So, it’s Friday yo! What better way to spend it then a late night (Spanish style) dinner, a la Japanese sushi with my French brosef. International up in this!
I have totally rejected my blog for the last week on an account of I have been pretty busy with all of life’s great responsibles (I know I spelled that wrong, TPB reference) . No excuses, though. This blog is still really new for me (I used to blog on this url but that was like 1000 years ago) so I hope I haven’t lost any readers from my lack of effort. Sooooo, I am going to revisit this past week in this post and fill ya’ll in, in what I hope is exciting (We’ll see).
Ok, so last Friday was my last post. I actually had an epic night last Friday night that ended around 5 am in Placa Catalunya, having street beers on a bench. BUT, I (or Apple) totally suck and I ended up deleting a bunch of pics. Really p’d about that, but I will make do. Basically it started out – No, I am not going to even tell because with no pics, it’s totally pointless. Wow I am getting really mad that I deleted those pics (grr). Great, and now there is a baby crying in the cafe.
I did go for a killer dinner with some friends that were visiting from Estonia. We had paella at this place on the beach called Salamanca. It was AMAZING! Thank god I posted pics on Instagram and Twitter, so I stole them back from there to show you. This place has literally been around for like 30 years, it’s really well known in Barcelona for the best paella, and although so many places say that, it actually is. Expensive, but so worth it. Oh, they also had a board with all these different currencies, I saw no Canadian dollas *sad face*.
The restaurant, itself, is a real gem. Really old-school Spanish dining style, and the cool thing about this place is it has small frame pictures covering every square inch of the walls. And for good reason I suppose. The long-time owner, whatever his name is, has pictures of 100’s of celebs that came there to dine. Honestly I didn’t know who so many of them were (must be a Euro thing) but I did manage to snap a pic of a frame right beside my seat, with Shakira. I don’t care about Shakira or her music but it was still cool. We has some awesome food, wine and beer and then headed over to this great cafe/dessert bar where they had the craziest desserts. Don’t have pics of those (anymore) but they were awesome. I will definitely go back another time, I don’t even remember the name (starts with a B?) but it’s great. Now it’s time to salivate…
If you didn’t know (I didn’t), Barcelona football team won a champion cup. I know, I should have known, but I have enough things to pay attention to in my life and not to mention I have the attention span of a 2 yr old. Anyway. I went to the store to buy groceries and I guess they were having a parade in Barca where the team rides around on a bus so everyone can see them/the cup. They sure love the sport here, I tell ya. When leaving the store, the madness of people and flags was right between me and my way home, so I had to brave it. Bad idea. I was stuck in a not-moving crowd and this huge lady behind me was rubbing up on my badonk, it was super startling. THEN, a fight broke out right in front of me and I thought I was going to get punched in the face. I didn’t, but someone knocked into me and broke three of my eggs. That was a good time. Hey, I got a free flag so it’s all good.
The ending to this massively weak, week summary, was last night. My buddy from France is staying at my flat and he made an amazing French dinner of crepes with some amazing fillings. It was so good. We went to the store, bought a ton of food and had a cooking party in my too-small-for-3-people kitchen. We made it work, though. We jammed to Buena Vista Social Club and cooked up a storm. Made the crepes from scratch, red wine, and made the fillings – Smoked salmon, jamon (ham), chicken, sauteed mushrooms and onions, tomato, chorizo, cheese, seasoned cream, nutella… I think that’s it haha. It was bomb. After we stuffed ourselves silly, we hung out on the couch, smoked cigarettes to ease the fullness, and watched Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares (my current tv obsession). Not too bad for a Wednesday night! I’m currently on a no-drinking month so I didn’t indulge in the red. Once June 1st hits (there is an epic party at a weed club), I will be back on the booze, responsibly, of course (challenge, accepted).
And today? Nothing too exciting, been working like a beotch to prepare for a new internet marketing/copy writing job, as well as get caught up with some other sites. The life of a computer girl (not saying geek like so many people do, who aren’t, because I am not). I’ve been working out a lot and for some reason have been soo tired everyday. I took it to Facebook to ask my health friends if they knew why, and they gave me lots of tips. I will actually write about that this week, because the tips were great and I am really trying to master this health thing (to balance out the ciggs, naturally). I do something I don’t usually do, and took a selfie of how tired I look today. I never smile in pics because I always look Asian (I am not) so this is my half-ass smile. I finally hauled my ass out of the house and now sit at a cafe with some strong coffee and civilization. It’s helping for sure but I would really like to figure out why I am so damn tired. Another day 🙂
I know other things have happened in the last week but unfortunately my memory does not exist and relies on pictures. Pathetic, I know. Now I have a serious urge to read the Teen Mom 2 news on some lame gossip site. I am ashamed, so no need to tell me so.
