and get an amazing recommendation for Flax and Kale. We’re literally still dreaming about that meal. It was a great healthy option and everything was so fresh and tasty.
New Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - Sitges, SpainNew Darlings - SitgesNew Darlings - Sitges, SpainSITGES
Our hotel, Hotel San Sebastian, was right on the boardwalk overlooking the beach. It was such a peaceful area, next to the cutest little restaurant, La Pepa Del Mar. We enjoyed some paella before embarking on the cruise ship, to make our way to Cartagena. If we lived in Spain, we feel like this would be the perfect place for a weekend getaway and a little r&r, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

New Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - Cartagena, SpainNew Darlings - Cartagena, SpainNew Darlings - Cartagena, SpainNew Darlings - CartagenaNew Darlings - Spain - GelatoNew Darlings - Cartagena, SpainNew Darlings - Cartagena, SpainNew Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - SpainCARTAGENA
While in Cartagena, we went on a tapas tour, which was one of the group excursions with Princess. It was great way to get to know some of the other cruisers on the ship, while getting a taste of some of the amazing restaurants in Cartagena. We had one of the sweetest tour guides, who was so enthusiastic about the history of the city. While on this cruise, there were some cities that we felt we just didn’t have enough time in. Barcelona was one of them, but Cartagena (or at least the area where the ship docked), felt small enough for us to explore in the few hours we had, without ever feeling rushed. We stopped at five different restaurants and tasted an array of dishes from savory to sweet, with a little sangria thrown into the mix. Our favorite was definitely a potato and egg dish from Manda Huevos. We couldn’t help but stop for some gelato and snap a few photos of the beautiful architecture before getting back on the ship. The city was actually destroyed in the Spanish Civil War and has been being rebuilt slowly since then. Below is a little peek at our crew for the week. From left to right: Christine, Ashley from Sugar and Cloth, Sara, Cassie from Coco Kelly, and Jared. It was a pretty fun group!New Darlings - Spain Tapas TourNew Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - SpainIt was so windy these days, so a top knot or milk braids were in order to try to battle the humidity and wind tunnel affect. Haha.
New Darlings - SpainNew Darlings - Travel - SpainNew Darlings - SpainPUERTO BANUS + MARBELLA
Our time in Puerto Banus and Marbella was short but beautiful. On this day we docked in Gibraltar, but chose an excursion which took us across the Spanish border and explored the Costa del Sol resort in Marbella and then some of the famous marinas in Puerto Banus. This was such a relaxed day wandering through the cobblestone streets and grabbing lunch in Orange Square. Orange Square felt like a movie set, with pretty little shops, charming fruit stands, and white washed buildings accompanied by some of the most amazing plants and greenery.

New Darlings - SpainThis was our last stop in Spain before making our way to France! We definitely got to check a few things off our bucket list that we’ve been wanting to see/do while there. More from our Mediterranean cruise coming soon!

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This post was made in partnership with Princess Cruises. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the companies that help support this blog.

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