When I was young and I lived in Barcelona, my perfect day would have been very different than what a perfect day in the city is for me today. At the time, you couldn’t get me out of Las Ramblas, el Raval, el Barri Gótic and El Born. I had spent my childhood and teen years between Tibidabo and Sarrià. As soon as I started Uni and I discovered the old city I fell in love with it. I moved there, living in various areas, all below Plaza Catalunya. That was the time when the Francoist dictatorship had just ended, and the streets were popping with newly liberated youth going crazy with hedonism and experimentation after having grown up repressed religiously, linguistically, politically, and sexually. Read the rest of this article…
There’s nothing quite like reading a memoir that details a place you are living, but not the time. Even more so I think, if you are a foreigner in that place. A place that you now know well, but that you didn’t grow up in. It opens up a world you know, but from a very different perspective and time. And this memoir from Catalan-born Isidra Mencos is just that. It is an absolute joy!
“A lush memoir and richly detailed exploration of a pivotal time in Spain.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Promenade of Desire is many things at once: a page-turning coming-of-age tale, a gutsy examination of family, a vivid portrait of a vanished time and a place, and a profound meditation on the nature of desire. Mencos is a sure-handed, open-hearted storyteller whose yearnings reflect our own.” — Aaron Shulman, author of The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain’s Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War.
“Promenade of Desire sets the author’s sexual coming-of-age story against Spain’s sexual and political awakening in a unique and intriguing pairing.” — Julia Scheeres, NY Times bestselling author of Jesus Land
My perfect day in Barcelona starts early. I want to make the most of it, so I get up before daybreak, at around five am. Bleary-eyed, and still half asleep, I wander into the kitchen and refill the moka pot that sits on the hob.
As I wait for the coffee to bubble up into the top part of the pot, I hurriedly pull on my board shorts and a long-sleeved rash vest before dragging my inflatable SUP down from on top of the wardrobe.
I half fill a mug with steaming coffee, then top it up with cold milk so that it’s cool enough to drink. It doesn’t taste great, but I haven’t time to wait for the bar on the corner to open, and I need my early morning caffeine fix.
I guzzle down the brown elixir and quickly pack the pump, 3-part paddle and a bottle of water into the oversized rucksack with the paddleboard. Flip flops on, and I’m out the door, hurrying downstairs to the street on my way to the metro. Read the rest of this article…
One-time Barcelona resident Ben Holbrook spent lockdown trawling through old video footage and honing his video editing skills. Read his story and watch the resulting short film below.
One of the worst things about lockdown life has been not being able to visit my beloved Barcelona. It was my home for so many years, and although I no longer live there, it’s still where my heart and soul belongs.
It’s hard to say exactly what it is I miss so much… Obviously I miss the wine and the tapas and the lazy afternoons spent strolling (and sometimes stumbling) from bodega to bodega. I miss cycling along the dusty pine-scented tracks of Collserola, peering down on the city glistening below. I miss my friends – the chasers of dreams, the forever young. Read the rest of this article…
I could spend my entire life just wandering around the coloured streets of Gràcia, so if I had to choose where to spend 24h, it would deﬁnitely be there.
I’m an early bird and would start the day around 7am, walking my dog Ed in the neighbourhood. Carrer de Mozart, Carrer de Sant Pere Màrtir, Carrer de Manrique de Lara… I ﬁnd it so invigorating to simply walk in the streets when everyone is still asleep. Sun is there, but quite shy and you can feel the light summer breeze.
I never really drank a lot of wine before coming to Barcelona. But since being here it seems rude not to. And Catalonia, I have learnt, has some of the best wines in the world when it comes to quality versus price. Catalonia has 10 wine regions, the most famous being Priorat. But it is some of the lesser known regions that have become my favourites.
But outside of Catalan wine I knew very little. So I snapped up the chance to get some basic wine knowledge with the guys from Rack and Return. Read the rest of this article…
I have been living in Barcelona all my life, so I know the city like the palm of my hand: from the best cafés and cheap traditional restaurants to the most underrated city attractions, I am one of the lucky locals who can brag about their knowledge of the best things to do in Barcelona.
That is why when one of my coworkers suggested that we went on a free tour around the city I couldn’t help but feel a bit skeptical. What could they tell me that I didn’t already know? Spending an afternoon following a crowd of thrilled tourists didn’t sound very appealing to me. However, I joined for the sake of team building and because I felt curious about how foreigners learned about my home town.
The perfect Barcelona free walking tour for tourists and locals
We decided to take the Free Tour Gaudí and Modernisme, which focuses on the most emblematic buildings of the Modernist movement in the 19th century. We met near Barcelona’s cathedral, three minutes away from Plaça Catalunya. As it was a Sunday afternoon we were only 6 people (three German tourists, my coworkers and I) and the streets were quite empty. Our guide Diana was already waiting for us – as she was holding a blue umbrella at the meeting point it was not difficult to find her. We started the tour right away.