Thanks for reading and I will work on not neglecting the blog duty. All in good time the habit will come 😉
After what seems like two full weeks of rain (an exaggeration, of course), I am really starting to feel like I am living in London again. It has been dark, wet and dreary in, what is usually, sunny Barcelona for the past five days, and according to my iPhone weather app, today will be the last of it. I can only hope, anyway! I try to look on the bright side and remind myself that Barcelona, on average, only gets about 55 days of rain a year, so without days like today, we could have a real water crisis on our hands!
Since the weather here has been anything but lively this last week, I find it very hard to stay motivated when it comes to writing. I guess my brain just kind of slows down. That, and I guess it doesn’t help that it’s Monday, which usually makes no difference to me but it was quite a hardcore weekend of socializing, drinks and dancing around the city.
I don’t want to classify myself as one that would have a “Case of the Mondy’s”, so I have decided to turn Monday into a continuation of “Sunday Funday”. Of course, my responsibilities return amidst the beginning of a new week, unlike that of Sunday, but in spirit I am choosing to make Monday a Funday. While I’m at it, I may as well do the same for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It’s all about your perception and attitude, right?? 🙂
So, because of my sudden shift in attitude (which literally occurred while writing this), I have decided upon a new Monday blog tradition: Summarizing my weekend! It makes great sense since I really do not write on Saturday or Sunday, and my weekend are usually pretty eventful. Let’s get to it, shall we?
The favorite day of the week for many, Friday is when people shake the stresses of the week, whether that means relaxing at home or having some drinks with buddies. Me? I tend to go for the second option, and this Friday was no different. The rain was definitely coming down hard that night, but with a cozy flat and some great people around you, that fact is soon forgotten! Oh, and how could I forget, lots of cava, beer and wine :). This Friday was not a typical one, as I managed to go home relatively early in the hopes of a fresh start Saturday morning.
Impressed with my early-to-bed decision on Friday, I was up at a decent hour on Saturday morning. Of course, the weather was in no way impressive however did not want to use that as a reason to stay in all day. After some relaxing and a good (late) breakfast, I headed out with my partner in crime to hunt down an awesome dim sum spot in the Borne area of Barcelona. I was really excited for this, since I hadn’t had dim sum for quite some time. We arrived in good time, an hour early for the start of dinner but that worked out well, as this place is seriously busy after 7pm. A few wines and beers later, while translating all the dim sum dishes from Spanish to English, we had worked up quite an appetite (and a bit of a buzz!). Let me tell you, this dim sum, was amazing. To make this place even better, they have an extensive list of expensive import beers that were dirt cheap. No wonder this place is so popular! You are probably wondering what this place is called, and don’t worry, I won’t leave that out. The place is called Mosquito and it’s located at Carrer Carders, 46, Barcelona 08003. If you live in this great city or are planning to visit, this is definitely a pit stop you should be making! It has a great atmosphere, unbelievable food and great beer. If you venture to this hole-in-the-wall, I strongly recommend the duck (anec) dumpling!
As you can imagine, I left feeling full and a bit drunk, and the night was only getting started. While I didn’t realize how late it was when I went for dim sum, I quickly realized when I had to head out to meet some friends at 9 pm… and go eat Mexican food. Oops. I was convinced that I was not going to eat anything after my dim sum feast, but that changed after we waited for our table for an hour, with a few more drinks in hand. The food was great at Rosa Negra, I would definitely recommend the pineapple and chicken quesadilla, but stay away from their shrimp cocktail… It was a huge disappointment. I guess it’s worth mentioning that Rosa Negra’s claim to fame is there €3.50 mojito. It’s strong and seriously good! The restaurant has a great atmosphere and authentic decor as well, which always makes the experience a little better.
The night continued on after our Mexican fiesta, into a few more bars and pubs, sipping on some quality wines and vodka. Nothing overly note-worthy happened so I will not go into details, however I did meet a really cool Canadian girl who was travelling here, and she ended up hanging out with my friends and I.
If you live any sort of lifestyle like mine, you can probably guess my Sunday wasn’t very eventful. And you would be right, it really wasn’t. Slept until 12pm, neglected doing any laundry and lounged on the couch watching Kitchen Nightmares. It wasn’t in any way exciting but it was definitely what I needed – Some final relaxation at the end of the weekend. As much as I love fun-filled party weekends, I think this next weekend I am going to step away from the booze and spend some time adventuring around my lovely city. Next Monday you will likely read a very different weekend summary, so I hope you look forward to that, like I look forward to writing it!
