[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s something about waking up the first day of a trip away, sleepily stretching out in a strange bed, in a new country or town and wallowing in that feeling of complete freedom. Our first morning in Barcelona, peeling the curtains back and blearily peeking out from our bedroom’s terrace onto the busy street, I was so happy to finally see the bright blue sky and sunshine! Our only agenda for the day was to spend a few hours by the beach and most importantly- get some tasty grub to keep up our daily quota of Patatas Bravas. But first, we took a nice long walk around the city.
We had a good nose around the MACBA, watching the skateboarders (I love how skate friendly this city is!) and getting snap happy. This is where Sonar by Day takes place, and it was very weird seeing it so empty. We walked down to Barceloneta, a great spot to people watch and admire the boats and yachts. For lunch, we went to Cal Pinxo, a pretty restaurant overlooking the marina, for paella, clams, baked monkfish, and the best dessert for a hot day- pineapple carpaccio with a scoop of lime and basil sorbet. I deliberately sat in a sunny spot to soak up as much of that glorious sunshine as I could, over a lazy glass of cold rosé. I felt like it was my birthday…
I love how leisurely the locals treat mealtimes. As I swallowed the last bite of our food, there were still friends and families chatting and sharing out their dishes- a nice, slow, leisurely pace (which is my kind of pace to be honest). Afterwards, we carried on with our rambles towards the beach- the walk from Port Vell to Barceloneta is about 15 minutes. The further down the beach you go- towards Port Olympic- the crowds start to thin out a little. Just look out for the metal fish shaped sculpture!
Afterwards, we went back to the apartment where I crashed out for an accidental disco nap. Later that night, we met up with some old friends from school who were randomly in Barcelona over the weekend too! Our last night was full of tapas, mojitos and of course…a late night gelato on the balcony.
I didn’t take photos but my big thumbs up for tapas, thanks to my friends’s recommendation, is Txakolin in the El Born district. It was full of locals, with lovely servers who couldn’t speak a word of English, and delicious tapas. Just pull up a stool- as the food comes out of the kitchen, they bring it over and offer it to you. You keep the sticks that hold the food together- different lengths mean different prices- and at the end they count them up and give you the bill.
For mojitos and cocktails, Ocana in Placa Reial is pretty good. I think it’s fairly new and has a glam industrial vibe going on. Given that it’s in Placa Reial (think Leicester Square style madness) by the time we left- there was an enormous queue to get in. Midnight seemed a pretty good time to go before the queue started!
Goodbye Barcelona- it was short but totally sweet!