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…
“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…
El gato del Raval, Fernando Botero
It is simply called El gato del Raval, The Raval cat. A large statue that is a landmark of this often frowned upon barrio. At one end of Rambla del Raval it stands to attention.
It is climbed upon, hidden under and circled by children. It is asked to pose for incessant photos, it’s whiskers never out-of-place. I admire this cat.
It’s body looks like that of a bears. It has a tree trunk of a neck. A tail like an elongated party balloon. And a face… I can never quite work out the face. It’s serene I think. Quizzical. Maybe just a little pissed off. Read the rest of this article…
Don Quixote rode into Barcelona in the 16th century
An article from Hildy Snow about the wild side of Barcelona literature.
Most discussions about Barcelona as a literary city inevitably end up with people mentioning two books: Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind and Ildefonso Falcones’ Cathedral of the Sea. Not to knock these books – they’re good reads – but there’s so much more to the city’s literary universe than these bestsellers and their Barcelona literary brand of Gothic mystique and historical weightiness. The Catalan capital’s literary life goes back much, much further. Beyond the post-war struggles of Mercè Rodoreda’s La Plaça del Diamant, beyond the Civil War battlefields of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. All the way back to Cervantes, whose Don Quixote and Sancho Panza rode into Barcelona in the 16th century. For eons, Barcelona has served as the literary scene of romance, love, betrayal, adventure, friendship, familial conflict, mystery, crime and war. Read the rest of this article…
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…