Thanks for reading this filler article-turned article tradition! Have a great Monday and a great week! I have a feeling I will feel very differently about Monday after tonight, as I have to go to IKEA (my least-favorite place in the world). Maybe I will save my IKEA rant for another day, though. Peace out, party people!
So, If you saw my Facebook update yesterday, then you would have known that I was stuck at an outdoor (but covered) cafe here in Barcelona while they had an epic shit-of-a rainstorm. I was literally five minutes from home but considering I was wearing suede flats, I thought it may be a good idea to stay in shelter while the rain calmed down. I guess I just didn’t think I needed to own rubber boots anymore after I left London for Spain *Go figure*.
ANYWAY, I luckily had my oh-so awesome Mac-imitation, known as the Google Chromebook, so I could at least do some work while waiting for the rain to steady. Like many other Tweeters this week, my account got hacked and I had to change like 65 passwords, so although I wrote my blog for the day, yesterday, I figured I would write more since the only password I had was for this blog. Depressed by the weather (which is normally hot and sunny), my brain was lacking the creative skills to come up with something to write about. Which brings me back to the first sentence of this post. I went to Facebook and asked my friends if they had any ideas for what I should write about. The helpful peeps Andy and Melissa gave me two ideas: Coffee and potatoes. Totally random, but to be honest this blog so far has been totally random, so it’s suitable. If the title didn’t give it away, today I have decided to talk about… Coffee!
And what goes better with coffee? Cigarettes! I am definitely painting that picture of myself being a starving, eccentric artist who hangs out in coffee houses all day, pretending to write prolific things on their laptop. The word “Hipster” comes to mind. I wouldn’t describe myself as a hipster, but I think they’re cool, I guess.
I really don’t know anything about coffee. Well, maybe. Off the top of my head, this is what I (think I) know:
Coffee is a delightful hot beverage that provokes the image of either pretentious hipster/artist posers, classy French women or old men in vintage caps playing dominoes. I’m sort of kidding. I know I probably drink too much of it, as I am glued to a screen and reaching, unknowingly, for the grip of that porcelain mug (Omg, am I one of those pretentious posers??). I know that in North America, our coffee’s are way too big and in Europe, they are sometimes too small. In Canada, if your favorite coffee isn’t from Tim Hortons, then they will revoke your passport. Coffee generally gives you bad breath, and if you drink too much, your hands will shake.
The classic line you say to your mates, “Want to grab a coffee after work?” is always code for “Let’s have a beer/wine after work, and if we go home drunk as f*%k, let’s also grab a kebab”. Coffee is also a great excuse to get out of going somewhere or doing something – “I can’t. I drank too much coffee and have diarrhea”. Ok, I have never used that, but I am sure it’s a good bail line. Hmmm. I think mass chain coffee places, like Starbucks, seriously suck and I refuse to go there. Here in Barcelona, or EU in general, there are so many quaint cafe’s that are family-owned, unique and authentic, why would you ever want to go to Starbucks? Plus, they limit you to 45 minutes internet usage and their shitty coffee is overpriced (Wow, I sound like one of ‘them’).
Lastly, coffee utterly accents cigarette smoking (dahling) .
After some time now scanning my memory bank for knowledge on le cafe, I think this is all I can come up with. I really hope you weren’t expecting educational material here, if you were, I’m sorry. I guess the best way to describe this post is coffee from Brandie’s perspective, which hopefully some of you can also relate to. If you are actually interested in educating yourself about coffee, check out this infographic sent by Andy.
Alright, my mission here is done. I have to get back to ordering my 6th coffee while listening to a band you have never heard of, writing about things you would just never understand.
