I’ve been in Barcelona with my daughter for a four day break. We booked it very last minute when she found herself unexpectedly between jobs and I managed to juggle my work days. Unbelievably I’d never been to Barcelona – what a massive error. I knew I’d love it, so not sure why it has taken me so long to get there. I’m going to have to go back regularly now to make up for lost time. We had an amazing time. Loved hanging out together and did a lot of eating and drinking. The weather was glorious – very warm in the day and windy – hence we also managed to get burnt on day one which was a big mistake! Very much cooler in the evenings. April was the perfect time (and temperature) to go though to get away from grey London and it wasn’t busy either.
Barcelona has everything. We walked everywhere, stayed in a wonderful hotel (The W) which was on the beachfront along the famous Barceloneta Boardwalk, which had fabulous view over the Mediterranean and was very well located for all the walking we did! The city was clean and lively. The people seemed happy, friendly and beautiful. Liberal too – lots of same sex couples holding hands, which was lovely to see. We had no sense that we were going to get mugged for our phones at any time, despite hearing that repeatedly from people before we arrived – of course it happens, but it does in London too. In fact I dropped my jumper on a walk and when we went back to find it, someone had kindly draped it on a bench for me to collect!) I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many council workers cleaning, painting, collecting rubbish et al. We did all the usual things and I’m not sure it’s going to be helpful to do a tourist itinerary as everyone else in the world has already been! But I do have lots of photographs to share, so it’s a photo blog and a couple of restaurant recommendations – our favourite one was El Xampanyet a lively, cosy bar offering traditional tapas with a great vibe – you can’t book and you need to expect a queue. The only good news is lots of people choose to stand up to eat in there, so the queue moves quite quickly. Also, sometimes, it’s good to get some ideas of what to do when travelling with your adult children! We did more than 15K steps a day!
Slight hitch as our original BA flight got cancelled just the day before, but they moved us on to next flight leaving.
Arrive and get a cab to the W hotel from the airport (about 30 minutes drive)
We got upgraded to a sea view room! Absolutely stunning views:-
Drinks by the pool:-
Walked along the promenade into town. The beach is wonderful. So much to see – ranging from naked men basking in the spring sunshine, padel tennis, rollerbladers, skateboarders, dog walkers, hen parties, paddle boarders, sailors, body builders and gymnasts swinging on the communal gym equipment, friends and families just hanging out, beach sellers, pentanque players, joggers and walkers like us.
Shame the beautiful light doesn’t make me look like my beautiful daughter!
The view on the way into town at sunset:-
What was to become our favourite square where the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar is based and a war memorial – Place del Fossar de les Moreres:-
This became our favourite cocktail bar – Etniko – so cute and friendly:-
El Xampanyet for supper which was magnificent! They make their own champagne which was 15 euros for a litre! Hardly surprising they always have a queue outside. Check when they’re open though as they were closed over the weekend we were there.
This photo does not do these orgasmic chocolate truffles with olive oil and sea salt justice! Definitely order those though:-
The street the bar is on, Paceta de Montcada:-
Our hotel beckoning, on the walk back:-
Delicious breakfast on the downstairs terrace with very friendly staff. Needed pancakes for extra sustenance as we walked all day and that was the best orange juice I’ve ever tasted:-
Walked along the boardwalk to the Arts Hotel and back along the beach.
We then sat by the pool, fell asleep and got burnt as we forgot to pack suncream which basically meant we had to rejig our entire wardrobe to cover burnt limbs and avoid the sun for the remainder of our time there, which was a real shame. My nose is still burnt and I’m an idiot!
We ate at Tapeo – another recommended tapas bar – directly opposite El Xampanyet, so the same area. Excellent food and a wonderful atmosphere.
Needed MORE of their delicious pancakes for sustenance as we literally walked all day!
Headed for the Sagrada Famiglia which took us about an hour to get to, but the walk is really lovely, via the Arc de Triumph.
The Basilica did not underwhelm as most of you already know! We paid to go inside, but didn’t take the headphones – we just wanted to get a feel for it, so it basically took us longer to get through security than it did to wander around the inside.
Then we walked to the wonderful apartment building Casa Mila – also designed by Gaudi – a total work of art – basically no straight edges unless they had to be there – some people still live there, but you can take a tour of one of the apartments and head up to the roof terrace – it’s really interesting and I’d recommend it.
Took my Goddaughter, whose living there out for dinner to a wine and tapas bar called Bastaix she’d recommended which was excellent – great food and wine as you’d expect:-
Gin Mare’s first – our favourite gin!
A wedding at Etniko (no website) – our favourite lovely little cocktail bar on the square:-
Walked to find a coffee shop called Nudes owned by a friend of my son’s and caught up with him over an excellent cup of coffee (separate post on that).
Wandered along a few random streets, stopped for a drink and then walked down Las Ramblas and the food market and then had a fabulous lunch at the port:-
Back to have a snooze by the pool and read our books (in the shade!)
We managed to squeeze into another highly recommended restaurant called Bar Brutal, which again had an amazing vibe and well known for their wine collection, but the menu was too “meaty” for us, so we went instead to La Puntual where we sat on the terrace and had yet another lovely tapas style meal and a delicious bottle of wine (again very close to the other two restaurants I’ve previously mentioned):-
Barcelona definitely felt like the City of Love:-
Always need our white feather moment in honour of my father! Biggest white feathers ever, although we were a little worse for wear and the poor guy who offered to take our photo was a little confused!