Hit and run in Barcelona – Travel Tips

In Articles, Travel Tips by Paola CarlomostiLeave a Comment

 

With Barcelona it was not a "haces que me estremezca!". Let's say that we didn't start off on the right foot initially. Maybe I was still a teenager, or more likely I frequented the “wrong crowd" which more suited Lloret de Mar's nightlife, rather than appreciating the modernist architecture that colors the city in pastel shades. Barcelona and I “sniffed” each other at the beginning, with mutual distrust, and only after many flights taken with landing in El-Prat did we make a connection, and we both discovered we were happy with it. After all, as the Italian old popular proverbs says: "Before you know a person well, you have to eat seven rubles of salt together ...".  I propose to you my usual hit and run, that is my usual  rash decision: 24 hours compressed in a zip version to burn in this city, with the lightness of those who are already familiar with Barcelona or, more simply, for those who want to live it more lightly.

Imagine you are in the Woody Allen movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Imagine for a while being invited to spend a weekend with Javier Bardem, but instead of Oviedo, he proposes to you to spend a weekend "eating well, drinking well and making love". Let yourself be impressed for a moment and then leave for Barcelona. For such a short stay, and in such a casual city, you don't even need hand luggage for changing. First flight in the morning, arrival in the city at half past eight. Spring and autumn are the best time to enjoy this city: it is not excessively hot and it is easier to get lost in the fray without feeling like a tourist among a thousand other tourists.

Let’s start from the downtown: the Rambla is just a huge street full of shops and if you believe you have seen Barcelona after having done the classic "stroll", you fall into error. You have to get lost in the city, having a coffee in a small eighties-style bar in some alleys, and then know when it's time to "find your way back". Barcelona is an open-air museum without having to pay for the ticket. Traditional Catalan Gothic architecture is sinuous, it seems to dance around you, as she wanted to involve you in a bachata. The bright colors, the shapes, the grandeur of Gaudì embellish the streets of Barri Gòtic, Eixamplee and Raval (Casa Guell, Casa Amatllerl in the Mansana de la Discòrdia, "La Pedrera", Casa Batlló and, of course, even if it didn't have need to be announced La Sagrada Família).

It is a beautiful day, lunchtime is approaching and we have no choice but to go to Barceloneta, to have lunch in some delicious restaurant with sea view, and then lie down on the beach and catch our breath. Last time I went to enjoy the view from the rooftop of Cafe del Mar Lounge (near Palazzo Guell, at the Porto Vecchio) and it was very suggestive: perfect match with a good Cava, but if the priority is to eat in a good marisqueria, in a rather anonymous street just outside Barceloneta, it is worth the walk to get to El Vaso de Oro, in addition to a very good craft beer of its own, excellent grilled prawns and spicy Russian salad. Another fish restaurant that deserves to be mentioned, Paco Alcalde, where the specialties are the very fresh mariscos and the arroz with bocabavante, that is a traditional rice dish with lobster.

I forgive you for Sangria, but I don't think I could forgive you for the misstep of Tinto de Verano ("summer red wine", translated seems exactly what it is, that is, neither more nor less than red wine and soda ...). The Cava was a recent discovery for me. Recent because I tasted it in unsuspected times, too many years ago, when I frequented what I call "bad company" (that is, friends you have brought with you for a lifetime, but who just wouldn't be able to distinguish between a Don Simon and a Vega Sicilia, but you love them anyway). And I have just discovered that there is also a good cava. Even better, if you evaluate the value for money. In this regard, there is a historic place in Barcelona, ​​El Xampanyet, in a pretty neighborhood a stone's throw from the church of Santa Maria del Mar, the "caveria" icon of the city, where you have to make your way through the crowd of patrons to reach the counter and order a bad cava, but it is one of those things that is a bit of a "tourist by chance" that sometimes deserves to be done, like punching the clock (and regardless the tapas are not bad, if you find room jostling and bumping around just to eat alone).

Regardless of the bubbles, for those who want to drink quality in Barcelona even by the glass, making a small individual wine tasting, just a few steps from the port, in a “wedding favor” district that vaguely reminded me of the Spanish Quarters of Naples, I suggest La Vinya del Senyor. Rustic, informal location, perfectly integrated with the urban fabric. Sit at the counter like I did and be guided by the sommeliers who are very prepared. Here tapas have reason to exist (Cantabric sea anchovies and Patanegra, it will be banal, but of truly unreachable quality). For those who love the "natural wines" style, we have no choice but to go back to the center at L'Anima Del Vi, a beautiful location with attention to detail, more stylish, and an infinite choice of Spanish biodynamic wines by the glass, but his placet confuses you a bit (that is to say, you could be in Barcelona or Rome, it would be the same, you don't feel hat poignant rhythm in the air tof "salsa and merengue" that we Italians always like, even when we don't want to admit it).

The sun sets late in Barcelona, ​​especially in the summer, so you’ll have plenty of time to go and have a coffee (or another glass of wine) a little out of the way. Perfectly connected to the city center, Park Guell (if Gaudi is never enough), or, Tibidabo offers a view of Barcelona from the highest point of the city  from different "perspectives" of this metropolis, and not a single one can be taken for granted. There is a small cafe, right next to the Belvedere, which is worth all the five euros spent on a Café Solo.

At dinner I’m assuming you will want to eat the famous  paella. It sounds terribly touristy, I know ... but it would sound just as snobbish not to mention it at all. Agree to fall into the cliché, but if I really have to eat a traditional Spanish dish and do "that which an Italian does not want to do in Barcelona", but which is basically a bit snobbish, I get advice from a Catalan friend of mine, who lives in Barcelona who says to me: "if they requested a good carbonara, I would know where to send a friend ... certainly not to Piazza Navona!". So, here I am satisfied: Cal Pinxo.  If Ivan says the best Paella in the world, it must be true.

Do you know how Vicky Cristina Barcelona ends? It seems disrespectful to spoil the end, so I’ll steal Bardes' lines once again ... "The trick is to enjoy life, accepting that it has no meaning, none!".



 

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