After galavanting around Europe for the last three years, I have really started to see the difference between my awesome home country (Canada) and Europe, as a whole. I would never change the fact that I grew up in the amazing country that I did, but living in two totally different continents really gives you a different perspective on oh so many things. While I never could have fathomed these differences just travelling back and forth, in comparison to living a daily life, I thought other people may be interested in knowing the differences between the two (strictly my opinion, of course). So, I have thought of the biggest differences between North America and Europe, and crafted it into a lovely blog post for you to read, while you are in your car during rush hour or sitting at in the park browsing the interwebs…
Live Life to the Fullest
Having lived in a few European countries, I can definitely say the quality of life is better. Why that is, well, that’s a whole other blog post, but I can indulge in this topic a little bit. I think life in North America is a lot more money/business-driven when you look at it from a grand scale. I am catching myself here because while living in London, I really had this very same ‘Go Go Go’ vibe – but to be honest, I think London, and UK in general, is more influenced by America, more than any other European city. Aside from that, I feel the general atmosphere in most European cities is much more focused on just generally enjoying life more, spending more time with family/friends, and not taking life too seriously. As much as I love a fast and motivating setting, I think it’s a lot more important to “stop and smell the roses”. People really seem to embrace that notion. I feel that in N.A, people are very focused on the “get up, work, go to bed, repeat” way of life and it really makes you forget about what’s important. Yes, we need money to survive, but maybe if we weren’t so consumed with buying shit we don’t need, we could care a little less about flashy things and more about the people around us. This brings me to my next point…
Yes, I say it bluntly and maybe the subtitle can be seen as rude or derogatory, but nothing else makes my point any clearer. When I lived in North America, it’s all about stuff. Anything from nice cars (maybe 3 of them), fancy kitchen tools (that you never end up using), 25 gadgets that do who-knows-what, to buying a million different hair products, moisturizers, nail polish, and so on (clearly speaking from a women’s perspective here). In N.A it is such a consumer-driven society, what we own for some reason gives us our self-worth. And at the end of it all, we have so much shit filling up our big houses, and no savings to give us a quality life. Now, I am obviously not speaking for everyone but I know the majority lives like this.
My priorities and spending habits changed completely once I moved to EU, but I am just as guilty as most the majority at one point in my life. I have always hated Wal-Mart and have barely shopped there, they are horrible on so many levels and most importantly to this article, they fuel these overspending habits. I remember one time I actually went to Wal-Mart to get something for my house that I couldn’t buy anywhere else, no clue now what that was, some $60 item. No word of a lie, I left there and I spent $500! My friend Joe and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing – “What have you done!?”- in a totally exaggerated way. We thought it was funny at the time. But really, what did I do??? I felt like such a moron, I’m pretty sure I never went to Wal-Mart again after that.
Anyway, back to the point. People in EU, from my experience, really live within their means. You don’t use credit cards like we do in N.A, you don’t finance a car you can’t afford in the first place. You simply spend what you have on the things that you need. Such a simple system yet it has been obliterated by mass consumerism. This is one thing I will definitely never miss.
Want to walk on the beach… naked? No problem (not from what I’ve seen, anyway – balls out). But really, life here in EU is just much more liberal. I know where I am from (Ontario), we have super strict liquor laws, for example, whereas here, generally, you can buy booze anytime, almost anywhere, and you can drink it on the street, too. That being said, there are the anal areas on Europe as well, Sweden has the same law structure with alcohol as Ontario, but I am not sure anywhere else in EU is like that. I honestly can’t think of many other examples when it comes to how liberal N.A is vs. EU, I guess it’s just a vibe you get. I don’t know. I would like to end this by saying though, that Canada has a very liberal spirit as well. People are very accepting, generous and would pretty much help you in any situation (“If you want you can have all my money, and my leg, eh?”).
I know this point is only valid simply because the infrastructures in EU and N.A are different, but it is still a major point for me. When I lived in Canada, I drove everywhere. It was next to impossible to have a life without a license and a car, because things are just not as close nor do we have as common and as efficient public trans. Hopefully in the future this may change, because I really feel my life is made so much better by not having to drive everywhere. On the contrary, I really do miss driving as I literally never do over here, and it would be great to have a vehicle for long summer drives and random road trips, but I would never want to go back to driving as much as I did. Depending on the city in EU, you can pretty much walk or take the tube anywhere. It’s generally much cheaper than driving and you can avoid the annoyance of traffic and bad drivers. Hope I am not sounding too negative, I am just having flashbacks of driving many times in Toronto with morons who cut you off or just don’t know what the hell they are doing. Ok, rant over :).
Overall, I really find the concept of walking everywhere appealing, and probably contributes to that better quality living (for me, anyway).
Ok, I now realize maybe I am hating on North America a little too much in this article. Please, to everyone who reads this, believe me when I say that I absolutely love my home country and wouldn’t trade my previous life there for the world. But, as I said at the beginning of the article, when you live in two different places, you really start to see things differently and you can’t help but compare them. Also, who knows, many may disagree with me on everything I have written here. And that’s ok! This is strictly my view and I think it’s interesting to see how other people view the world. That said, thanks for reading, and please comment below with any feedback. Maybe you have also lived abroad and have some input, or you just want to tell me how wrong I am. Good or bad, I would love to read it! Cheers everyone …And I am proud to be Canadian (Living in Europe) hehe! 😉
Ahh April! The month where every woman rushes to lose the winter weight so they can look like sexual chocolates in their skimpy summer clothes and eeny weeny polka dot bikinis. Of course, I am speaking for myself but I am sure many others can relate!
