“Of all the most beautiful, perfect days I’ve ever had in my life, I think it’s safe to say that a fair number of them have happened in the incredible city of Barcelona. On its best days, Barcelona is like a dream and you keep thinking “I can’t believe this is actually happening to me.”
So what are the ingredients for having such a perfect day? Well, I don’t know what they are for you, but here’s my idea of a perfect day in my favorite city.
The perfect Barcelona day is beautifully warm, and somewhere between April and September, as long as it’s hot enough to gently warm your skin up as soon as you step into the sun. After having a relaxed lie-in, I’d stroll down to the corner and visit my favorite café, the gorgeous Café Marti, (c/ Consell de Cent, 369) to indulge in a café con leche and perhaps one of their delicious whole-wheat croissants over a newspaper. Mmm…a gentle start to the day.
Then I’d jump on the city’s public bike service Bicing, and pick a pretty spot to bike around. Some days I like getting lost in the Gothic quarter, other days I like discovering my own neighborhood the Eixample, and sometimes it’s nice just to go to a part of the city I’m not familiar with.
After a bit of a bike, I might have a reviving cup of tea back in my flat.
Then it’s time to meet up with a friend or two for a long, laid-back lunch. We’d walk to a fun neighborhood (the Raval is my favorite) and see what hidden restaurants have a tasty menú del día. The Spanish menu del día is always a fun culinary adventure, as you get to choose two dishes and a dessert or coffee from. Sometimes it’s a nice surprise; other days it involves staring longingly at your friend’s plate thinking “Damn, I knew I should have gone for that instead!”
There is one downside to the menú del día – it’s seriously filling! So after such a big lunch, I’d like to have a walk around the neighborhood we’re eating in. The trick to this is to wander around all the streets and peek at every corner, as Barcelona inevitably has a surprise waiting for you somewhere. There’s always a pretty plaça or an old church, or maybe a lively street market, and other times it’s a full-blown street party or summer festival.
After a while, post-lunch sleepiness sets in. This puts us somewhere in the 4-4.30pm range if I’ve timed it right – and that’s the perfect time to go to the beach! It’s no longer burning hot, but there are still hours of sunshine left. In the perfect beach-going group, somebody brings a guitar and somebody brings a ball of some kind.
For the next couple hours, it’d great to relax in the Mediterranean sun. Beachy afternoons are a great cycle of post-lunch siestas, laid-back sing-alongs (everyone always sings me “Californication”), and sandy sports games followed by a rush into the sea to cool off. As it gradually cools down, people will start to trail out, but I’d like to stay and watch the sun set.
Now it’s time to head back to my apartment again to rinse off the sandy remains of the beach. Maybe I’d catch up with friends and family back home over a quick sandwich. After a couple of hours of downtime, the next part of the day starts – party time!
We’d kick off our wild night with a relaxed outside beer or two, and then head for a bar with great music to really get things going. After a few rounds of drinks and conversation, someone would inevitably suggest a club to go out dancing, and we’d pour out of the bar and into the night.
My perfect day in Barcelona ends somewhere around 6am, with me feeling exhausted, achy, sleepy, and perhaps slightly sunburned. But above all, I’m relaxed, happy, and completely satisfied with my day spent with good friends, delicious food, and those beautiful surprises that Barcelona always has waiting just around the corner.”
Jessica leapt on a plane for a life of aventura in Barcelona two weeks after graduating from college. Manchester-born and California-raised, she’s spent the past year living there. Check out her blog Hola Yessica! or follow her on Twitter @HolaYessica for a look at what life’s really like on the Mediterranean.
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