A fab article from illustrator, Kat Cameron, on the delights of sketching in Barcelona (including some of her even fabber illustrations).
Barcelona Landscape – © Kat Cameron
A mosaic of green, blue, and red emerges in my mind when I visualise Barcelona. A city of flat terracotta roofs, encircled with the olive-green forests of the Collserola rolling down to the aqua Mediterranean. From first touching down in the glass airport to a wander through the textured gothic alleyways or a glance at the modernista architecture, you know you have landed in a city of art. Miro, Gaudí, Dalí and Picasso all spent time here, and as you meet the locals you discover that Barcelona is filled with architects, designers, graphic artists and illustrators, so really it is the perfect city to go for a stroll with your sketch pad and pencils, find a spot and record your surroundings. Read the rest of this article…
Café Marti, c/ Consell de Cent, 369
“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. Read the rest of this article…
View of Barcelona from Palau Nacional, Montjuïc
“A warm, late September day would be the perfect time for me to enjoy this Ciudad Condal to its fullest. The heavy crowds of noisy tourists have vanished, and I can have my Barcelona back. I would start the day with a cortado sweetened with honey, and a freshly baked croissant, or cruasán, as the Spanish call them. I like my breakfast extra-long, when I can sit in the rays of the sun, enjoying that morning energy you can almost touch.
The fresh, vibrant air seems to animate everything around, from people to palm-trees, and the city’s green monk parakeets alike. Sipping on my coffee, I scribble down some ideas for articles, or just doodle in my diary, letting my rested mind crochet unwritten stories. I like to reserve my mornings for writing, my biggest passion, and my profession as well. Read the rest of this article…
“My perfect day is inspired by a First World problem, if ever there was one. I apologise in advance if I sound ungrateful, (and I’m really not) but Barcelona sometimes just has a little bit too much going on. For instance, I’d love to try more of the tapas bars, drinking dens and restaurants, old and new, that I hear about, but I don’t want to end up looking like Jabba the Hut on the beach every weekend. When I’m on the beach, nibbling on some watermelon, I still feel guilty – because I’m lying in the sun and not, say, checking out an exhibition that I know is about to finish. I’m not really tugging on any heart-strings, I know, but if we’re talking about a perfect day, and since those rarely happen, then I’d fill mine with low-key indulgence and guilty pleasures.
Santa María del Mar
For maximum clarity of conscience, this day would take place in October, when my bikini has been safely packed away for another year. It would fall just after payday, and would be enjoyed with a like-minded, undemanding visitor, such as my sister.
We’d start off with a bit of late breakfast and a look through the paper at the most unpretentious café in the world – Bar Mendizábal, across the street from me (c/ Junta de Comerç, 2) – then would wander over to the Gótico to begin our assault on the off-high street shops. We’d coo over the lovely accessories and separates at Le Fortune on Avinyó, then swoop onto El Born, the richest hunting ground of all. We might get little a taste of the spine-tingling Gothic interior of Santa Maria del Mar, and remind ourselves of what we can enjoy on a day with a more cerebral bent. (And we can try to spot the FC Barcelona logo in one of its stained windows, too.) Read the rest of this article…
Bar Pinotxo, La Boqueria
What is a sobremesa?
Sobremesa is one of my favorite Spanish words, but it’s much more than a word, it’s a cultural act. In Spain people take their meals very seriously, hours can be spent at the dinner or lunch table chatting long after the plates have been cleared and the coffee has been served. It’s a time to bond with your guests, savor the moment without rushing and pragmatically, to digest your food. Overall it’s a wonderful and celebrated practice throughout Spain.
“I write about food, take pictures of food, think about food, turn every conversation into some topic of food, so it comes as no surprise when I’m in Barcelona, one of the food capitals of the world, I chow down. What I love about Catalan cuisine and the food culture of Barcelona is its determination to provide fresh, flavorful combinations to the masses at reasonable prices and with a slice of humility. Sure some have received Michelin stars, or can show off hundreds of press accolades adorned on the wall, but besides this, many continue to do what they set out to do decades ago. Setting an example for new chefs and young talent to follow in role-model fashion. Catalans have a very concrete culinary identity and I think this confidence shines through in their creations, meanwhile the patron walks away with a smile and without having this experience leave a whole in their wallet. Read the rest of this article…