As I gather the courage to sign up for my local gym and promise myself to go everyday, I realize sweating my ass off on the treadmill (high incline, naturally) is not the only component to this rapid ‘get fit’ challenge of mine. So, I now muster up the will to eat extra well and decrease the portion size. In my experience, all goes well for the first 24 hours, and then the potential results of this fit challenge become cloudy in the deprivation of carbs and alcohol. Does this sound like you?
If you’re like me and certainly enjoy a cocktail (or 5) as well as food aside from just steamed veg and cucumber water, then you are reading the right post. I have come up with some useful strategies to keep you enjoying your summer without the shame of too much alcohol and late-night munchy weight gain. You’re welcome.
1. Real Fruit & Boozey Smoothies
There is nothing I enjoy more than a delectable fruit cocktail while tanning in the sun, listening to some rock n’ roll. If you like the same kind of simple treats, you may opt to buy the pre-mixed daiquiri or pina colada mix – which, in case you didn’t know, is filled with sugar (the bad kind) and empty calories. This is sure to stop you dead in your tracks when trying to keep a good shape in the summer months. Not only that, but it is straight-up bad for you. Maybe if you just had one, that wouldn’t be so bad, but come on, no one ever has just one. My solution? I stock up on loads of fruit, the best being pineapple, mango strawberries, raspberries, banana, coconut, throw them in a blender with some vodka and ice, mix er up, and bam! You’ve got yourself one wicked cocktail! You have all the yummy natural fruit sugars, paired with a low-calorie alcohol like vodka. This tantalizing mix gives you no shame when your downing the fifth cocktail. 😉
2. Smoked Chicken
This is something I have only recently discovered, and it is truly amazing. Apologies if you are vegan/vegetarian, as this won’t appeal to you, but if that’s not the case, you’re in luck! Smoked chicken is a great item to keep in your fridge, as it is already cooked and can be eaten cold in a colorful salad, or heated up quickly with a yummy stir fry. Because it is smoked, it can be kept for longer the raw chicken, which comes in handy if your having a lounge day on the beach or stumble in at a late hour, craving something quick and filling (ah, we’ve all been there!). Last attempt I have in convincing you this treat is a must-have, most importantly, is the taste! The flavor is much better than if I were to cook the chicken myself, and the calorie content is also low since it was smoked and has no added oils or butter. I wish I was being sponsored by a smoked chicken brand, because I am clearly a passionate advocate!
3. Healthy Beach Snacks
This tip is a no-brainer, but maybe can be made a little more tasty and less like rabbit food. Personally, I love vegetables, raw, steamed, cooked, whatever. Veggies and fruit are a great snack for when you are basking in the sun, simply because it is light, and eating a heavy kebab on the beach will probably put you into a coma (speaking from experience). Take some time before you head to the beach and prep some veg in a tasty way, check out my friends vegetarian blog (in Spanish, so just Google Translate if needed) for tons of great recipes for anything-but-boring veggie snacks. If you can manage to keep it cold enough, why not bring some of my boozey fruit smoothies with you as well!
Ohh, how I love my vino! Cold, refreshing and low-calorie, this is yet another great beverage to have on those hot summer days. Yes, I am sure I sound like a straight-up alchy, but the summer is for drinking and I personally give myself props for doing it in the healthiest way possible 😉 . Generally, a glass of vino is a mere 80 calories, so a great choice for a summer drink (or year-round!). They way I see it, when you’re out in the sun, you are sweating a mass amount of calories anyway, so this can’t be of any great harm. On the contrary, I am going to sound like my mother and remind you to also drink lots of the H20 to keep yourself hydrated (if only wine did the same!).
5. *Fun* Exercise (Yes, I said fun!)
I swear, it exists. I am a true fountain of energy myself and get quite bored just laying in the sun all day, so I like to keep it interesting. At the beach? Bring a volleyball or paddleboard and have some game time with your friends (especially after some drinks, this is a great time). This will obviously burn some calories and keep yourself alive throughout the day, not to mention give you an excellent tan. If you don’t happen to like sand sports, go for a nice swim in the sea! This will just as much keep you energized, while also being a great way to cool off. If you prefer the pool to the sea, play Marco Polo!!! Ok, I sound like a 5 year old but seriously, so much fun. If you’re not familiar with the game, just look it up, it’s easy. Marco is ‘it’ and must close their eyes while saying ‘Marco’, and the others have to answer ‘Polo’, and if Marco touches you or catches you out of the water, you are now the Marco. Simple enough! If you doubt me, try it, then tell me you didn’t have a blast! 😉
While many of my ideas are not the most original and some, quite obvious, actually doing these things make a mile of a difference when it comes to keeping fit in the summer months. How can you debate ideas that are so simple, fun and utterly tasty? Maybe as the summer goes on I can come up with some more creative ideas, but for now I think this is a great start. Further more, summer is meant to enjoy so don’t stress about having the best bikini bod on the beach, just stay healthy and drunk, and you will have a kick ass time!
