The World Begins With Every Kiss by Joan Fontcuberta
Friday I arrived in Barcelona El Prat (the airport) at 6:15 pm and the car I had booked never showed up, so after a 30 minute wait I called the company. When they still didn’t show up, at the meeting point they had suggested, a half hour later, I called my hotel who told med to take a taxi. That I did, and that was even cheaper, it only cost me 28€, which I thought was reasonable (the booked car would have been 35€).
I checked in at my hotel and got ready to go out for dinner. The place I went the first night is called Tapas 24 and I got the place recommended by a colleague. I had read online that a must-try was the McFois Burger and a Bikini Sandwich, so I had to try that, and I let the waiter choose a third dish, which was a spicy lamb skewer. It was VERY good, especially the burger with fois gras. The place is owned by the Michein-starred chef Carles Abellan and it’s not possible to do reservations, so you just stand in line until there is a free spot in the bar or a table. I only waited 5 minutes, and had a nice spot at the bar with a view to the kitchen.
The view from the balcony of my hotel. - and - the Bikini sandwich at Tapas 24
Afterwards I went to a bar at Plaça Reial called Ocana. People were celebrating Carnival there, so a lot of people were dressed up. I just had a glass of wine before I went back to the hotel. It could be a cool place to go out to party, and it’s located next to the Rambla, so it’s pretty central located.
Saturday I got up and had an amazing breakfast at the hotel breakfast buffet in the basement. The breakfast area was very cozy. After breakfast I went to the Picasso Museum, which was only a 5 minute walk from my hotel. The entrance was 11€ and I guess I spent 45 minutes to an hour there.
After Picasso I went for a walk. I saw the Cathedral and walked in very narrow and cozy streets, ending up at Las Rambla (1,2 kilometres street in central Barcelona, very popular for tourists). Here I found the coolest Food Market - the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria or just La Boqueria . Unfortunately I wasn’t hungry yet. I only had some cranberry seeds and a coconut/banana shake…I don’t know what happened with that combination, I just had to try something, but you could buy everything from candy, nuts, crepes, tapas (cheese, meat etc.), to fresh or cocked fish, fruits and so on. It's definitely a must-see. I discovered that they are closed on Sundays, when I returned the next day.
The view from outside the Picasso Museum - and - the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia
At the end of the Rambla, just before Plaça Catalunya there was a couple of good shops, so I did a bit of shopping. Of course! Afterwards I walked in the sun (the weather was perfect, about 15 degrees celsius) and I went to Bar Cañete to have lunch. This is also a place I was recommended, and actually it was also very good. The food is a bit pricey, but definitely recommendable. I had two starters and a “main course”, because the waiter told me the dishes would be small and that I definitely could eat 3 of them. For starters I had a Lobster Croquette and Shrimp torta, and as a main course I choose the Aged beef tartare with French fries. All the dishes are called “snacks”, but it was clearly enough for lunch with these 3 dishes.
The food at Bar Cañete
I went back to the hotel and changed to my running gear. In order to see “everything” I wasn’t finished being a tourist that day, so I ran to La Sagrada Familia (Church). The church is designed by the Catalan Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. Even though I haven’t seen Harry Potter, this is a building I could see in one of those movies. It was very extraordinary and both beautiful and scary at the same time. It was pretty to see it at night with all the lights. I only saw it from outside, which I thought was enough for me. Then I ran back to the hotel. A good 6K run.
For dinner I went to Boca Grande, which is a very hip place. So popular that I couldn’t even get a table, but I had met a very nice driver, who called and insisted, so luckily I got a spot in the bar. It was a very nice evening with croquette, mussels, white wine and this time I needed dessert. One of the good things, when your travelling alone, is that you easily get to speak to other people. Stangers are more likely to make an approach, when they can see that you are on your own. The lady next to me was on her own as well and we already started our conversation after 10-15 minutes, when I ordered the same wine as she was having. Later I learned that she and I are in the same business, but unlike me, she has been in the business for 30 years. Suddenly we had a lot more to talk about, and we actually ended up sharing desserts. After Boca Grande I went to a very cozy bar - La Confiteria - and had a couple of drinks.
Pictures from the dinner at Boca Grande
After breakfast Sunday I had to change hotel. It wasn’t possible to book the last night online at the first hotel, so I found another nice hotel - Hotel Barcelona Catedral . The room was twice as big than the first one, and I really liked it. I was early, so my room wasn’t ready when I arrived, but I just left my luggage there and went sightseeing. I walked through Plaça Catalunya and up Passeig de Gràcia to see Casa Battló, which is also a work by the famous architect Gaudí.
Afterwards I went to another food market - El National! It was early lunchtime, so there wasn’t a lot of people there, but I could only image how cool the vibe could be a late afternoon. It’s an inside food market with a lot of nice spots and I guess there is something for every taste.
I walked back up Las Rambla to Plaça Reial, which I must say is really a tourist trap. I decided I wouldn’t eat there and only had a Clara con Limón (beer with lemonade) in the sun. For lunch I wanted to have paella (when in Spain) and I decided to pay a visit to a fish restaurant - Los Caracoles - my mom has spoken very well about. The restaurant was next to the Plaça Reial, so it was perfect.
Casa Battló - and - sightseeing
After lunch I went back to the hotel and checked in. My feet was hurting from all the walking, so I decided to get a cab and go to the beach. The driver dropped me of at Port Vell (which means the Old Harbour). It was a bit windy, but the sun was still out and it felt great to stand in the sand and watch the ocean with the sun in my face. After some time at the beach I walked along the harbour to a shopping mall - Maramagnum. I wouldn’t call it a good mall, but I end up buying a couple of things. Well it isn’t a real vacation if you don’t shop a bit…every day! That night I spent in bed with Netflix after having Churros with chocolate sauce for dinner (what the...?) at an old cafeteria close to Las Ramblas.
Monday was check out day, and I went for a short walk in the morning to have coffee and a croissant, and then I went directly to the airport. I highly recommend that you check in at home on the computer, because then you can skip the long check-in line and go directly to the bag-drop, even there, there can be a line (and there was). With Vueling (the Spanish low-cost airline) it isn't possible to check in at the self-check-in system in the airport (in Copenhagen).
All in all it was a very good trip and if you haven’t been to Barcelona yet I think you should start planning your next vacation.
I am definitely going back!