Platja de Sant Sebastià
I’m up early, before the sun, hoping that the coffee grinder doesn’t wake the kids as I prepare a Bialetti full of fragrant Ethiopian Sidamo. The smell of the beans, recently roasted at Cafès Ros, fills the kitchen.
I’ve had my caffeine fix and I park my motorbike near Nova Icària beach. The sun is over the horizon now and it glitters off the sea, throwing a long shadow behind me and making me squint. I put my headphones on and start to run. Along to the Forum, turn around, down to Barceloneta and the W hotel, then back to where I started. The beach is coming to life as the temperature rises, and I people-watch for a while before heading home. Read the rest of this article…
Barcelona is a city of perfect days. Among all the cities I’ve visited, I consider it to be among the most liveable and lovable metropolises on Earth. Blessed with warm weather more than six months a year, flanked by the ocean and mountains, great nightlife and culture, dozens of parks, loads of good museums, bike lanes, citywide free wi-fi, and a broad variety of people from all over the world, each day in Barcelona is better than the last.
Which makes it hard to pick a ‘Perfect Day in Barcelona,’ but for the purpose of this article, I will try. In this edition of A Perfect Day in Barcelona I will try to illustrate not only Barcelona’s variety—food, culture, nature and wide open spaces—but its infrastructure as well.
Barcelona’s city planners prioritize pedestrians over cars. You can see this with its sidewalks that are as wide—if not wider—than the roads for vehicles, and there are lanes and parking stands for bikes everywhere. A city not so big, you can get everywhere on foot, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, or scooter, if you are so inclined. But should your feet fail you, there is Barcelona’s public transport system with buses, trams, and metros which are well-run and are relatively cheap.
Barcelona is a city that is centred on life. Tired? Here’s a bench to sit on. Thirsty? There are water fountains everywhere. Bored? Just go to any plaça and you will find buskers and performers so talented you wonder why they aren’t on television or on stage. Libraries and parks are open to the public so that people can exercise their body as well as their minds. Dogs are welcome in many establishments, and those that don’t, provide cute little leash hooks outside their doors so that man’s best friend doesn’t wander away. Read the rest of this article…
The view from Montjuïc
It’s been more than 13 years since I landed at the airport of El Prat Barcelona and first started to enjoy Barcelona’s perfect days. Originally from Holland, I was living in Amsterdam at that time, when I decided to do an Erasmus in the Catalan capital. Barcelona was becoming more and more popular, but it had not reached the popularity it knows nowadays.
Over the years my perfect days have changed. In the beginning I enjoyed all the different sightseeing places Barcelona has to offer and I loved to discover the hidden and peculiar places of the city. My first summer here I also spent many hours at the beach, but now I hardly go there at all during the busy holiday season. And of course, I have seen a lot of the fantastic nightlife Barcelona has to offer. Read the rest of this article…
My perfect day in Barcelona would be sunny, of course. Not too hot, but most definitely warm, and with a light breeze freshening the air.
It’s a Saturday, and I wake up early to take the opportunity to wander around the Gothic Quarter when most of the residents are still sleeping off their hangovers. Even walking up La Rambla at that time is pleasant, as before the stalls open and the restaurants are still closed you can really appreciate what it was like to take a stroll among the wealthy families of yesteryear. Early morning is also the best time to take photos of the streets around the cathedral; the faux Gothic arch, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, and Plaça Reial are all peaceful and quiet.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri (credit: talesofbarcelona.com)
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Brunch & Cake
My perfect day in Barcelona was always a Sunday. Sundays are fantastic wherever you live; a day that belongs to you and only you, a day consisting of a morning, an afternoon and an evening, with which you can do whatever you bloody well want to do.
Sundays in Barcelona were extra special. Sunday mornings were iced with slightly hazy memories of dancing til 5am in La Fira or Museum with my housemates. And the kitchen was lavished with the gossip from the night before.
But Sundays in Barcelona are not for hangovers. You can’t let your nauseous tummy and delicate temples take over your day of fun. With all the supermarkets closed the first thing you need to do is take yourself out for breakfast. My number one spot for a dose of carb-induced hangover recovery was always Brunch & Cake on c/ d’Enric Granados. Giant turkey bagels with a side of guacamole and a latte (and an orange juice and two waters – you’re on a recovery mission here). A stroll down c/ d’Enric Granados to play with all the dogs and daydream about someday owning a lovely little flat on this street is a must. Read the rest of this article…