What did you think of my tips? Would you try them, or do you have any to add to the list? I would love to hear so comment below! And, of course, have a rockin’ summer!
My second favorite area of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter (or in Spanish, El Gòtico)! I would say it shares the very similar charms of Gracia; Small streets, Spanish/Catalan culture, and unique bars and restaurants. One difference from the two cultural wonderlands is, the Gotic Quarter is much busier with bustling tourists – but don’t let that scare you. Here’s a list of the top 5 spots I personally recommend in the Gothic Quarter of lovely Barca:
La Locanda Pizzeria – Carrer Doctor Joaquim Pou, 4, Barcelona, 08002
One of the best Italian restaurants in Barcelona, this spot boasts a relaxing and young environment with some excellent food to go along with it. Barcelona is one of the best cities I have ever had pizza in, and this place, among others, really lives up to that reputation! You will literally find about four pages of different pizzas, varying from the tomato base, white sauce base, to just straight cheese and toppings. They also offer many other great Italian dishes (and wine on course), but I always stick to the pizza!
Bun Bo Vietnam – Carrer Sagristans, 3, Barcelona, 08002
Vietnamese food in Barcelona? Sure, why not? I know everyone that comes to this great city has their mind set on tapas (of course!) but if you are here for a long enough visit, you may want to try some other cuisines. Bun Bo is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, it has a cozy, colorful Asian atmosphere and the food is top-notch. If it’s a nice day out, you can even sit outside and admire some of the old buildings to be seen in the El Gotico. This place is also very reasonably priced, at say €20 a head. I recommend going for the Summer Roll appetizer, and the curry is also a great choice.
Bar 32 – Carrer Ample, 32, Barcelona, 08002
I can’t speak for the food at this bar (although I am sure it’s great!), but the atmosphere and drinks are fantastic. Bar 32 is actually an Irish pub/cafe that sits right in the center of the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter. Being as I am a frequent visitor, I can say you will most likely be welcomed by some very friendly and fun Irish folk, who will gladly serve you up something cold! It is very popular with the many Irish/English/Scottish people who inhabit Barcelona, and there is a blatant vibe of real community here. Take a table for your group, or sit at the bar and chat with the bartenders, give it five minutes and you will truly feel like you’re speaking with your best mate!
Milk Cocktail Bar – Carrer Gignàs, 21, 08002 Barcelona
Milk, also run by an Irish couple, is the definition of ‘swank’ and 50’s retro design (my favorite!). The coziest of environments, you can expect some lounge-worthy couches with eccentric pillows, making you feel right at home. What makes this experience even better? Well, cocktails, of course!
The Spanish favorite (derived from Mexico), La Cucaracha cocktail (Don’t let the name frighten you!) is a real winner and personal favorite; Tequila, passion fruit (both the fruit and liquor :)) with apple and lime juice. YUM. If you don’t want to be knocked on your ass after the first drink, you can always go for a classic, like a Daiquiri, Margarita or Pina Colada (all for very reasonable prices!).
Macarena (dance club) – Carrer Nou de Sant Francesc, 5, 08002, Barcelona
On the edge of the Gothic Quarter, near Las Ramblas, sits a small and mysterious club with party people in its surroundings. This, is Macarena. For both the locals and Barca enthusiasts, this is an all-time favorite spot for dancing to electronic beats, which are often the sounds of local DJ’s. If you are from North America, like myself, when you hear “club” you think of a massive venue. Not here! It has a capacity of 300 persons, which gives people enough room to enjoy the venue.
A great aspect to this club, is the atmosphere. It is not your typical club, where guys are desperately trying to pull a hookup, people standing at the sidelines, irritating loud mouths; You will find none of this here. It is simply people who love music, and love to dance to music. If this sounds like your scene, it is definitely a spot to visit!
While it’s hard to name only five top places in the wonderland that is El Gotico, this article is my greatest attempt. If going to a new country or city, it is always good to have some kind of “plan” detailing the right areas and locally-loved spots. That said, use this article as the basis for your journey. Now that you know these great places, keep in mind, there are so many more! Exploration is key, and the Gothic Quarter is a great place to start off!
Did you take my advice and visit these areas, or have you been to them before? I would love to hear your feedback, good or bad, so please comment! Hats off to your journeys ahead..!
Ready for hippies, cheap drinks and a helluva grand kebab? Seems you’ve come to the right place! Bienvenidos a Gracia!
