Barcelona in February is actually a pretty good idea. The weather is fairly warm and it’s off season so there are not as many tourists. Also apparently it’s a good idea to get kidnapped to Barcelona. But don’t worry, no people or animals were hurt in the process.
But seriously, what would you do in this situation: it’s a late Friday afternoon. You’ve been going to an acting class for 4 months now and tonight is your first “show” in front of a real audience. You recently got a cat and you live alone, so you cannot leave the cat to look after itself. Your best friend is coming to town for the weekend and you haven’t seen each other in about 2 months.
You go to your boyfriend’s place because you have to supposedly talk about some project. You get there and he shows you this old Heineken commercial:
While you watch the ad, you keep asking yourself and him “Why are we watching this instead of talking about the project?”. You get no answer. The video ends, he gets up and says to you: “We have tickets for a flight to Barcelona in 2 hours. Are you coming or not?” Your first reaction is “Are you kidding me?!” Then he shows you a backpack with some of your clothes, claiming he’s dead serious. “What about the show? What about my friend? What about the cat? OMG, OMG!” Long story short, he had taken care of everything.
So here we are, in the back seat of a taxi, going to the airport to catch a flight to Barcelona. And I had a totally different plan for the weekend. And it was so awesome that my plan got ruined! It actually turns out that it’s good to have your plans fail from time to time. Life has something better planned for you already.
Actually, it’s been on my bucket list to go to the airport one day and just get on the next plane to anywhere. I guess this experience comes pretty close to scratching it off the agenda.
Late night. We arrive at Ciudad Condal (City of Counts) as it’s nicknamed. We stayed at this pretty cool neighborhood: El Poble-Sec. A weekend is definitely not enough to get to know a vibrant city like Barcelona but there were some pretty cool places we visited. In no particular order here’s a list of the places I recommend trying when in Barcelona:
“A place where the locals eat”. A pretty cool place for pinchos and tapas. They are all either €1 or €1.50. They have both salty pinchos (with salmon, sausage, tuna, mini burgers, chicken, different veggies) and sweet pinchos (with strawberries and cheese, jam, chocolate). It was pretty crowded when we got there but that’s how you know that a place is worth it! So don’t be shy to make your way through the crowd. It has a score of 8.8/10 on Foursquare.
Don’t miss this place if you happen to look for extraordinary brunch! Sandwiches, eggs, wonderful latte and flat white – indulge yourself. I had one of the sandwiches – Kiko (chicken, tomato, avocado, some nice mayo sauce) and it was delicious. Wash it down with some freshly squeezed orange juice and a cappuccino. The coffee there is great. Plus, the interior is pretty cool and the staff is very friendly. A solid 9.1/10 on Foursquare.
Long live seafood! My personal favorites from this restaurant were: the deep fried calamari with squid mayonnaise and the pineapple with rum for dessert. Also, they have the traditional Spanish-style toast with tomato (pan con tomate) which is great to nibble on before the food is ready. Because of the prices and atmosphere, I expected the staff to be more polite and professional but their attitude was more friendly and casual. Another 9.1/10 on Foursquare for Palo Cortao.
Totally fell in love with this place! It serves brunch during the day and it turns into something like a cocktail bar in the evening. The staff were beyond friendly and the place had an impressive touch of industrial design. The toast with salmon/roquette and tomatoes/ricotta were delicious, the flat white was on point. You may find it a bit hipster-ish but I think it was pretty charming. Highly recommended! 8.9/10 on Foursquare.
We also went to this really highly praised dessert shop in El Raval – Escribà. To be honest, it didn’t really stand up to the Foursquare rating: 8.8/10. It was extremely small and packed. We waited for about 30 mins for our waffles which were not fully baked and they were honestly not that big of a deal. Also, the staff ignored us (and all customers for that matter) a lot. Definitely wouldn’t recommend it.
But if you’re looking for something sweet and yummy, you’d better give Rocambolesc a try. They have delicious ice cream and the place has a very cute design that reminds of an ice cream factory.
From all the touristy places, we only managed to go to La Sagrada Familia and La Pedrera (Casa Milà). The Magic Fountain was closed for maintenance. It was too windy on Sunday so we skipped going all the way up to Montjuïc hill. We did stroll a lot though – Barrio Gotico (Gothic Quarter), Las Ramblas, Barceloneta were my top fav areas to walk around. It really helps you get the vibe of the city and let it sink in. I’m definitely saving going to Park Guell by Gaudi for my next trip to Barcelona though.
What else would you recommend to visit or do when in Barcelona?