Let’s continue our Barcelona talk. It’s one of my absolute favorite cities ever – probably top 3. I visited once when I was studying abroad in 2011, and Lexi and I went again last summer, and I’m completely in love with it. For those who’ve never been, it’s kind of like the LA of Spain: laid-back lifestyle, beautiful weather and beaches, phenomenal food scene, and it’s just full of really cool people you wish you were like. It’s also like the Texas of Spain in the sense that the region it’s in, Catalonia, wants to basically secede from the rest of the country. Just FYI, the majority of people in Barca speak Catalan, not Spanish. They will also be highly offended if you and your sister wear Spain futbol scarves to watch the Spain v. Brazil Confederation Cup Final and will shame you into taking the scarves off.
Besides a couple of uncomfortable hours as we experienced the disdain Barcelona has for the rest of Spain, our time in Barca was amazing. When I first went, I stayed at an awesome hostel one of my classmates found. Last year, Lexi and I stayed at a neat boutique hotel, Hotel Market, we got for a good deal on booking.com. The hotel was within walking distance to pretty much everything, specifically Las Ramblas (the main drag) and La Barceloneta. However, the metro is super easy to use and inexpensive, so we used that quite a bit, too. Barcelona can be a fairly expensive city, but there are ways to do things inexpensively, which is what we tried to do.
Concerning food, we had three really memorable meals. The first was at an Italian restaurant, Maur, around the corner from our hotel. The pizza we had – oh, the pizza. It was some of the best I’ve had outside of Italy. In the short week we were there, we became regulars. We always ordered the queso de cabra (goat cheese) pizza. The crust was thin and chewy, there were plenty of fresh tomatoes and basil, and a giant round of goat cheese in the middle. It was enough for both of us to share on top of one of their delicious salads, making its reasonably-priced meal to split. Not to mention, we doused everything in their spicy olive oil. Bye.
The second was at a tiny restaurant called Bohemic. We read the reviews and it was compared to El Bulli, one of Barcelona’s most famous culinary institutions that’s now closed. The plates were small (and pricey), and they recommended 2-3 plates per person. Lexi and I weren’t that hungry (and we’re poor) so we ordered three total: patatas bravas that are the best I’ve ever had – the bravas sauce had a smoky yet spicy beef reduction; chicken and foie gras cannelloni that was creamy and flavor-packed; and thin slices of beef with an ice cream made from a flower. Overall, it was one of the most complex food experiences I’ve had. You might want to make reservations at dinner time. If you can’t make it to Barca, Swift’s Attic in Austin is the closest I’ve had to Bohemic.
|Bohemic’s patatas bravas and pan con tomate|
|Thinly sliced beef with ice cream from a flower|
The third, and most inexpensive and casual, was at Bo de B. It’s a tiny sandwich shop near the beach and was recommended by a friend who studied in Barcelona. You order the protein you want (we got chicken), and then you add however many of their fresh toppings and sauces you want. You can sit inside but the area is small, so we stood in the line outside and ate on a park bench. The line can get pretty long, but it’s worth the wait. The patatas bravas are also amazing. Traditional patatas bravas have two sauces – aioli and bravas, a spicy red sauce. These had a combo of all of their sauces – aioli, spicy sauce, pesto, avocado, to name a few.
I could probably talk about Barcelona for days, but between mine and Lexi’s post, I think you get the idea how much we love it. I can’t recommend it enough as a place to visit.
Stay tuned for next week’s #TravelTBT to see where we go next!