One of my top favorite areas of Barcelona, Gracia, is the most culture-filled and non-tourist area of the city (in my experience!). It’s a small district at the top of the city with the best places to eat, drink and hang-out. Hipsters, beers and ganja color this area, with a delightful charm. They have a plethora of squares, or placas, where you have everything you need for a (foggy) night out. Let’s indulge:
Pizzalabina Pizzeria – Carrer de Verdi, 40, Barcelona, 08012
Thin-crust pizza with more toppings that you’d imagine, this is the best pizzeria in the city. Most pizzas range from €10-15 for a whole pie, and one can easily eat a whole one (trust me, it will happen). Top that off with €6 jugs of some potent sangria and a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere, and you’ve got it made! Salud!
Ugarit Restaurant Siri – Carrer de Verdi, 11, Barcelona, 08012
Just a little ways downwards of the pizzeria, is Ugarit. This place features Syrian cuisine, which was a first for me, and I loved it. Maybe a little more pricier for the Gracia area, the dishes still have a great price point, anywhere from €15-20 for a dish of truly great food. The fact that they have about three locations in Gracia alone, may assure you that this place has some frequent visitors. Quick tip, I would highly recommend the chicken shawarma dish!
Gasterea – Pintxos/Tapas Bar – Carrer de Verdi, 39, Barcelona, 08012
Yet another great place on Verdi, this is my favorite pintxos/tapas place yet! Gasterea is the real experience, too. This spot boasts the classic, long and narrow bar with an opposing ledge for standing and eating. That may sound unappealing, I thought so at first, but it makes the experience truly unique. To compliment, bustles of locals and the buzz of conversation. Keep in mind, this place is open 7pm – 1am (Mon, Tues, Thurs) and 7pm – 2am (Fri-Sun).
This place is not so much a tapas bar, as it is more of a pitxos bar. This basically means that all the typical tapas are actually placed on a small piece of bread, with a toothpick through it (‘pintxos’ in Spanish means ‘spike’, hence toothpick). The price can’t be beat, as dishes start from a mere €1.90 per plate, and vino, served in the authentic Spanish glasses, is just as inexpensive. Do me a favor, when you go there, order ‘alcachofas fritas’ – fried artichokes – best thing you will ever have in your life!
Kebab Shop – Carrer d’Astúries (right off of Gran de Gracia, Fontana Metro Station), Barcelona
There are not many things I love more in life than a good kebab, and this place takes the win! Also located on the edge of Gracia, it has the best one in town, and great tzatziki sauce to go along with it! For €4.75, you’ll have a 4-star kebab (yes, they exist) in an authentic Turkish hole-in-the-wall. To go with that, some great vino blanco and some spinach/feta burek (Eastern Europe pastry – To die for!).
I can’t give the name or exact address (I forget the name) but the directions are simple: Going upwards in the city on Gran de Gracia, take a right at Carrer d’Asturies (look for Fontana Metro station), and walk about 20 feet, where you will see the restaurant on the left! I will update this once I find out exact name and street number.
Bobby Gin – Francisco Giner, 47, Barcelona, 08012
So, you’re in Barcelona. Enough with food. I want to get some dranks! Well, if you happen to be in Gracia, which I assume you will be, then get your ass over to Bobby Gin! Do it the rockstar way and go for the cocktail dinner. I guess I should mention, if you don’t like gin, this may not be the best place to go (but, who doesn’t like gin?!). Even if you don’t like gin, you should try a drink here, because chances are, the drinks here will make you a gin-aholic. They have every kind of gin you can imagine, and they make it in a mass variety of ways. Starting with the classic gin and tonic, or a fruity chardonnay-infused gin cocktail. Expect to pay €10 per drink, with is definitely pricey for Spain, but for good reason – Totally worth it and you may get pretty hammered. Ok, enough with Bobby Gin, it’s still early here and all this talk makes me want a gin and tonic…
And there you have it! You now have a great starting point/guide to one of the best areas of Barcelona! Now get out there and enjoy it 🙂
If you happen to visit any of the places I have recommended here, I would be so happy if you shared your experience! Or, simply let me know if these places sound great or not! Cheers! And God Save the Gin!
