2012 11/04

Chris’ Perfect Rainy Day in Barcelona

photo of rainy streets in Barcelona

Rainy streets in Barcelona’s old town

“Blessed with a generally bright and sunny disposition, Barcelona is cursed with an excess of fair-weather friends with no appreciation for precipitation. Read: the doom and gloom of backlit cumulonimbus are not welcome here. While no one enjoys a drought (heaven forbid someone can’t fill their swimming pool), grousing about even mildly inclement weather is par for the course, said inclement weather including an overcast sky, and even the lightest of rains. Guiris and Catalans alike seem to prefer ultraviolet heat and sand in uncomfortable places to a spot of rain. But after seven years here, I can claim my perfect day in Barcelona as “pasado por lluvias”. Read the rest of this article…

2012 29/03

Julie’s Take on a Perfect Day in Barcelona

Or, ‘How Julie hopscotches the brief altogether and rambles off on a total tangent’

A panoramic view of Barcelona from Tibidabo

A panoramic view of Barcelona from Tibidabo

First off, I have to make a confession. Rob invited me to write my version of a perfect Barcelona day many moons ago, and it’s taken me an oddly long time to get my finger out and actually produce it. Yet I love writing, and I love writing about Barcelona, so why the dilatory tactics?

Well, apart from the plangent bawl of “it’s such a perfect day…” (god I hate that song) resounding in my thalamus, I think it’s that I’m struggling with the whole concept of perfection. It’s a concept kindred with fluency. Mention its name out loud and you’ve broken something sacrosanct.

Or maybe I’m over-thinking this. Hmmm. Bear with me here.

I tend to see the best of Barcelona, I’ve noticed, when I’m with other people. When I look back over the last year, highlights always involve some kind of shared experience. It could be workmates down the pub on a Friday night, a party on the beach till 5am or just those fleeting instants that end up shifting all sorts of dubious paradigms. Then, I imagine myself standing up on Tibidabo looking down over the city, viewing the cityscape through a kaleidoscope. Read the rest of this article…

2012 26/02

Yvonne’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

photo of Baluard

Baluard, c/ Baluard, 38-40

“My perfect day in Barcelona would begin with a sunrise walk on the beach. It’s so lovely and peaceful before the crowds arrive. Then I’d take a walk through Barceloneta Park and to the Baluard bakery (c/ Baluard, 38-40) for some fresh bread and breakfast pastries. There’s always a tempting range on offer here and the big challenge is trying to choose between all the different cakes and bread.  Baluard bread is the best in the city, with people coming from all over to buy it, so I’m thrilled to have the bakery so close to where I live.

As soon as I’ve digested my breakfast, I’d go for a Turkish bath at Aire de Barcelona (Passeig de Picasso, 22). There’s nothing quite like submerging yourself in varying degrees of hot water and getting an exfoliating massage to set you up for the day ahead. Read the rest of this article…

2012 09/02

Susie’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

photo of Pi d'en Xandri

Pi d’en Xandri, oldest pine tree in Catalunya

“My ideal day in Barca would be to get up for sunrise and make my way down on bicycle, all groggy and sleepy eyed, to the beach, to watch the sunrise, and if it is summer to go for a swim. Then I would head to the Cafe De L’Opera (La Rambla, 74) and grab a coffee and some breakfast which would probably take the shape of one of their delicious cakes they have on offer. And their coffee is hot. I have never had a cold or luke warm coffee there yet. Lovely good hot coffee, a great way to set you up for the day.

Then I would take my bicycle and head off to Sant Cugat for a bike ride. A great route is ‘La Ruta de les Ermites’. It does not take long and you can be back in Barca for lunch. The cycle up Collserola is tough (for me) but there is a petrol station halfway up that you can stop at and buy chocolate treats, water and anything you need to quench your thirst or top up the energy levels. Then the route winds through the Collserola hillside past some ancient ermitages ending in Sant Cugat with the finale being the oldest pine tree in Catalunya. 250 yrs old. Lovely great big tree, worth a hug! Read the rest of this article…

2011 30/08

Ruth’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

“When the temperatures start to rise, many in Barcelona head out of the city for the traditional August break. But for me, it’s the perfect time to enjoy balmy days and sultry nights, seduced by the weather and the sound of the cicadas.

Ocata Beach

Ocata Beach - © Jose Canovas

Barceloneta beach is undoubtedly the most famous, but being a tall foreigner there are one or two hazards I prefer to avoid. It can be hard to sink into the sound of the waves if the local beer-sellers decide I’m their perfect lady for the day. They are always incredibly polite, but it can get wearing being asked twenty times in thirty minutes if I’d like a nice cold beer. Plus, I really don’t drink beer under a hot sun. So for the beach life I’ve taken to heading to Ocata, far from the crowds, and within easy reach of Plaça Catalunya on the train to Blanes. Within a short time, I’m whisked away on a clean and air conditioned train to the beach, where the beer sellers are far less persistent. The view from the train often seems like being on a boat, as the train magically glides above sea-level. It stops right at the beach, where you step straight onto the boardwalk down to a clean sandy stretch. It’s a way to really unwind, floating in the warm waters, snoozing on the towel, and I never have a sense of the ‘body police’ patrolling for those of us without a perfect Hollywood figure. I can pick up pieces of fresh coconut from the friendly vendors without being constantly hassled. There’s also plenty of beach cafes and showers. The whole affair can roll into a leisurely day out, complete with a picnic. Read the rest of this article…

2011 07/04

Claire’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

“A perfect day in Barcelona for me would, without doubt, be spent during one of the sweltering, balmy days in mid-summer when your pace slows right down as the slightest movement results in beads of sweat trickling down your neck and back. At these times of year one of those fold-up fans that slips into your bag is indispensable, if you’ve not spent a summer in Barcelona then buy one in advance and be prepared. Fellas, you’ll have to make do with rolling up one of the free newspapers given out at metro stops until someone comes up with a male styled version.

Sirvent

D. Tomás Sirvent Planelles’ original 1920 premises near Santa Caterina market

So, to start my day. Seeing as it’s summer and my usual healthy appetite isn’t quite what it normally is, I might forgo a regular breakfast and just head straight to Sirvent off of Ronda de Sant Pau to pick up a large granizado de limon, a sweet yet tart crushed ice drink. The ice cream at Sirvent is also wonderful but I think it’s a bit early for a tub of that just yet. Read the rest of this article…

2011 11/03

Mark’s Brill Day in Barna

C.R.E.A.M. Bikes & Things

C.R.E.A.M. Bikes & Things (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)

“Now then, I’m five years deep in Catalonia, so I have my regular hang-outs and haunts, but that’s not to say there aren’t some glaring omissions in my fun day, as I am uncovering hidden gems on a monthly basis.

My day is fairly season-neutral. There are tons of special events around Barcelona throughout the year, but the route I’ll set out can be enjoyed on any old day. You’re going to need a bike though, which can be rented in various locations around the city. The most fashion-conscious will head straight to Cream and hook themselves up with a fixed-gear number, not cheap at 50€ a day, but let’s imagine your trip is being sponsored by a rich uncle bribing you to keep shtum after coming onto you at Christmas.

Breakfast. Starting in the Raval, I can definitely vouch for a pastoral and healthy first meal of the day at Olivia (c/ Pintor Fortuny). Tiny, comfortable, local press to peruse, hot mums make up the clientele. Or if that’s full, check out Forn de Betlem across the way, still good produce and press, not as healthy, hot mums make up the staff. Read the rest of this article…

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