Barcelona; The city of art, history, beauty, (seasonal) warmth and great Sangria. On your visit here, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with what to do, see, eat, and how many types of Sangria they have (50+ kinds – true story). So, as a travel enthusiast and minor Barca expert, I am fulfilling my foreign duty to the masses, by telling you exactly what you should do when you get to this Wonderland. Top five, Let’s get started…
La Sagrada Familia (church) – Calle Mallorca, 401 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Beautiful church by Antoni Gaudi that is a must-see and maybe one of the biggest tourist destinations. Its construction started in March 1882 by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar where he then, in 1883, commissioned Gaudi to continue its construction. Gaudi worked on this masterpiece until 1926, where he then passed, and to this day is being finished my architects and students, alike. After all, Gaudi once said, “The expiatory church of La Sagrada Família is made by the people and is mirrored. A work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people”.
Not only is it amazing from the outside (front and back), but the inside is even better. Entering the church will usually require you to wait in the queue however it generally moves quickly, and costs about €15 for the basic tour, which can include a headset with audio, overviewing the background of this historical gem. If you are going to take the time to venture inside (which you should!), I strongly suggest you go after 2pm, so you can travel up the towers. Just the basic inside tour will allow you to see the amazing stained glass work and eccentric internal architecture, quite possibly being the most amazing thing you have ever seen!
Park Guell (park) – Carrer d’Olot 5 08024 Barcelona
Centered at the top of the city, past the wonderful district of Gracia, is Park Guell. Also one of Antoni Gaudi’s works of art, this is a park you should go to and get lost in for a day. Being at the top of the city, you can expect fantastic views of the city, right down to the Balearic sea. Entrance is free, however I recommend bringing some coins as you will see many local performers that are unlike the most typical.
Walking through the park reminds me of a certain classic Disney film – Alice and Wonderland. You are surrounded by greenery, beautiful plants, amazing Gaudi architecture and sculptures. If you want to relax with a drink, soaking in the beauty, there is a cute outdoor cafe where you can sip Sangria!
Port Olimpic (The sea!)
I don’t think I need to say this, but if you are planning a trip to Barcelona, the beach is somewhere you just have to go! As a tourist, most people will think to go to the main city beach, Barceloneta. Although very nice, it is incredibly packed when the warm weather sets in, with both other tourists and the many peddlers (If you hear “Agua, cerveza, beer”, do not make eye contact). When planning a day at the beach, you should definitely bring an umbrella, water, snacks, beer, and of course, cava (Spain’s version of champagne – and better!).
Once you are packed and ready to go, you can either take the train or, much easier, a cab. If you take the train, try your best to take it from the yellow metro line (L4) which is accessible from most areas, specifically the core of the city, and get off at Port Olimpic. The beach is not far, and to be honest, the easiest thing to do is just follow people who have umbrellas and beach gear! This beach, allbeit still busy, is much better than the main city beach, also being cleaner. This is a great spot to tan your day away, with the glorious Balearic sea only steps away.
Described by many as the “sight of a lifetime”, Montserrat is Spain’s first National Park and comprises a multi-peaked mountain, specifically three main ones. It’s most often described, visually, as “pink peaks”, as the peaks are slightly pink (duh?). This is definitely a full-day trip if you want the real experience, so keep that in mind.
The easiest way to get here, is to take a train from Plaça de Espanya. You can then take the rack railway, which would mean you get off at Monistrol de Montserrat. Or, you can go the adventurous route, and take the cable car by getting off at Montserrat Aeri (don’t do it if you are afraid of heights!!).
The mountain is truly unlike many things you have probably ever seen, like a thousand natural sculptures with a spectacular view of this great city. Convinced? 😉
Las Ramblas (street and market)
For a resident of Barcelona, the last place you may want to go to is Las Ramblas if you’re agitated by pushy shop owners, a fast walker, or generally dislike massive groups of people. If you haven’t caught on yet, I am a bitter beotch when it comes to tourist areas like this one. BUT, don’t let my negativity influence you – Las Ramblas is a must-see street that you need to visit while you’re here.
Where do I start – Street performers, gorgeous flower stands, music, art, you name it, it’s probably here. Take an hour and just travel down this yellow brick road, you may not be in the market for overpriced souvenirs, but it’s worth it. There is also a fresh market on this street (I can’t give exact number) but if you ask, someone will point you in the right direction. In my opinion, the market is a must!
One last piece of advice: Keep your pockets empty, your bag closed and around your shoulder, and don’t let the street peddlers distract you. It is not as scary as I make it sound, however these are just the best precautions. Pickpocketing here is an art, and it will happen without having a clue, so just be careful!
This list of Barcelona sights is very much like my visits to Las Ramblas – Short and sweet. It would certainly be impossible for me to give you every go-to spot is Barcelona in just one blog post, so let this post me the first of many more. I have only covered the most popular landmarks of the city. I haven’t even started on the restaurants and bars! Stay tuned tomorrow for my next post on some more area-specific top visits!
Ciao, ¡salud, Peace & Kitties!
Page 1 of 2